Euro 2016

Well here we go Euro 2016 is about to start in 10 days. The squads are being announced and the England one is well what it is… Liverpool and Man U wank off!

But let’s focus on the whole tournament and the celebrate the Saints players involved and follow the whole tournament.

I have more money on Belgium at 11/1, but looking forward to watching Long and Pelle knocking in the goals for their nation.

so let’s celebrate it as a tournament of football rather than another England slagging thread, which it will turn into.

Who do you fancy and which players are you looking forward to watching?

after all this I will say… COME ON ENGLAND!

I had plenty of tickets and sold them all for a lovely £1400 profit so I’m really not giving a fuck about who wins as it won’t be England!

Belgium a good E/W bet but France to win it I think.

It’s certainly going to be nice to watch so many Saints players in it.


The teams -

**Group A **


Expectations - The fans have noticed from friendlies that they have a pretty goof team. A place in the semi’s is a minimum.

Is the coach popular - Didier Deschamps is respected rather than liked. But up until recently Michel Platini is the most popular behind Zidane that a footballer gets. His decisions get backed. Guided France to the World Cup quarters in 2014.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - French fans are very poor travellers, but if they get off to a winning start the tricolores come out. The last 2 times France hosted a tourement they won them. In 1998 Gloria Gaynor’s I will survive was adopted as a dressing room anthem, so frankly, it could be anything this time.


**Expectations - ** The only Swiss sports people that carry any great expectations are the downhill skiers. All they hope is to get passed the first round.

Is the coach popular? - Vladimir Petovic lacks the stellar club credentials of his predecessor Ottmar Hitzfeld. But his approach to the game is very popular. He demands self-confidence which the Swiss have lacked for years. He has a fear of being patted on the back for nice football but defeats in Euro 2016.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Switzerland linguistics fecundity makes chants difficult, resulting in a lot of “hopp schweiz/suisse/svizzera” (Come on Switzerland) repetition and penchant for instumentals. The thousands of Swiss fans popping next door might be quiet if the security restrictions keep their brass intruments and cowbells out of the stadium.


**Expectations - ** There are not many under the illusion that this is a great Romanian side, but the favourable draw, means they would be upset if they did not make the 2nd round, but anything more would be a success. They will not concede many, but nither score many.

Is the coach popular? - Anghel Lordanescu is among the older fans who remember him from leading Steaua Bucharest to winning the European Cup in 1986 and then again to the final 3 years later. He also led Romania to their greatest international performance by reaching the quarter finals of USA 94. However the younger fans feel he is out of touch, unintelligent and, well a communist.

**Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - ** Romania will be well represented in stadiums. There is an estimated 2.7 million Romanians living in France, Spain, Italy and Germany combined. But sadly inventive songs are not feature of the country’s terrace life, leaving variations on the chant of ‘Hai Romania!’ (come on Romania)


**Expectations - ** They are a country with no tournament glory to dwell on, whose simple joy at qualification for their first major finals has turned into thoughts that they can qualify for the last 16. They have drew 2 friendlies with Frnce and have massive links to the Swiss with huge links between the 2 squads.

**Is the coach popular? - ** head coach Gianni De Biasi has done a great job since taking over in 2011, just after a morale sapping defeat to Luxemburg. Most supporters appreciate the togetherness and sheer guts he has instilled into the current team and he was made an Albanian citizen the day before they secured Euro 2016 qualification.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** They will be plenty turning out in stadiums. There is a local based Albania fans froup Tifozat Kuq e Zi (Red and Black Tifosi). They will be vocal and entertaining but will presumably stop short of what one of their number, Ismail Morina, acheived when on purely his own initiative, he piloted a drone into Serbia’s Partizan Stadium at the sides’ meeting in October 2014 with dramatic consequences.

This is taking longer than I thought, I have groups B, C and D written up, just need to check them before posting…


Group B


Expectations - It’s not that often for an Engald manager to meet the country’s expectations, but Roy did that in the 2 most recent tournaments, where hopes were lower than probably ever before. Winning ALL 10 qualifing games is not really a useful barometer to gauge the current state of English football, give they have not lost a qualifier since the 1-0 defeat in Ukraine in 2009!! Reaching the knock outs would be good and if Kane and Vardy hit their form from club football, we could drem about the being involved in the final week?!

