Euro 2016 – My Highlights and best bits

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.

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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.

Wales

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…

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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.

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Football Soccer - England v Russia - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade V¿lodrome, Marseille, France - 11/6/16 England's Eric Dier celebrates after scoring their first goal REUTERS/Eddie Keogh Livepic

Ronaldo’s Moth

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…’.

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Au Revoir Euro 2016, it’s been a fun ride. How many days now until the Premier League starts???

The Euro’s by Numbers

The knockout stages are completed, with some teams already packing their bags and heading home with their brief dreams of lifting the trophy over. Yet for the 16 teams that remain, that dream of glory is still there, with more excitement and frenzy to look forward to in their quest for Euro glory. Euro 2016 is proving to be as exciting and unpredictable as any tournament of recent years, but what about the numbers, what it the cost of hosting the tournament, how does it really all add up.

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UK Credit, who offer guarentor loans that help those who may have trouble finding other sorts of credit, and are highly rated on trust pilot (9.5/10), have been looking into the high cost of football at the Euros on their supberb ‘Money Life’ blog, and their findings make for interesting reading. They have looked at just how much France has paid out to have that home advantage, and what other costs have to come into play. Taking into account everything from the number of players ar the tournament, to the stadiums being used, the numbers surrounding Euro 2016, are, not surprisingly, huge.

The Euro 2016 tournament has played host to 552 players, playing 51 matches, making up 24 teams. The matches take place in 10 different cities, in ten different stadiums, the smallest being Toulouse with a capacity of 33,000, the largest being the magnificient Stade de France in Paris, which can hold 80,000. Having enough state of the art stadiums accounts for some of the cost of the Euro’s, with a staggering 1.66 billion euros being spent on new stadiums, and another 40million spent on renovating existing stadiums.

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But stadiums are not the whole story. A big issue this Euro’s has been the security situation, with France on high alert for terrorism in the wake of the Bataclan and Charlie Hebdo attacks. Football was targeted in November, with bombs going off outside the Stade de France, so security has been increased. Unfortunately this has not stopped flares and fireworks being taken into the grounds, or violence and vandalism outside the grounds, which will further add to the cost of the Euro’s.

In total, it is reckoned that the 2016 Euro’s will eventually cost France somewhere in the region of 2.12billion for the privilege of hosting, but there is no doubt that they are a moneyspinner too, with sponsorship rights, television rights, the sales of beer, food and flags and tourismall adding to the coffers, Whether the profits outweigh the cost remains to be seen, but if France go on to win, I’m sure national pride will say it was worth every penny.

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Euro 2016 – Hot Men with Beards Alert

Today is the day. I’m more than a little excited to say that Euro 2016 starts tonight with the opening match between host nation France and Romania starting at 8pm. And whilst I am genuinely excited as a fan of football, I know that a lot of people (women in particular) do not relish the prospect of their television being taken over for the next three weeks with football, football and football.

But, fear not, because even if football is not quite your thing, there are other attractions that must be taken into account, and that is the very hot footballers, who, these days, all seem to have perfectly groomed beards. If there was any further proof needed that this is the age of the beard, Euro 2016 is it. These are the beards du Jour, clipped, washed in beard oil and then teased perfectly into place. I’m guessing that all these footballers spend quite a bit of time on the Startifacts site, where you can read all about the latest men’s grooming products, including beard trimmers and shavers.

Leading the line for the best beard has to be the gorgeous Olivier Giroud. He’s promising to dye his beard the colour of the French Tricolor if France win the Euros – that would definitely be worth seeing. His team-mates Benoit Costil (who could be his twin quite frankly) and Yohan Cabaye also fit the bill of being hot, French and bearded.  For Spain we have the bearded and tattooed Sergio Ramos, whilst Italy has the perfect Graziano Pelle to delight those with a Latin crush.

Euro Delights

Giroud – C’est Magnifique!

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Costil

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Benoit

Ramos

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Cabaye

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Pelle

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Are you excited for the Euros or are you going to be a football widow for the next few weeks? Who are you backing to win?