If you leave me now…..

As you deal with politically seismic developments, the outrage of having to be a 24 hour FFZ (football free zone for the newcomers) and the only welcome bit of current affairs that Jamie Vardy has signed a new contract with Lesta City, there is one thing that will bring you back down to earth. And focus l’espirit.

That’s the fact that you are wearing the same clothes that you have been wearing for the last 24 hours. Quickly backed up by the even more depressing fact that it’s not because you are some bright young thing and were at a Barry Whiter (as les Anglais like to call la fete toute la nuit). But pas que les trains etaient effed. Et le TLF ne pas allez chez TLF?

Emergency accommodation was of course found. And in an attempt to look on le bright side let’s remember that TLF did not miss any football.

Et maintenant the big question of the day is not whether Gareth Bale (or Bale of Glamorgan as one Welsh county has rechristened itself) can stop winding up the English for 90 minutes and concentrate on shoring up his position as tournament top scorer. Nor is it how much money the combined wallets of the TLFs will donate to Jennings the bookmakers this weekend. Or whether France might possibly find the pressure of expectation means they fail against Ireland (I doubt it but it would be amazing if that were to happen – would make defeating Italy look like a training match result).

Non. La grande question is does TLF buy a clean shirt, and then go to work and get a shower? Or get a shower first and then buy la nouveau chemise, as TLF not exactly looking parfait ce matin. Either way there needs to be some thought given to the challenges that lie ahead. For now the focus has to be to get to the end of today unscathed, expending as little energy as possible because there are SIX knockout games to enjoy this weekend. That is six, beer-swigging, take away ordering, gambling opportunities. Ce qui est de ne pas aimer?

Mais Monsieur TLF est pas si sur. As this weekend he won’t just have to put up with TLF football foolery but Iain from Brum arrive a St Albans for plus banter, puns et les entrendres doubles.

Quelle domage pour M. TLF

Fixtures Aujourd’hui
Encore une fois….Zip. Zilch. Nichts

Mais le weekend arrive avec le round de seize…….

Switzerland v Poland 2pm
Wales v N Ireland 5pm
Croatia v Portugal8pm

France v Republic of Ireland 2pm
Germany v Slovakia 5pm
Hungary v Belgium 8pm

Manger ou Boire?
Le takeaway, a emporter, wegbringen, porta via beaucoup.

Phrase of the day: French

Mr TLF is going to blow a fuse when he realises that the weekend will be about nothing but football and pizza.
M. TLF va pique rune crise quand il se rend compte qu’il n’y aura rien d’autre que le football et la pizza ce week-end

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The ‘I’s have it

And that is why nous aimons beaucoup le tournament football.

For the crazed Iceland commentator who may never be able to speak again (and if you haven’t heard it then a) you didn’t have the radio on this morning and b) here’s a link http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36603525

Who knows what he will do if Iceland beat England?

For the tearful Irish goalscorer finding his brother in the crowd. And for the slightly unnerving slight of Roy Keane and Martin O’Neil having a man hug. Only to be interrupted by Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon for a 3 way man hug.

And for the Radio 5 Live commentator saying, “We’ve lost Kevin Kilbane.” I think he meant metaphorically.


Bought a tear to les yeux de TLF I can tell you. And just proves to all those doubters what a good idea it was to have an expanded tournamenet with some 3rd placed teams qualifying for the knockout stages (ahem).

We now know who is Euroxiting, waving au revoir to 8 teams, after 36 votes cast (well matches played but don’t quibble with my theme). Just one minor fixture today; the build up to which has certainly go on for longer than the expanded tournament. The stakes are high, the result is likely to be tight, the pitches are waterlogged (eh?) and the highlight programme will be very dull. Rio Ferdinand has written in the Evening Standard explaining why he thinks we should remain and if that hasn’t swung it I don’t know what will.

As a famous party leader never said, “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for the last 16. Via the polling booth.”

Gaugin Fox
Feeling a bit avant-garde

Fixtures Aujourd’hui

RIEN. Je connais! Pas de football.
Monsieur TLF looks like the chat qui avez le crème……


Islande 2 Autriche 1
Hungrie 3 Portugal 3
Italie 0 Eire 1
Suede 0 Belgique 1

Manger ou Boire?