Is the coach popular - No, but has managed to make it to his 3rd sterile tournament!!

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - England fans seem to have a lot of blind faith when following their team, but will get as many fans in as they can get tickets! They also like to have a bit of drink and throw stuff about!

**WALES **

**Expectations - ** No matter what happens the team will be welcome home with a big home coming. Yes they are very happy just to be there, but thet have expectations. The England game will be accompanied by multi media silliness including the usual kneejerk clickbaiting ‘biggest ever’ claims.

Is the coach popular? - Very popular, he has led them to their first major tournament in a thousand years and just signed a brand new contract.

Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - Wales fans are all over this one like a welsh man in his wellies in a field full of sheep! But many have opted out of a potentially toxic afternoon in Lens, preferring the other, southern based matches.


**Expectations - ** Tampered, due to the fact they failed to qualify twice from easy looking groups in the last 2 tournaments before the disastrous showing at Brazil in 2014 under Fabio Capello. Capello was replaced after they lost to Austria as things were very weird. He was replaced by easy going CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky, who lifted the mood. They then won their last 4 games to qualify for France.

**Is the coach popular? - ** Slutsky is very popular aftergetting the team together and on a good run to qualify making them a very unknown team to how well they will do!

**Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - ** They will get plenty of views on the TV, but the value of the rouble halved against the euro since early 2014 and the number of Russians travelling abroad has dropped. however there were over 56,000 applications for Russia’s 26,000 group match tickets, so their presence will be felt.


**Expectations - ** Start out with low expectations, then will get disguntled when these are fulfilled. The squad is surround by more optimism than usual ahead of this tournament… probably because England are in their group!

**Is the coach popular? - ** Well the image of Jan Kozak is that of a country bumpkin. untamed hair and red face, he does rather look like he has been out in the sun with a bottle of spirits. Slovak fans identify with his persona. He is though a very clever tactician and takes pleasure from watching good football.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Very small following. ‘Kto neskace nie je Slovak’ (Who’s not jumping isn’t Slovak), accompanied by lots of bobbing up and down, is the principal chant. Kozak’s name will be sung a lot, especially if the team does well.


Group C


Expectations - Even though realistic euphoria is an oxymoron, this best summarises expectations for Northern Ireland. The do thnk they can get 4 points from the group and hoping that this will be enough.

Is the coach popular - O’Neill is a hugely popular figure, mainly for taking them to a first major tournament in 30 year, as winners of a tough group.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - It’s supporters are most likely to be heard the most, though. The anthem "We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland " is a favourite chant, but listen out for the tribute to Buckfast Wine which gets dropped into Sweet Caroline. Thousands more applied for tickets than got them, but the fact that the tournament is in France means many are likely to travel anyway.


Expectations - As world champions, expectations are sky high. Must make the semi finals and improve on their patchy form in qualification and recent friendly and oh they expect to do so!

Is the coach popular? - Even though they are world champions there is still a feeling that Jogi Low might not be the man for the job… go figure football fans!!

Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - German fans will make the short journey to Lille and Paris in huge numbersfor their group matches. Nothing adventurous in the way of chants and songs: lots of rhythmic clapping and shouts of “Sieg!” (victory!) will be about the limit.


**Expectations - ** Poland feel they should advance at least to the knockout stage for the first time ever. Although after a 5-0 friendly win over Finland at the end of March many of their fans - probably under the influence of a vodka called Finlandia - are saying they can go all the way.

**Is the coach popular? - ** Adam Nawalka is worshipped throughout the country and had his biography published in April.

**Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - ** Thousands of Poland fans will be in France, with many already there. Since joining the EU in 2004 over two million Poles have left the country seeking a better life and the chant which includes “Gramy u siebie” (“Feels like playing at home”) is not an exaggeration.


