Let us be honest, the Euros have been a bit of a damp squib this time around.
Northern Europe has had a wet and cloudy June and this seems to have been reflected on the field of France 2016.
The free-flowing football of Brazil 2014 is a bit of a memory, perhaps a telling comment on the tactics-heavy European teams.
With the possible exception of Portugal’s 3-3 draw with Hungary, there have been no standout games which ebbed and flowed to keep the neutrals enthralled. There have been a couple of thrashings – France racing to a 4-0 half-time lead over Iceland or Belgium thumping Hungary 4-0 for instance, and some very clinical, high-quality Judi Online Qq Games – Italy in the group stage most notably, but not a lot to write home about.
The multi-team format, three times the size of the eight country Euro ’92 in Sweden, has led to some teams deliberately playing for draws (Slovakia against England), fielding weakened elevens (Italy v Eire) or even happily losing 1-0 (Northern Ireland against Germany).
The knock-out stage was supposed to add some spice to the mix and has done to a small extent – Wales’ surprising 3-1 dismissal of Belgium woke the continent up even more than Iceland’s 2-1 win over a soporific and mesmerised England.
Then Germany and Italy provided some welcome comedy in their penalty shoot-out after an exhausting 120 minutes.
Finally France remembered their lines as host nation to the relief of most football followers …