A sulky unimaginative slice of toast probably in light of the lack of sporting activity.

Phrase of the day: French

There is no football. I am bored stiff
Il n’y a pas de football. Je faire chier comme un rat mort.

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Czechs are bounced while Croatia up the Ante

The key factor in ensuring success in a major football tournament is PLANNING.

It occurred to TLF as she as wasn’t (!) watching N Ireland v Germany on the Ipad wedged next to her work computer that le planification is always not TLF’s strong point, with a dinner appointment slap bang in the middle of the second half of that particular game.

Still at least the restaurant was suitably themed. Sadly not in a true footballing way but it was appropriate for the fixture, being called the German Gymnasium. Tres sad was the discovery that not only would I not be able to watch the match but that my dinner would not be bought to me by muscular men working leiderhosen. C’est la vie. Or indeed So ist das Leben as they say in Berlin.

They were probably yelling something a bit more cheerful than that in Northern Ireland last night. Never has a 1-0 defeat been so welcome, with results later ensuring that N Ireland made it through to the last sixteen. A fantastic performance from a small nation (insert any suitable underdog cliché that tu choisir) and particularly goalkeeper, Michael McGovern.

To keep up the bad planning it was then time, having missed the first half, to travel home during the second half of Croatia against Spain. At least there was now Radio 5Live to keep me company, including an apoplectic John Hartson who I can only assume is part-Spanish such was his fury that Spain’s (missed) penalty was taken by a defender not an attacking player. His co-commentator is obviously trained in dealing with these little tantrums and calmed things down with a quiet but meaningful, “Yes I know John. I know.”

TLF did rediscover the art of timing however, in front of a screen just in time to see yet another late winner, the fourteenth of the tournament (FACT!). I am sure Spain were delighted to conceded so they finish second in the group and now have the small bagatelle of Italy in the next round.

Talking of Italy (hey TLFs need to get their segues from somewhere), they are next up for Republic of Ireland. Paws are crossed for a similar outcome to that magnificent victory in the 1994 world cup. Fond memories of watching that on a black and white TV in my mum’s garage as her party pandered to the football fans. Ireland must win. Not because they want to get through to the next round but because we are all so scared of Roy Keane.

Potentially we could be saying goodbye to Zlatan today, unless Sweden can pull off something pretty special against Belgium. Let’s hope that should they go home the fans are a little more measured than the Russian Communist party whose comment on Russia’s early departure was fairly to the point, “The Russian team is soft, we need a Stalinist mobilisation. Mental physical hard strength.”


A word from the le TLF sage. Plan ahead.
Ce sont les derniers jeux de groupe
Fox Delacroix
Just a romantic fox at heart.

Fixtures Aujourd’hui

Islande v Autriche 5pm
Hungrie v Portugal 5pm
Italie v Eire 8pm
Suede v Belgique 8pm


Ukraine 0 Pologne 1
Irlande Du Nord 0 Allemagne 1
Croatie 2 Espagne 1
Rep Tcheque 0 Turquie 2

Manger ou Boire?
In honour of Ireland’s game here is a cocktail to terrify the Italians. NOT sure it is one for a skool night.

Phrase of the day: Icelandic:
You’re sh1t and you know you are
Þú ert skít og þú veist að þú ert

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TLF is nothing if not an honest fox. So I’ll say it now. Very quickly.


So TLF is a better gambler than Roy. And all those grumpy pundits on Radio 5 were right (dammit). And the post-match comment from Hodgson, “Soon we will make someone pay, we will score goals one day,” just sounded a bit like a King Lear type threat in one of his less measured rants at his older daughters, just after he has given some of his kingdom away to Gary Neville (that’s not in the Shakesepare version).