**Expectations - ** Expect to get past the group stages and anything beyond that would exceed expectation.

**Is the coach popular? - ** Mykhaylo Fomenko is not popular even though the team have improved since he took over, when they were struggling in the 2014 qualifiers, he managed to take them to a playoff, which they lost to France. He is over conservative with his tactics, relying on the same players and being generally uninspiring.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Economic conditions in Ukraine are not ideal but many fans will still make the trip to France. The most common chant will be the call and response “Slava Ukrayiniy! Heroyam Slava!” (Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes) in tribute to those who were killed during the 2014 revolution.


I was at Wembley twenty years ago today for the first game of Euro 96.

Are we still pretending that it was a glorious summer from the start and that England didn’t get booed at the opening match?

Remember it well did we drew 1-1 with Switzerland. I went to the Spain game, we were not that good in that one either! Yep the best bit was 4-1 of course.

Until looking up all this information online and putting together… I have no life! I did not know that 4 of the best 3rd places go through. We will have to be really really bad not to qualify for the last 16!!! :lou_facepalm_2:

Also I have to admit, I love the big tournaments, but do not like the England games that much. I know some say I do not care about it as England are not going to win, but I love it for the football.

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Enter Woy


We will be that bad, too reliant on part time players for the big boys…

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Group D


Expectations - Most of Spain really do not know what to expectfrom their team anymore (Like the good olde days). They still have the core of their 3 straight tournament wins, before their group exit in 2014 - Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, David Silva, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, who have a huge amount of experience now. But the younger talent has dried up, so the feeling is the team is very stale.

Is the coach popular - Vicente del Bosque remains well respected, but has been increasingly questioned since 2014 in Brazil.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - Given their group games are not far over the border in Toulouse, Nice and Bordeaux, a large amount are expected to travel for each. Bombo is sure to make the trip, and will be hopful the security staff at the grounds understand that “bombo” is Spanish for “big drum”.


**Expectations - ** Very modest After failing to qualify for the world cup in 2014 and then being grouped with Holland, Iceland and Turkey in the qualifiers, few Czech fans expected to qualify at all. Getting out of another tough group would be seen as a success.

Is the coach popular? - Pavel Vrba is very popular and there is even a tree named after him in Plzen. (“Vrba” is the Czech word for willow.) He may look like a friendly bus driver, but he has a phenomenal record as a club coach and has revitalised a national team most fans had given up on.

Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - There will be plenty of Czech fans in France but the atmosphere at national games is flatter than at big matches involving domestic club sides.


**Expectations - ** While the die-hard fans and journalists feel this generation should be able to reach (at least) the quarter finals, others fear disater, given the lack of harmony in and around the team.

Is the coach popular? - The above lack of harmony is blamed on manager Ante Cacic, who is massively unpopular, as he lacks the ststure to lead a team that includes big names like Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. He is not a very good coach either. Its no secret that he was installed by Mamic, the Dinamo Zagreb executive and the puppet master in Croatian football, as someone who is EASY to control.

**Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - ** There will not be as many Croatia shirts on display this summer compared to previous Euro’s. A large section of fans has fallen out of love with the national team because of massive scale corruption going on within the federation. Those who do show up may well be performing a Croatian fascist salute from the second world war, which has become the norm. Some argue that not all who participate are extremist idiots, instead suggesting that some will be doing it purely to shame and sabotage the federation, not even caring if they hurt the team in the process.


**Expectations - ** Recent form has given fans mixed expectations. A year ago it looked very bad, but now with a run of great results, supporters are more hopeful that if they get out the group, they may match the success of 2008 and reach the semi’s.

**Is the coach popular? - ** Fatih Terim is not as popular as he used to be, with some questionable picks in the first half of qualification, his dismissal of all criticism, perceived preferential treatment of players from his old team, Galatasaray, and his insistence on “outdated” formations have irritated some fans.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** There will be many travelling fans joining the millions of Turks living in France, Germany and Belgium. unfortunately due to the explosive political situation and re-emergence of nationalist relexes, most of the chants from Turkish fans will probably be very nationalist and, at times, racist.

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Let me go off topic for a mo - Sheringham v Holland - the greatest disguised pass ever?

It was a thing of beauty.

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45 seconds in…

Group E


Expectations - Somewhere between tentative and optimism, residual fatalism and outright terror at the prospect of a return of 2012. Would be happy with being competitive and keeping the game close. Not a Euro 88, but better than 2012.

