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My colleague Saj Chowdhury has done a bit of a straw poll in the office and here is our(unofficial) team of Euro 2008.

You can see how it compares to the official team here.

Fernando Torres was your star of the final in Player Rater and deservedly so after winning the cup for Spain.

But his two goals in the tournament weren't enough to get him into our overall team. Have we got it right or have we dropped the ball?

Continue reading "Team of the tournament"

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Chard, England

Note pads at the ready, here's a quick history lesson. Chard in Somerset was the headquarters of Cerdic, the first King of Wessex, who some are convinced the legend of King Arthur is based on.

It's a sleepy little town, typified by its lacklustre branch of Woolworths - the sort of place where you can pick up bargain CDs but have to wait half an hour to pay for them whilst the old lady at the front of the queue deliberates with the cashier over whether 57p really is the right price for a role of sellotape.

Continue reading "Portuguese deposed in Chard"


Whenever someone mentions the word "statistics" I can't help but think of past Miss World competitions. And in case my wife is reading this, the last one I watched must have been at least 20 years ago. Yep, that's long before we met, my love.

Anyway, the BBC Sport website's Player Rater has thrown up some interesting numbers following the completion of the group games at Euro 2008...

Continue reading "Lies, damned lies and statistics"


OK, no beating around the bush. I'm tipping Germany, Croatia, Netherlands and Spain to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

Why? Well, the Germans have the experience and mental toughness to win when it matters, the Croatians have oodles of self-belief, no-one can stop the Dutch scoring, while Spain have too much firepower for the stubborn Italians.

Continue reading "My tips for the semi-finals"


With the exception of the early stages of Japan/Korea in 2002, our studio team has been based in a host country for all the recent major football tournaments. This has all sorts of advantages but can mean we have to rely on viewing figures and anecdotal evidence to assess the impact back home. With none of the UK's teams making it to the party out here, the reaction at home to this tournament is particularly difficult for us to gauge.

Continue reading "Life behind the cameras"


Spain passed a big test by beating the Swedes and booking their passage to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 in the process. After ripping apart Russia in their opening game, Fernando Torres and co were made to work really hard for their second win in Group D.

We always recognised that the Spaniards possessed bags of flair and talent. What we didn't know was if they had the steely resolve that is also needed if you are to win a major tournament. I think we have the answer now.

Continue reading "Spain are the complete package"

Neuchatel - 678 miles travelled

Some you win, some you lose.

I rushed to Neuchatel, the home of the Portuguese team, on Thursday to get further reaction to the news that Luiz Felipe Scolari would take over as Chelsea coach after the tournament.

I met BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Mike Sewell outside the media centre and prepared to head into the hustle and bustle of a feeding frenzy as journalists gorged on the biggest news story to come out of the tournament to date.

Continue reading "In search of Scolari"


So Switzerland have already bowed out of Euro 2008 and Austria could follow them tonight, but does anyone but the co-hosts care this morning? The big news today is Portugal and, in particular, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

As the Swiss were crying into their beers following their team's dramatic 2-1 loss to Turkey at a rain-drenched St Jacob-Park in Basel, it was emerging that Scolari, a Gene Hackman lookalike, had been appointed as the new boss of Chelsea.

Continue reading "Scolari casts shadow over Euro 2008"


Uefa's headquarters on the shores of Lake Geneva boast the best toilets I have ever seen.

I've heard massively good things about the technology involved in the cleansing procedure of your Japanese water closet but I cannot comment as I've not experienced that particular delight.

What I can say is that the hygiene shield that ensures backside never touches seat in the Uefa toilets is a scientific marvel.

Continue reading "Swiss dreams down the Uefa toilet"


It looks as though the winner of Euro 2008 will be a team that plays expansive, attack-minded football rather than one that places a great deal of emphasis on defence and grinding the opposition down.

That's what I hope will happen anyway. Portugal, Germany, Netherlands and Spain have all impressed with their style of play in the opening round of group games.

Continue reading "Dutch delight but don't write off Italy"

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