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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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I have a confession to make. I'm starting to feel like a stalker. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hiding round corners waiting for players to come past before jumping out on them with a microphone at the ready.

Our work as a roving TV crew is perfectly ethical, but, as the tournament's progressed, it just feels like we've needed a little more stamina, patience and ingenuity of late to get the job done.

Continue reading "Guus gives us the runaround"


Everyone's talking about Andrei Arshavin, how he's lighting up Euro 2008 with skills that have earned praise from the great man himself, Zinedine Zidane. Yet Arshavin is not some boy wonder. He's 27 and made his international debut on 17 May, 2002,

So why has it taken six years for the Russian 'Ronaldinho' to show the world just how good he is? It's a fair question, one that I put to Konstantin Kleshchev, a man who knows a bit about the burgeoning star of Euro 2008.

"We've always known he's a very good player," said Kleshchev, a reporter on Russian football for 25 years. "But not everyone has believed in him and could see what he was capable of."

Continue reading "Arshavin in debt to Dutch duo"


There is a little tension in the air at the Broadcast Centre here in Vienna. Spanish television station Cadena Cope have put an unnecessary strain on international relations by "dissing" both the Italians and the Russians.

One sign above the door to their compound bears the words "Arrivederci Italia" while another to the side has a list of Spanish scalps at Euro 2008 so far, finished off with the line "Russia, are you ready to lose?" Could be a case of some humble paella being eaten on Friday morning.

Continue reading "Mischievous Spanish in confident mood"


If Andrei Arshavin has become the star player of Euro 2008, then Guus Hiddink easily walks away with the coach award.

Having already guided Holland and South Korea to World Cup semi-finals and suffered an agonising defeat to eventual winners Italy as Australia boss in 2006, he has now steered Russia to the last four of a major tournament.

To get an idea of what makes the 61-year-old Hiddink tick, I spoke to Arthur Numan, who played under the Dutchman at both Euro 96 and the World Cup two years later. Numan says the problems Hiddink experienced at the European Championship in England 12 years ago were key to his development as a coach.

Continue reading "Hiddink continues to set new standards"


Andrei Arshavin looks to have eclipsed David Villa as Euro 2008's hottest property - and the inspirational Russian No 10 has also leapt above the Spaniard in BBC Sport's Player Rater rankings following the quarter-finals.

Arshavin now has a 9.02 rating after inspiring Guus Hiddink's side to victory over the much-fancied Netherlands, while Villa (8.13) has dropped to third place, behind Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc (8.37), after getting a 7.0 mark for his performance in Spain's penalty shoot-out win over Italy.

Continue reading "Arshavin on the up - Villa slides"


Russia must now be regarded as major contenders at Euro 2008 after a breathtaking quarter-final victory over a Dutch side that had swept all before them in the so-called "Group of Death".

Andrei Arshavin capped off another sublime display with the decisive third goal to further boost his burgeoning reputation, while the result is another triumph for coach Guus Hiddink, who has honed a side that beat his countrymen at their own game.

Continue reading "Russia look the real deal"


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"


So we managed to sit down with Gordon Strachan and throw a few of your questions his way. He was in jovial mood as he told us that Wesley Sneijder, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Artur Boruc were among his stars of Euro 2008 so far. He also revealed he's a big fan of Nick Hornby's novels.

Continue reading "Strachan answers your questions"

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