Is the coach popular - Martin O’Neill has a lot of credit in the bank and much more than Trap ever managed to amass. The football is slightly better to watch and his selections have largely mirrored that of peoples own wishes. The 1-0 victory over Germany was the teams best result in decades and memories of his achievements as Celtic manager still linger in the public consciousness.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - Oh yes, they will follow in numbers and drink and sing an be pretty loud, you will know when they are in a stadium without checking your wallchart.


Expectations - Pretty low. The lack of a classic playmaker and inconsistent attacking optionshas put the blockers on any widespread optimism.

Is the coach popular? - No not massively. A spiky character at the best of times. Conte’s Juventus ties were never going to endear him to two-thirds of the nation and his decision to pay new club Chelsea a visit in April, rather than to be seen focusing on the forthcoming tournament, was a PR clanger.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** As ever, it’ll mainly be ex-pats and second/third gens with painted faces wearing “Italians Do It Better” T-shirts, though the close proximity should see at least some travelling supporters, if not in great numbers. Seven nation army chant is likely to feature at some point during matches.


**Expectations - ** Very mixed despite being ranked number one in the world recently. The quarter finals is a realistic goal.

Is the coach popular? - Bit mixed really. Marc Wilmots, a great motivator but no great tactician. He is a tad unrefined and this was obvious in the last World Cup against Argentina, when there was no plan B and quite why he persists with playing Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as full backs especially after the season they’re having is baffling.

**Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - ** Massively represented in the stadiums. Despite their FA roping in international pop sensation Stromae for the offical tune Ta fete before Brazil 2014, the number one chant among fans/ players is Vengaboys-style “Waar is da feestje? Hier is da feetje!” (Where is the party? Here is the party!).


**Expectations - ** The fans were willing to miss out on qualification so they could get rid of their manager Erik Hamren. They do not expect to get out of the group. But with Ibrahimovic anything is possible

Is the coach popular? - Erik Hamren has some very questionable methods, comes across as a David Bent style management speak kind of guy. He has irascibility and an apparent lack of any coherent tatics, which were clear to see in the 4-1 home defeat to Austria. But everyone knows the real coach of the team is Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his brilliance is such that it is felt that he can turn any game against anyone.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Not likely to travel in any large numbers, due to the fact they do not like the manager or the style of play.


Group F


Expectations - According to coach Fernando Satos: “Were not going there on excursion, we’re going there to win.” Few in their heart of hearts believe that though. Quarter Finals tops.

Is the coach popular - He is not the most inspiring, but he is not unpopular and has has the benefit of doubt up until now. He has coached Benfica, Porto and Sporting, which helps. He replaced the ultimately unpopular Paulo Bento when the qualifing looked to be falling apart after just one game (a 1-0 home defeat to Albania), Portugal won the other seven.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - There will be more local Portuguse emigrants (there are over 500,000 in France) attending than fans travelling. We must hope that they stick to the traditional “Por-too-GAL” chant, but if there are enoughSporting supporters gathered together at any one time, you may well be able to hear the groaning strains of a reworded My Way, which ends with the lyrics: “And without fear, I’ll do what I can/For my Spoooooooooorting!”


**Expectations - ** They are not really sure. They are aiming for the round of 16 and the quarter finals might be possible.

Is the coach popular? - Immensely, Marcel Koller has ben voted coach of the year 2015 both in Austria and his native Switzerland. He has revived Austrian footbal, even more so as he was so badly underestimated by various local football “legends” when he first arrived in 2011. But times have changed and Koller is now a saint (COULD BE A SIGN)?

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Demand for tickets was the second highest in europe with around 50,000travelling to the tournament. The main chant will be “Immer wieder Osterreich”, meaning “Austria time and time again”.


**Expectations - ** Overly optimistic when it comes to their sports teams and being competitive is the bare minimum. Expecting at least 3rd place and qualifing for the knockouts as one of the four best third team, but if they good result in the first game against Portugal and you could see that optimism soar to new heights.