On the plus side, and I never thought I would use that phrase and this next acronym in the same sentence, ITV (!) had expanded their punditry team to five. FIVE! And not even out of the group stages yet. Not sure I was ready for all that intellect in one studio. Clearly there was a risk that Peter Crouch might just knock Bilic off the top intellect and charisma perch but I think Slaven just held on……

The always reliable Glenn Hoddle was co-commentator and as usual didn’t disappoint; hoping that Ingurland “would score in a footballing way. Because that’s what we have on the pitch. Footballers.” I’m so glad he said that as I have been labouring under the misapprehension for some time that Jamie Vardy, was an investment banker, Eric Dier a maths teacher and James Milner a supervisor at B&Q.

Meanwhile Wales were spanking Russia 3-0 and gliding into the final 16 with the sort of joie de vivre you probably don’t see often on a damp afternoon in Pontyberry. They left Lens Stadium heart broken and with Ingurland fans chanting, “We’re top of the group.” A few days later and Wales leave for Paris, top of the group and lying in wait for one of the third placed teams. Their last international tournament was in 1958 and now they are in the last 16. If only this didn’t make Robbie Savage happy I might even be pleased for them.

Quatre games today with a guaranteed trois place dans la last sixteen up for grabs. Spain are already there and must feel confident against a Modric-less Croatia.

Northern Ireland could still make it, just the small matter of the world champions at 5pm. Will Joachim Low use some unfortunate and unhygienic distraction techniques (he used to look so suave before that incident!) to distract a team fresh from victory over Ukraine? Or can another of the less fancied teams keep a striker free Germany at bay?

Mind you I am wisely assured by others more mathematical and less lazy than me that even if N Ireland lose, as long as it is by less than four goals, they will qualify if at least one of the three groups still to finish has a third-placed team with a worse record.

Got that?


Cezanne Fox
So post impressed

Fixtures Aujourd’hui
Ukraine v Pologne 5pm
Irlande Du Nord v Allemagne 5pm
Croatie v Espagne 8pm
Rep Tcheque v Turquie 8pm

Russie 0 Le Pays de Galles 3
Slovaquie 0 Angleterre 0

Manger ou Boire?

This is described as a warming winter dish but as June continues to be not exactly tropical why not get your cockles warmed with this soup while watching Spain play Croatia – could prove to be a bit tasty

Phrase of the day: German
You’re not singing anymore
Sie singen nur, wenn Sie gewinnen

Posted in France 2016 | 2 Comments

Albania far from Sad(iku)

TLF’s coming home as the famous 1996 football anthem didn’t say.

Home to a slightly ailing Mr TLF. Not because his heart is broken due to TLF absence. No he is mal as a result of food poisoning. Prime suspect remains a 6 month out of date Xmas pudding that is an essential part of any man’s Euro 2016 diet apparently.

Before returning to Blighty there was time for a bit of Lille kulture. And a lot of rain. Plenvoir comme une vache qui pisse as the French say.

There was also time in between the galleries, historical buildings and nice meals, time for more football. Italy continue to look ominous – like they all know exactly what they need to do. And so they do it. No more. No less.

Croatia threw away a two goal lead, which seemed to come down to a combination of Modric going off, sheer Czech cussedness and the lost concentration after flares were thrown and fighting broke out between Croatian fans. The Croatians had the decency (and the cynical might say sense bearing in mind their fans’ disciplinary record) to condemn the actions of a stupid minority. A refreshing change from the Russians, whose striker, Smolov has blamed every fan but his own for the problems in Lille. And in further w#nker…sorry hooligan news, it seems that the 20 Russian fans deported after their second game will be back tonight to see their boys play Wales. Seems no one thought to cancel les visas. Oh dear.

More ‘oh dear’ moments came in the shape of Ronaldo’s missed penalty on Satday night. Never had a penalty miss been celebrated so gleefully Chez TLF. Sporting of me? Non pas de tout. But then neither were Ronaldo’s comments after the Iceland game and frankly anyone who opens a museum about THEMSELVES deserves all they get.

Things look a little bleak for Ireland after their spanking by Belgium, although whether that result means Belgium are back on track remains to be seen. Of course the fact that 4 third placed teams make into the next round means, je pense, that there are only two teams at the moment that can’t qualify. Whether you would describe this as exciting or a level of uncertainty and fiendish maths that you don’t want on a rainy day in June is up to you.

