Friday, 24 June 2016

First three knockout games and a small comment re Brexit

Although this is a sports blog, the world of football does not, contrary to what some observers think, exist in a bubble and the decision taken today in Britain to leave the European Union will also have profound implications on the future of specifically European and to a lesser extent world football.
The chances of England winning the Euro are not high, but then most of the pundits thought the vote would go the other way, so imagine the irony if England does go onto win.
The bottom line is no one in Europe or Britain really knows how things are going to change. The English Premier League came out in support of the Remain vote. There are a number of teams who have played matches without a Britain in their eleven. That may have to change. At the moment, there are strict criteria for non-European players to be able acquire a work visa. If these were to apply to Europeans as well. who knows what could happen.
Anyway. interesting times lay ahead, but of more relevance to this blog are the three games to be played tomorrow. On paper at least, of the three days of football that are coming up, the matches tomorrow are probably the least attractive.
I feel I ought to apologise to the Swiss. Last week I advised to skip their game and I would do the same again this time. An early Saturday afternoon kick off shows what UEFA think as well.
Switzerland beat plucky Albania with difficulty. They then scrapped a draw against Romania, and were very lucky not be to hammered by France as they managed another draw. The French player Payet almost scored what would have been the goal of the tournament so far.

Payet off the bar

Poland have looked solid, two wins and a creditable scoreless draw with the Nationalmannschaft. They should have too much for the Swiss tomorrow.

The middle game is between N Ireland and Wales,  (the former by the way voted to remain and the latter to leave). This game probably does not interest many people outside of the British Isles, it promises to be a peculiarly British fare. It will probably be played at a very high tempo with the tackles flying in, pretty much what one would expect to see up and down the length of the British Isles during the football season. The game is being played at the Parc des Princes, which is the historic home of French rugby, dare I say it, a suitable venue for this clash.
A very hard game to call, the Welsh have one world class player but the Irish passion is second to none. A draw and penalties here.

We finish off the day with Croatia against Portugal, to be honest it is hard to find much to write about this game between two nations who have not much in common and no shared history. Croatia have looked one of the best teams in the tournament so far and although Ronaldo has finally ended his drought in front of goal for Portugal. I pick Croatia to win this game.

On Sunday, we will preview the next trhee games including appearances by the Host nation and also the Nationalmannschaft.

Until then Ciao

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