Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Final of Jeux Sans Frontieres (after the Domino effect of Brexit)

And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear, I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

It has been a long month since the tournament started on June 10th, with France playing in the opening game and tonight we shall again see France in the final game against Portugal. 

To be honest, and I hope no one ever thinks I am anything but, this is not a game which sets the pulse racing.
Unless you are French or Portuguese, I do not think that many people give a monkeys about the outcome of this game.

Therefore, apart from a brief a few lines, we shall look back at what has been rather than waste too much time on the game itself and that will not take up much space either.

It is a lose lose situation. It is not just sour grapes on my part because of England's poor performance, if the final was between say Germany and Spain or Italy, most observers would be more excited.

I am not denying that anybody, except the French themselves, like the French, but that is just a fact of life and I think that if it were any other team except Portugal or rather one Christiano Ronaldo and ten others, most of the world would be supporting them to win.

Unfortunately Portugal have been ugly to watch, their semi final win over Wales being the first game they manged to win in regulation time, and even then the first half was really boring, two quick strikes in the second early and then a return to boredom.

France have offered flashes of brilliance here and there, but in reality the Nationalmannschaft completely dominated the first half and it was only the penalty on the stroke of half time which changed the flow of the game.. 

A lot of people who watch  football tend rather irrationally to believe in the destiny of a team. France were destined to make the final in Paris after all that has taken place in that country over the past year and a half, from the attacks at Charlie Hebdo, to the attacks last November.

The way Portugal have played and yet still reached the final marks them as a team of destiny as well, will this be Ronaldo's crowning moment ? I know, yawn, but there it is.

I did not remember this game at all, but the last time these two played each other in the 1984 Euro also in France, they produced rather an exciting game.

France V Portugal 1984 semi final

The only thing to hope for is that it will be over in the regulation ninety minutes.

So what will we take with us from this tournament, sadly not a lot, at least from what took place on the playing surface. I wrote, a month ago that the expansion of the tournament to twenty four teams was a risk and I think that has been proven true. There was little excitement and too much defensive football, and now to the awards.

Player of the Tournament, in my view no one deserves it. I would like to see your opinions which I shall probably refute.

Flop of the tournament, plenty to choose from, on a team level Austria and of course England, but if I was going to have to choose one player who failed to deliver anything despite the massive hype which surrounded him, the award has to go to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Best Fans, a close run thing between the Northern Irish and Iceland, I think Iceland shade it as, for as much as Will Grigg was on fire for the Irish, the Viking chant is something which is going to be imitated around the world and is probably here to stay. The Irish would probably win the award for the fans the local residents liked most.

Worst Fans. Four contenders here, the Croats, the Turks, the Hungarians and of course the Russians. The Russians won this category by a knockout, delivered with a thrown projectile. Is it not a joy that the World Cup in 2018 is due to be held in Russia.

Most unpredictable incident, This has to be the amazing penalty shootout between Italy and Germany.  The Germans had not missed in shoot outs since Uli Stielike in that world cup game against France in 1982. They proceeded to miss three, but the attempts by the Italians especially Zaza and Pelle were beyond belief. As a counter claim to my choice and I freely admit it is a strong one. The Germans still won in a penalty shootout.

Most Predictable incident, An English goalkeeper (Joe Hart) making a mistake to let in a goal.

As ever, I hope you, the readers have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. All good things come to end and I hopefully will be back in two years to help you navigate your way through World Cup in Russia in 2018.

I have had a number of requests to blog on the upcoming Olympics which I shall consider, but whatever happens 
I would like to end with more words from the song I used to open today's blog and from a French song which in it's own way is also very famous.

"Non, je ne regrette rien"

To think I did all that; And may I say - not in a shy way, 
"Oh no, oh no not me, I did it my way".

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows - And did it my way! 


  1. First, Saroussi says the Republic's supporters were far better than those of Northern Ireland. Second the final is interesting for a number of reasons; firstly Paris contains the highest number of Portuguese outside Portugal making it something of a derby. Perhaps most poignantly the only victim of last November's terrorist attack outside the Stade de France stadium was Portuguese. But agree the tournament hasn't been the most thrilling and the quality of the football has generally been mediocre; but at least England didn't disappoint us in performing as they always do at such tournaments.

  2. What do you mean see you in 2 years? Aren't you going to be doing a weekly blog on the premier league then?

  3. Hey Wigman, Thomas here. Enjoyed the blog alot, great work. Yeah player of the tournament id give to Greasyman. Haha Portugal just scored. French tears taste the sweetest

    1. When Rabbi Ephraim Mervis left Kinloss to take up his new post as Chief Rabbi, he gave a very amusing and instructive valedictory sermon, all based on Frank S's "I Did it My Way". And he sang it!!! I don't remember seeing you there......?

  4. that was quite the match in 1984. the goalkeepers were incredible. i actually have this crazy thought to go see a game or two in russia in 2018. i'll bring body armor