One outside bet that could still make it are Albania. Delighted to see them score their first goal in a first major championship and claim a win against Hungary. And nothing to do with TLF’s petite wager on the outcome of that game. The France game didn’t really capture the imagination, the high points probably being a burst match ball and a ridiculous number of Swiss shirts needing replacement as they seemed to shred at the slightest bit of French attention. Whether the kit man has been flogging the official kit off the derriere of un camion and then sending the team out in dodgy replicas from down the market remains to be seen.

Attention turns to Group B tonight. For a game that Ingurland might just want to win (to keep an easy passage through those knockout stages), it does feel like six changes to the starting line up is not one for the nervous viewer. If this is Roy Hodgson trying to prove he is a little bit rock n roll and isn’t risk averse there were other ways to do it. He could have just changed his usual breakfast cereal of choix, conducted a press conference in French or followed Aaaron Ramsey in the hair colour department. But if it works out I don’t think anyone will care…although write off Slovakia at your peril. Loved them against Russia even though slightly suspect on the defensive front. Wales need to rouse themselves after disappointment in Lens and they are surely a superior side to Russia.

So back to Angleterre and back to understanding everything that is said during a match commentary. Mind you after 90 minutes of Pearce and Murphy last night maybe that is not such a good thing.

Oh la la (as the French commentator really did say when a shot went wide in the Croatia game).

Nooo. No new scarves, no new tournament T shirts to see here. Move along.

Nooo. No new scarves, no new tournament T shirts to see here. Move along.

Fixtures Aujourd’hui
Russie v Le Pays de Galles 8pm
Slovaquie v Angleterre 8pm


Italy 1 Sweden 0
Czech Republic 2 Croatia 2
Spain 3 Turkey 0
Belgium 3 Republic of Ireland 0
Iceland 1 Hungary 1
Portugal 0 Austria 0
Romania 0 Albania 1
Switzerland 0 France 0

Manger ou Boire?
Welsh cakes (a TLF favourite)

Phrase of the day: Slovakia
You’re not fit to referee
Tie nehodí k rozhodcovi

Monet Fox
Very impressionable (BoomBoom!)

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La fete de Jamie Vardy

Being, to be honest, a bit more of a club than country kind of a TLF, attendance at Ingurland matches has been limited to a handful of friendlies. Jeudi therefore offered up another first, the chance to watch England against Pays de Galles with points (et les locale rights de bragging) at stake.

As many of you will connais, due to Lens being tiny (population of the actual town being about the same size as the capacity of le stade), most of us (and here ‘us’ = Ingurland and Wales cos that is the kind of day it was – L’Equipe I am pretty sure from my ancient O level French seems quite impressed by how the two sets of fans got on) needed to get a train from Lille a Lens. The French word for queue, is ‘queue’. Such a bizarre concept they couldn’t even be ar*ed to rename it. Well I don’t think they have ever seen a queue like it in Lille station. By the looks of it a ‘Made in Britain’ queue, self-organised, fairly well self-policed, snaking around the station forecourt in a massive U shape.

TLF is next through the gate to the quai. Only to be told very nicely by the gun toting gendarme and the cheery railway employee that the train est complet. As in full not just built – keep up troops.

Quelle domage! Mais the footballing Gods, whose powers clearly extend past our sceptred Isle travilled their magic and they let another 10 people on. I think a few SNCF staff should come on an exchange and commute between St Albans and London so TLF can show them a new definition of full.

Lens was not dry. In fact I would go as far to say it was sopping wet. In a booze way that is; il fait beau in all other regards with a loud but not lairy bunch of football fans. TLF was slightly mal a l’estomach but a medicinal burrito and few beers with Malcolm and Louis restored TLF to match-fitness.