Is the coach popular? - Strange set up as Heimir Hallgrimsson was promoted to joint manager alongside Lars Lagerback before the qualifing campaign and is being groomed to take over when his colleague retires. Both are very popular, especially Largerback who people has suggested should be the next president of Iceland.

Will there be many fans follwing the team around the country? - A large contingent in the stadiums at all the games. In recent years the chanting in the stadiums have got much better and all credit to Tolfan, the supporters’ group who oversee all things related to following the team at games. They have adopted an old pop song, Ferdalok by OdhinnValdimarsson and the atmosphere was electric when the whole stadium sung it after qualification. Sample lyrics are “Sun shimmers in the water/Seee the glacier glow/All is bright for the two of us/Cause I am back home.”


**Expectations - ** They expect to qualify for the knockouts as they do not see any of the other teams s a big name, even Portugal.

Is the coach popular? - Bernd Storck has plenty of admiration, but it did not start off like thatHe was not popular after replacing the successful young and charismatic Pal Dardai, but Storck ia a workaholic and qualification turned his reputation upside down.

**Will there be many fans following the team around the country? - ** Given the wait od decades to see their team in a major tournament, there is high spirits among Hungary fans. Tens of thousands and a newly popular song on the terraces is The Night Should Never End from the 1990’s techno band Soho Party.


A few managers mottos stolen for the interweb!

Group A

Didier Deschamps - “The French would love me if I could ride a bike fast. And do Wheelies”. (France)

Vladimir Petkovic - “They call me The Doctor. Do you have an appointment with my defenders?” (Switzerland)

Anghel Iordanescu - “I look like a rockerin my oldPanini sticker but I’m a bit of a square now”. (Romania)

Gianni de Biasi - “Wooh! We’re still recovering from our all night qualification party”. (Albania)

**Group B **

Roy Hodgsom - “Football is always a learning experience. Except if you are a journalist”. (England)

Chris Coleman - “We are a team, not just one individual. No! Just welt it up to Gareth!”.(Wales)

Jan Kozak - “We’re not expecting much. So we’ll probably win it. What a hassle”. (Slovakia)

Leonid Slutsky - “What I bring to international football is that I am not Fabio Capello”. (Russia)

**Group C **

Michael O’Neill - “A favourite motto? Well, I think you’ll find that football is overrated”. (Northern Ireland)

Jogi Low - “Right, erm…let’s just give it to Thomas Muller”. (Germany)

Adam Nawalka - “I’m very confidentof being voted the best dressed coach”. (Poland)

Mykhaylo Fomenko - “Let’s stay calm, guys. Three draws might be enough”. (Ukraine)

Group D

Vicente del Bosque - “I will try to revive the corpse of tikitaka using dark magic”. (Spain)

Pavel Vrba - “I have my own tree. Does Guardiola get stuff like that? Of course not”. (Czech Republic)

Ante Cacic - “Listen - the fans are singing my name. They must really love me”. (Croatia)

Fatih Terim - “Of courseI can be flexible. Sometimes I might wear a different tie. ha”. (Turkey)

Group E

Martin O’Neill - “To be honest, I am just happy not to be Aston Villa manager”. (Rep Ireland)

Antonio Conte - “Hold on, I’d better take this call. It’s Mr Abramovich on his yacht”. (Italy)

Marc Wilmonts - “Football is a simple game. boot the ball a long way then gallop after it”. (Belgium)

Erik Hamren - “I cannot talk to you until you have purchased this Zlatan merchandise”. (Sweden)

Group F

Fernando Santos - “Cristiano Ronaldo’s wish is my command. I obey my master”. (Portugal)

Marcel Koller - “I’ve got a great deal on early return tickets with Austria Airlines”. (Austria)

Lars Lagerback - “So I can’t speak Icelandic… but hey, can you?”

Bernd Storck - “I’m hoping no football magazines mention the 1954 team - it’s borning”.

Well thats it from me, I quite like Austria now, I will chip back in during the tournament and post tournament… well you are so lucky… I love my football me :lou_wink_2:

Some more info on some of the teams here.

I went to every England game in 96 and it was glorious. I still cannot fathom why Gazza didn’t go with the other foot!


Because we would have reached the final… We cannot have kind of behaviour now can we!