Nick Miller looks back over the of Euro 2016 final to see who, beyond the obvious, had a good, or bad night…
If there has been a theme in this tournament, one of the most prominent has been coaches, and how those who have got the most from limited resources have succeeded, with the reverse being equally true.
On the one hand you have Vicente del Bosque, Roy Hodgson, Marc Wilmots and arguably Didier Deschamps, who produced teams much less than the sum of their parts, and subsequently went home disappointed. But on the other Chris Coleman, Antonio Conte, Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrímsson all guided their sides and greatly exceeded expectations, through tactical nous, fostering an atmosphere of togetherness, shrewd selection – take your pick.
But of course at the top of that list is Fernando Santos, Portugal’s coach who has led his team to a European Championship win that might rank behind Denmark and Greece as surprising winners, but was nonetheless quite a shock.
“On his (Ronaldo’s) behalf I’d like to thank all the players for believing,” he said after the game. “We were as simple as doves and wise as serpents. I thank them all.”
What’s Portuguese for “No, thank YOU, Fernando”?
Another theme of this tournament has been excited commentators, after Iceland’s Gudmundur Benediktsson reacted with no little delight to his team scoring a goal. Well the Relato Antena 1 commentators joined him in expressing their pleasure when Eder scored in the Stade de France. If it sounds like the tape has skipped about 25 seconds in, relax, it hasn’t. They’re just excited.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson: proud father to two wingers-turned-strikers, now European Champions.
During extra-time, with Ronaldo limping around the technical area with what looked like every bandage in Paris on his knee, you were confronted with a curious possibility. This is a man who seems as acutely, crystal-clear aware of his own talent and genius as any football player in history; who is one of the few players who is absolutely most valuable to the team when he basically disregards all of his colleagues and concentrates on being selfish and, well, Cristiano Ronaldo; who seems to regard the rest of his team-mates’ inability to be as good as him as at best frustrating, at worst completely baffling; who you just assume, when he retires, will spend his time cultivating his underpants empire and ensuring his personal museum is suitably buffed.
But as he stomped around and screamed, shouted, bawled at the Portuguese players, you thought for a moment: could he become a manager? “In half-time, Cristiano had fantastic words for us,” said full-back Cedric Soares. “He gave us a lot of confidence and said ‘listen people, I’m sure we will win, so stay together and fight for it.’ It was really unbelievable. I think all the team had a fantastic attitude. And we showed tonight when you fight as one you are much much stronger.”
He couldn’t…could he?
Sorry. Dusty in here. Man, must be hayfever or something. Yeah, definitely a bit misty…
There are many strange corners of the internet, but one of the strangest is arguably the sub-section of people who, when some form of animal appears at a sporting event, they immediately dash over to Twitter and create an account in the name of that animal. Pitch-invading cats, mice, birds – you name it, if they’ve encroached the playing arena when sport is happening, there will be an account created. Loads of them, in fact.
Of course this happened when a moth landed on Cristiano Ronaldo’s face during the final, with numerous accounts popping up to varying degrees of hilarity. Or something.
At this point it’s worth pausing and considering the rigmarole it takes to register a Twitter account: you need to input personal details, you need an email address which can’t be one already associated with an account, and given we can probably assume most people who do this are already on Twitter, that raises the possibility of them having to set up an entirely new email account. This address then has to be verified and you have to choose a username, a task made rather trickier because of course there will be dozens of others doing the same, so by the time you get through all of this the chances are @RonaldoMoth will already be taken. All of which you’ll have to do while the football match, the one you presumably tuned in to watch and probably should be at least trying to enjoy, is happening.
And then you surely have to ask yourself – is it really worth the bother?
Whoever left the lights on
But, yeah, anyway. Those moths, eh? You probably know this by now, but the infestation of moths in the Stade de France was apparently caused because someone left the lights on the night before the game. Now, Good Round, Bad Round is one of those carefree, devil-may-care mavericks that generally turns appliances off at the plug, so you can imagine how twitchy we got about the electricity wasted, if nothing else.
Last summer Swansea paid £5million for Eder from Braga. He made two league starts, another 11 from the bench and appeared in two further League Cup games. He scored no goals. When Swansea were losing to League Two Oxford in the FA Cup, he wasn’t considered good enough to come on and help them save the game. Modou Barrow came on instead.
And now he’s the winning goalscorer in the European Championships final. Nothing makes sense anymore.
The late Cristiano Ronaldo
Sure, he might well be European Champion and have one of the most complete careers in football history, but from the look of this picture Cristiano Ronaldo unfortunately expired on Sunday and the city of Paris held a mass state funeral for him.
A couple of apologies: firstly, this final entry isn’t really about the final, and secondly it was something that featured in the last edition of Good Round, Bad Round too.
However, the news that UEFA not only banned the Welsh players from letting their children play on the pitch after their games, but have actually charged them for doing so would be remarkable if it wasn’t so very predictable. “It is a European Championship, not a family party. A stadium is not the most safe place for small kids,” said tournament director Martin Kallen, who we’re going to assume is a great laugh at parties.
It might seem like a small and relatively insignificant thing, and in isolation it is, even while being thoroughly miserable. But it does seem to be a symbol of how UEFA work: they attack small, piffling problems like this, and players displaying sponsored underpants and so forth because they’re immediately manageable. There technically may have been a breach of some rule here, and there’s an obvious person to penalise for it so they go after it. Rather than perhaps dedicating time and resources to things like racism, which is a vast, complex problem that isn’t as easy to manage and to which they seem to half-heartedly go after, they do things like this.
Of course it doesn’t necessarily work like this, and there are probably different parts of the organisation to deal with different things. But, y’know, why not just let the players have a kickabout with their kids, eh?