Good job as I had to be on my toes with the security lady. My glasses case caused the same consternation as at White Hart Lane but at least the suspicion squishy lump on one trouser pocket caused some light amusement as I revealed the very dangerous lucky bear. The height of tension was reached though when she questioned the slogan on my sweatshirt. She was desperately searching for a superior to refer it to and I was desperately trying to hold onto it. It hadn’t occurred to me that a picture of Don Ranieri with the immortal lines, “We are in Champions League man. dilly ding, dilly dong” might contravene UEFA’s respect rules (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one). In desperation I explained it was Italian, which got me through. Good job as I was going where the sweatshirt went.

Le jeu? Most of you saw it or have read about it, in a newspaper where you don’t have to consult the dictionary ever cinq words. It wasn’t a classic and thank goodness the Vulcan mind-control tricks of every single England fan in the stadium got through to Roy Hodgson on the substitute front.

Not a classic game but a classic ending, que les inevitable celebrations dans le stade. TLF’s record is 100% for competitive Ingurland games! And L’Equipe is mentioning Leicester during a major championship and at the risk of spell checker having a nervous breakdown:

Anglais reprenant sans Sterling ni Kane, remplaces par Sturridge et Vardy. Et puisque hier tout semblait renvoyer a la Premier League, l’egalisation ne pouvait venir que du buteur de l’equipe championne en titre (Leicester) qui evolualt encore en Cinquieme Division en 2012, et qui avait envisage d’arreter le football un an plus tard tellement il se trouvait mauvals: Jamie Vardy.

After that temps pour encore les beers, more queuing and a cracking meal with TLF braving the local delicacy Potjevleesch (vegetarians need not apply).

Of course it wasn’t all about Ingurland and am delighted to read ce matin of Northern Ireland’s victory over Ukraine, who have as a paper puts it, been ‘prend la porte.’ I’m also trying to work out how cross Paul Pogba is and how cross his nation is with him, I might ask the receptionist to translate….also keen to know what ‘Lewandowski toujours fanny’ means…….

Hoping for a bit of fan park time today, and that big screen had better do justice to the lovely Antonio Conte and also a mooch around the streets of Lille, even though il pleut quite a lot. Have had a great time with the Ingurland fans but would be nice to not hear the streets of this pretty city reverberating to chants of “Please don’t send me home. I just don’t want to go to work. I want to stay here and drink all your beer. Please don’t send me home.”

I know; poetry dans la motion n’est ce pas?

Then it will be home time. Hopefully in time to watch Ireland play Belgium, and my boys Iceland hopefully spank Hongrie. As from Dimanche things start to become clear as the final group games begin and the last seize starts to take shape.

A bientot!

Fixtures aujourd’hui
Italy v Sweden 2pm
Czech Republic v Croatia 5pm
Spain v Turkey 8pm

Et le weekend…….
Belgium v Republic of Ireland 2pm
Iceland v Hungary 5pm
Portugal v Austria 8pm

Et maintenant nous move to the last group games so all games in the same group kick off at the same time. FACT.
Romania v Albania 8pm
Switzerland v France 8pm


England 2 Wales 1
Ukraine 0 Northern Ireland 2
Germany 0 Poland 0

Manger ou Boire?

Something for the weekend? Well actually next week probably as this Swedish tipple needs 2 or 3 days to really properly infuse.

Le website au jour
Now I am sucker for a good dance tune and a football montage but I really cannot feel the love for the tournament’s official anthem.

Fox Pasteur
Cultural (BoomBoom!) Fox

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Le premier fois

As a novice, it’s all to play for. Does le renard perdue connais what elle is letting herself in for?

As a debutante, it’s slightly unnerving (even with the all powerful lurid pink cagoule dans mes mains), thanks to the whole Marseille nastiness. But if Iceland can do it so can TLF.

And Iceland didn’t have the chance meet up with the tournament pere et fils machine that is Malcolm and Louis. So TLF is quids…sorry Euros in.

And that’s how I find myself in a hotel bar next to Le Stade Metropole Lille, drinking biere (yes the whole alcohol ban is an interesting theory and perhaps I should have protested about this flouting of the rules….but having been in France for deux heures and teetotal to that point, needs must), surrounded by seemingly cheerful Slovaks and Russians. It doesn’t matter where you go – the power of St Albans City FC will see you through.

