It has been far from a spectacular tournament, and I was totally disappointed with the final winners being a team who had only won one game in 90 minutes, and had finished third in their group, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed Euro 2016. I’ve loved it! From Giroud opening the tournament with a cracking goal, to Eder’s final flourish, there has been a lot to enjoy for football fans this summer. Here are some of my favourite moments from a Summer of Football.
Giroud, Giroud, Giroud
I think Olivier Giroud has been one of the stars of this tournament, because when he is around, there is never a dull moment. From a man of the match, 2 goal, brilliant performance against Iceland and finding that perfect partnership with the brilliant Griezmann, to bringing Twitter to the realms of hysteria after a snail slow, breakaway run against Germany, Giroud is one of those players who polarise opinion, but has managed to have a pretty good tournament overall and has changed a lot of opinions.
Twitter basically loves to talk about Giroud, and with three goals (joint second top scorer), a couple of good assists, a touching moment comforting team mate Mezut Ozil after France defeated Germany, and a stunt double in team mate Benoit Costil, Giroud has been the football star on social media. Even in the final moments when he wasn’t on the pitch (big mistake Didier when you were deciding to float big kicks into the box) there were Giroud tweets related to his replacement Gignac, hilariously described as Poundland Giroud and BTec Giroud. And we can’t not mention that celebrating a goal with Olive should carry a health warning, just ask poor Dimitri Payet. Or that training may be dangerous too, says Patrice Evra.
His face on the final whistle sums it up. He’s heartbroken, but still totally beautiful. It made my tournament having him in it until the final day.
And, of course, there was this….
The Irish Fans
The Irish fans came to win hearts and party. They did both. Both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland got out of their groups to make the last 16, and they showed a lot of bottle and guts on the pitch. Their fans were friendly, with videos of them serenading everyone from a nun to a pretty French girl, changing tyres and singing a lullaby to a baby on a train. They even charmed the French police. In times of fighting and violence, they were a breath of fresh air.
Feeling a bit smug about this one. I said Wales would be the surprise package of the tournament, and they were simply amazing. From Gareth Bale’s masterful free kicks, Hal Robson Kanu and that goal (which led to my boy virtually screaming ‘he’s Cruyff turned him’ in wonder), to the breakout star James Chester, who has made a lot of team of the tournament lists, Wales didn’t come to make up the numbers, they came to win it, and came within touching distance. And it was simply wonderful.
Iceland’s Thunderclap Viking chant
Apparently, this was pinched from Motherwell fans, or so the story goes. Whatever the truth is, 2016 will be remembered as the year of the Iceland fans Viking Thunderclap, which is, quite possibly, the scariest fan celebration I have ever seen. But that hasn’t stopped it being stolen by lots of other teams and groups of fans, including the French side, who did it for their fans when they saw off Germany.
It is an awe inspiring celebration, but I am so hoping we don’t see it at Premier League matches, I may just have to hide under my seat…
Some great matches, some great goals
It wasn’t a vintage tournament, with too many games disappointing, but a couple of games that I did love including anything involving Wales, France V. Iceland, Portugal V. Hungary (with Zoltan Gera turning back time), Italy’s early games (before the Zaza/Pelle horror show against Germany in that penalty shoot out.) Great goals came from Gareth Bale, Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann (the player of the tournament and Golden Boot winner, both well deserved.) and even from England’s Eric Dier, who gave us all high hopes with that glorious free kick against Russia.
It now has over 50 Twitter (Flutter???) accounts and was probably the star of last night’s dull final. Yes it can only be the cheeky moth who added insult to Ronaldo’s injury last night. Apparently leaving the stadium lights on overnight at the Stade de France led to an invasion of moths, which can only lead me to put my most Peter Kay voice on and say ‘that’s what happens when you leave big light on…’.
Au Revoir Euro 2016, it’s been a fun ride. How many days now until the Premier League starts???