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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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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"


Quelle surprise, the French are getting paranoid! Their top sports paper, L'Equipe, is full of conspiracy theories that the Dutch will not exactly be busting a gut to beat Romania on Tuesday and that, as a consequence, both France and Italy will be out.

Well, whose fault is that? Frankly, I think the French were fortunate that Romania took such a negative approach when they met each other in Zurich.

Continue reading "Faltering French look their age"

Ilkley, England

The dreaded 335-mile journey from Aberdeen to Ilkley in West Yorkshire was not as torturous I had been expecting.

In fact, the hardest part of the first 100 miles to our overnight stop was the 37-point turn on the drive of our Dutch hosts as we tried to avoid backing over their dog BJ.

Continue reading "Performing the perfect balancing act"


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"

Berne - 708 miles travelled

Having beaten World Cup holders Italy 3-0 and thrashed finalists France 4-1, the Dutch have made a mockery of the so-called Group of Death - and in doing so have clearly outlined their credentials as potential Euro 2008 champions.

The atmosphere inside the Stade de Suisse on Friday evening in Berne was sensational as the magnificent Dutch supporters lapped up another scintillating performance from their team.

Many had questioned the Dutch's prospects of qualifying from a group that contained such seasoned sides as Italy and France.

Continue reading "Holland show the way forward"


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"


I thought I'd give you an insight into a typical day for a television football commentator.

I had the fortune (?) to work on the France v Romania at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich for BBC 1 - my first live game of this tournament.

I covered the Portugal v Turkey match in Geneva but that was for the highlights programme, so Monday was a big day. Here's how it unfolded:

Continue reading "A day in the life of a TV commentator"


I'm writing this shortly before Group C gets under way with our live coverage of France v Romania. The football so far has been pretty good but with few surprises - impressive wins for Portugal and Germany, somewhat unlucky narrow defeats for both hosts.

Technically, most aspects of a tricky operation have started reasonably well. The extra mini outside broadcasts and reporters we've had at our live games have allowed us the immediacy of pitchside access and other extras, like a post-match interview with Michael Ballack which we ran during Sunday's live show.

Continue reading "Off to a smooth start"

Basel - 490 miles travelled

Sunday morning just after 10 o'clock and I am stood outside Basel railway station staring up at the leaden sky, feeling ever so slightly lethargic.

"Hey Paul, fancy a beer or something?" said Roy, who appeared out of nowhere. And so began my day with four Scots from Livingston.

Roy, brother Davey, Fred and his son Matt provided an object lesson in popularity, organisation and enjoyment.

Continue reading "On tour with the tartan army"

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