These guys are veterans of the whole tournament thing and TLF was tres grateful to be in their company. And I imagine Gordon Strachan would have been too. He looked tres bewildered a la gare when I saw him….if he’s a pundit, his TV company is NOT looking after him.

They are also very cheerful. When I last saw them at Clarence Park they didn’t have tickets for the England Wales game….and now they do. A perfect surprise gift from Beth, Louis’s girlfriend. Or GOTY (girlfriend of the year) as I think she should now be known.

Slovakia-Russia wouldn’t be everyone’s choix for their first EVER competitive football international but to be honest it was great. The stadium roof est ferme, my seat is 10 rows from the half way line and eastern european anthems are belted out. C’est ne pas mal! A bit like Slovakia’s goals, the second of which has me high-cinquing the elderly and slightly tearful Slovakia fan sat in front of me.

I still don’t know the Slovakian for

But I’m sure I heard it.

One first I didn’t bother with was the 0.5% beer on sale in the stadium. A bargain at €6.50!!!!

I would tell you about the other games. But to be honest the adrenalin, the Heineken and the probably very sensible promise to everyone in Blighty to be careful meant a debuis de nuit pour TLF. But I do remember they weren’t as good as MY game.

More memorable was the West Ham supporting American who was booting the ball around our hotel garden. He missed a few (small goal to be fair), he wasn’t sober, but he was nice and he’d just flown in from JFK.

Fixtures aujourd’hui

England v Wales 2pm
Ukraine v Northern Ireland 5pm
Germany v Poland 8pm


Russia 1 v 2 Slovakia
Romania 1 v 1 Switzerland
France 2 v 0 Albania

Manger ou Boire?
In honour of TLS’s trip to Lens (train strikes, morons and French polis permitting) a local speciality for the carnivores amongst you – Potjevleesch.

Le website au jour
Well it’s not the website, it’s more the article, clearly based on Nike’s irony free press release that accompanied the new England shirt…It’s just fookin football kit boys!


Fox of Arc
The Maid of St Albans

Posted in France 2016 | 1 Comment

Ice Ice Baby

“My thoughts and wishes bend again towards France.”

Not sure if Hamlet’s Laertes is booked on the same Eurostar as me but I hope someone has told him there’s an alcohol ban….Mind you even TLF can eschew (BOOM!) a beer at 08.55.

Ah oui. C’est vrai. Le TLF alle en France.

Don’t worry. I’m going to be very careful and I think it likely that my lurid pink cagoule will leave hooligans and over-enthusiastic gendarmes trembling dans le presence of TLF.

Mr TLF has been left with strict instructions to, “leave the wall chart ALONE.” I fear its removal slightly more than him using the wrong pen to fill it in. I don’t want to sound picky but once you start with a pen you have stick with it for the rest of the tournament (NB Roy Hodgson this rule doesn’t apply to your team selection).

In between packing and checking for the 400th fois ‘PassportMoneyTickets’ TLF did manage to catch a bit of that Hungary game. And it should be all about them and their unexpected win, with their 40 year old keeper in his grey joggers. But it’s not. It’s all about Iceland, a country with the population of Lesta, who worked their socks off against Portugal. Portugal are one of TLF’s many sweepstake teams but to be honest, wasn’t cheering them for a second.

In many ways I don’t mind what today’s Russia-Slovakia result brings. I’d just like it to be a nice day out please. It will be interesting to see how Swiss fans react to Shaqiri who possibly due to a minor sulk that he doesn’t wear the captain’s armband has indicated that should he get the call from Kosovo, the country of his birth and now recognised by FIFA, he might just start playing for them instead of Switzerland. Very motivational the night before your second group game je ne pense pas.

We are onto the second set of group games and still not a 0-0 draw…long may it continue.

Ooh. Hang on, before you go……


The bare essentials

The bare essentials

Fixtures aujourd’hui

Russia v Slovakia 2pm
Romania v Switzerland 5pm
France v Albania 8pm


Austria 0 v Hungary 2
Portugal 1 v Iceland 1

Manger ou Boire?

From Slovakia, something for the vegetarians

Le website au jour

Well in the hope that my Eurostar train will safely deliver the TLS en France I hope to be visiting two of these…

Fox Verne
Around a northern bit of France in fewer than 80 days

Posted in France 2016 | 1 Comment

Spain pique late

My boss has a set of coasters in the middle of her meeting table, which everyone ignores and I find it quite pleasing before a meeting to sort of slide them about while still leaving them stacked on top of each other – all asymmetrical like. I can only think that the boss of the set designer for the BBC’s France studio has something similar as surely that’s where that bloody table design came from. More on ITV’s studio table soon…the fun never stops with TLF.

A day of football interrupted by work meant a greater reliance on the BBC Iplayer

The BBC had looked kindly on me and allocated Robbie Savage to the 2pm kick off so contact with him was minimal and as a backdrop to work. I know I always bang on about him, but honestly why is any of my licence fee going towards someone whose insight stretches to, “Johnny Williams; he’s been very very good”? So I missed Spain doing their very best to not beat the Czech Republic…still they got there in the end and added to the glorious stat which is that 6 of the last 9 goals they have scored at Euro Championships have been in the last 10 minutes. FACT!

Blessed with the usual stop start commentary on the train for the early evening kick off as the weak signal comes and goes in a wayward Harry Kane corner kind of away. I’m not having a go at him. SEVEN corners he took all season for Spurs…SEVEN and now he’s England’s first choice corner taker. As the French would not say “Comment le f*uck?”

Anyway sorry back to Ireland and Sweden. A good game for the radio as it happened. Nothing to do with the quality of football and more to do with the striking yellow and green crowd. A full ninety minutes of that would have left me a bit mal a la tete. A great performance from Ireland but must be slightly frustrating to play so well and only draw with a team that had ZERO shots on target (if you didn’t see it and that sounds confusing it was an own goal that gave Sweden a point).

If there is one way I like to spend a tournament evening it’s tucked up in bed with Sir Gary of Lineker, Terry Henry and ooh my goodness who is this? Gianlucca Vialli. Have I died and gone to heaven? (Rio Ferdinand can make the drinks and reminisce about West Ham with Mr TLF). The smoothness of the studio was matched by the smoothness of Italian coach, Conte, who in stereotypical fashion was sharp suited and the epitome of cool. Not so cool perhaps after the bloody nose he received as part of their exuberant goal celebrations. But it was a fantastic goal scored by Giaccherini (pronounced at least by the BBC, as ‘Jackoreenoh), who I had already picked out. Not as a potential goal scoring threat (in my defence Belgium hadn’t spotted that either) but as having the perfect name for a slightly unlucky but spirited hero of a nineteenth century Italian novel. Or maybe that’s just me?

Anyway a really enjoyable game, picked out by many pundits as a potential cracker – it avoided that kiss of death and gave a great example of how a team of not brilliant individual talent can triumph over a collection of assorted talented individuals. Forza Italia! I say (and if that doesn’t mean it’s downhill from now on for the Azurri I don’t know what does).

Today sees the final four teams who have yet to kick a ball in anger make it onto the pitch. The Hapsburg derby might not sound glamorous but as Austria are captained by Lesta’s mighty Fuchs (yes it really is fox in Austrian) my loyalties are on a clear default setting. And then Iceland take on Portugal. The debutants play the dilettante. Won’t surprise you to guess I am sitting on the more northern side of the fence for that one.

Keep up. It’s only Tuesday!!

Fixtures aujourd’hui
Austria v Hungary 5pm
Portugal v Iceland 8pm
Zut alors! Ou est le game de 2pm? Pfffft.

Spain 1 v Czech Republic 0
Republic of Ireland 1 v Sweden 1
Belgium 0 v Italy 2

Manger ou Boire?
Time for something substantial. Step forward Iceland and as the markets are currently full of asparagus something seasonal. Good to know it is suitable for a ‘potluck occasion’…so if your Icelandic neighbours pop round tonight you’ll be fine.

Le website au jour

A guide to every kit in the tournament. Personally I quite like the Russian pyjama number…..

Louis Fox XIV
The Sun Fox

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Plus ca change la meme chose

Another tournament, another location and still you could almost write the script.

A jittery performance by the hosts, but they saw out a win thanks to a cracking goal from West Ham boy Dimitri Payet, that had TLF running upstairs to relay the bon news to a sulking Mr TLF whose judgement on the game by then was, “beaucoup de tosh.” Was relieved that my mangling of the Marseillaise earlier that day to a French colleague hadn’t jinxed anything – she tells me that she heard me singing words that she never even knew were in her national anthem…TLF French scholar.

Mr TLF has proved that he hasn’t given enough attention to his pre-tournament build up:
“What are we doing today?””
“Watching football.”
“But there’s not football all day?”
“Well 2pm, 5pm and 8pm.”
“We don’t have to watch all 3 games do we? And where do you think you are going with that blu tac and wallchart?”

TLF feigns a slight problem with her oreilles and buries self in a Euro 2016 guide.

Satday proved to be a financially depressing day as the betting slips of shame pile (a new interactive and bank account draining feature in 2016) grew in a similar way to a Lens slagheap. There was much to admire on the pitch however with Gareth Bale writing his own script only to be overshadowed by Hal Robson-Kanu’s late winner. This game also had probably the best range of hairstyles with Bale’s flowing locks, Ramsey’s peroxide blond and some excellent mohicans from the Slovakians. A little more effort on the tournament cheveux from some other teams would not go amiss. Slovakia, who I think could get out of this group also provided the first comedy name moments. Weiss could certainly have put more effort in – bit of an idle weiss if you ask us (thanks Iain). And I really hoped Mac would get sent off so we could tell him to get his coat (there’s weeks of this yet!).

As for Ingurland? Some lovely football in the first half and still only one point to show for it. We have the two leading strikers from the Prem in that squad – should one be taking the corners and the other one be on the bench? Perhaps now we do have a Plan B. Just the wrong Plan B.

And if that outcome wasn’t depressing enough for your average Ingurland follower we had the 3 days of incidents involving a small proportion of morons from more than one nation (aided and abetted methinks by some less than strategic security work) behaving like utter tw*ts. Some things really don’t change at all and I am not sure what effect the threat of England and Russia being expelled from the tournament will have on these people – no evidence to date that rational thought applies.

Sunday bought some redemption in the form of a TLF treble. TLF’s jig of joy around the living room when Poland scored against Northern Ireland might have seemed a little harsh but pecuniary advantage trumps home loyalty every time.

Talking of Les Iles Britanniques today sees the final member of the British Isles quartet get up and running. Even though he has said some very foolish things lately, Martin O’God still has a lot of TLF goodwill stored up so fingers crossed there. Possibly trickier than dealing with Ibrahimovic will be the challenge of a workday and 3 fixtures. Nothing that an Ipad and set of headphones can’t deal with mes petits. And yes, all those Euro 2016 fixtures in my electronic work calendar? Purely trying to highlight external events which may affect our ability to access key stakeholders.

Whatever you do or don’t manage to sneak a viewing of – enjoy.

Les fixtures aujourd’hui

Spain v Czech Republic 2pm
Republic of Ireland v Sweden 5pm
Belgium v Italy 8pm

Weekend Results

France 2 v Romania 1
Albania 0 v Switzerland 1
Wales 2 v Slovakia 1
England 1 v Russia 1
Turkey 0 v Croatia 1
Poland 1 v Northern Ireland 0
Germany 2 v Ukraine 0

Manger ou Boire?

As Italy make their debut and to keep my fizzy cocktail theme going can I suggest an aperol spritz. Saluti!

Le website au jour

I quite like this. It almost makes up for the Grauniad’s incredibly disappointing wall chart. I know times is hard down at York Way but come on chaps! You left TLF relying on a Murdoch production (NB – never let one’s politics and principles get in the way of a good wall chart).

Fox Cousteau
I swim
Therefore I am TLF

Posted in France 2016 | 2 Comments