He who Eders, wins

I don’t think it is a phrase you hear tous les jours but ‘the tournament gets the final it deserves’ seems appropriate after last night’s underwhelming game. Much like the tournament itself it was average fare; you weren’t on the edge of your seat and just as the occasional tantalising amuse bouche of footballling skill and daring would pique your interest, it was momentary and you were back to school dinner stodge football.

That is not to decry Portugal’s success. They have been tenacious and resolute, well managed by the wily old (cliché alert) Fernando Santos, although it would be a step far to agree with the actor…sorry defender Pepe’s description of the team, “That’s what the Portugese are about: humility, work, overcoming hardship.” It’s true; rolling around on the floor like you have been run over by a herd of raging wildebeest (very common in European football stadiums I hear) when actually no one really touched you has always been my definition of humility.

And all this without the other, slightly prettier Pantomime Villain that is Cristiano Ronaldo who limped off, distraught after 25 minutes. Much as je n’aime pas la Cristiano he did go up in my estimation as he ignored the HUGE moth that landed on his head when he was lying injured. My leg could have been hanging off and if a moth landed sur ma tete I would be leaping up and down shouting, “Getitoff Getitoff Getitoff!!!!!!” like the big brave TLF that I am.

France were unable to take advantage of CR’s grand depart, having left their inventiveness and creativity on the team coach. And then Portugal did to France what Greece did to them 12 years ago, squeezed the space and were relentless. The aforementioned Pepe might be un peu of a d1ck but he did his defensive duties superbly. Winning was a step too far for France and perhaps a relief to the rest of us – safe in the knowledge that there would no further recycling of the weekend’s press coverage which see-sawed between the “victory-will-help-heal-this –country-still-in-shock” line and the “ people-who-say-victory-will-help-heal-this –country-still-in-shock-are-kidding-themselves-it’s-only-football.” Face it, sport can unite people for a moment, but big tournament wins are fleeting in their impact. (SEE I am doing it now!)

I would suggest for a future tournament that France consider adding yellow spots to their white change strip. If only so that we could all sing “He wore an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot Matuidi.” Sorry that’s been in my head since the first game all those weeks ago.

Eh bien, nous sommes fini. Temps pour la tableau mural to come off the wall, to put the tournament T-shirts in the wash and relinquish control of the television scheduling Chez TLF.

It hasn’t been something to always ecrire home about admittedly; for TLF too many teams and too many jours de repose. Ingurland were a predictable disappointment, led (I use the word loosely)by the highest paid coach in the tournament, whose main tactics seemed to be to employ rien de tactic and play to his players’ weaknesses as often as possible.

The other home nations were an utter joy – some great perfomances and fans who seemed to realise that it is not essential to spend the hours between football matches chanting about past conflicts that are nothing to do with football and where a lot of people died.

Every tournament needs its ‘everyone’s favourite second team’ and Iceland stepped up beardfully to the plate. From really annoying Ronaldo in their obstinacy to let him score to their humiliation of Ingurland they kept the interest up and fair play to Alyson Rudd and a couple of other Times colleagues who predicted that the men from the fijords would be the surprise package of the tournmanet.

This year’s tournament mascot,’Super Victor’ was noticeably absent at all times (apart from on offical over-priced UEFA tat), whether this has anything to do with the fact that Super Victor is the name of a best selling sex toy in America, I couldn’t say.

Being in France was, of course the icing sur la gateau pour TLF. Not quite the chilled out, informal, footballing vacance that was in TLF’s petite tete when booking those tickets two years ago but that’s the way of the world these days. Lens was an utter blast and while they were rubbish on and off the pitch, hearing Russia’s national anthem belted out in Lille’s stadium, with the roof closed was spine-tingling.

Financially things are even – Mr Jennings probably just edged it but TLF’s victorie in la sweep de stake has bought things back into the black.

Time for TLF to get sur sa bicyclette and stop this self-inflicted torture of a blog a day ; doesn’t have the same effect as une pomme per jour I can tell you. Normal service will be resumed in August.

A bientot!

Non je ne regrette rien
Edith Fox

Resultat – La finale
France 0 Portugal 1 (aet)

Malcolm and TLF en Lille, suitably refreshed.

Malcolm and TLF en Lille, suitably refreshed.

TLF's European HQ - aka the dining room table

TLF’s European HQ – aka the dining room table

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Marchons, Marchons!!!

A minor miracle has occurred. TLF will finally be able to watch a major tournament final and wear the shirt of a finalist at the same time. A first. This might of course be due to the rather random nature of my shirt buying – step forward the Honduras away shirt 2014 and a lack of German/Spanish/Argentinian/Brazilian items within the TLF wardrobe, rather than the exhibition of a cruel streak by the Footballing Gods of Fate (FGFs)

Fortunately for TLF and a whole nation those FGFs were on form last night, smiling down beatifically and chucking some largesse in the direction of les Bleus. They might pronounce it Lurve but there wasn’t any of that to be found last night for Germany’s coach Joachim Low.

Not that it was all down to FGF intervention of course. For all of Germany’s fluidity and calm possession they could not score. France had the confident goal scorer Griezeman who didn’t crumble under the pressure of taking that 45th minute penalty. Fair play to the eagle-eyed ref (Italian I note #justsaying) who spotted the arm of Schweinsteiger when no one else did. They also had a much improved defence, although their midfield could have done with a spot of Kante (But I would say that wouldn’t I?).

While triumph went to those in blue, the air did not turn blue in acknowledgement. Another first last night was the venue for semi final viewing – Auntie Dot’s. Ninety and most definitely spry, but not very footbally and not very sweary. The former she coped with brilliantly, the latter TLF had to refrain from. My hastily assembled special auntie football cursing lexicon was thorough:
Fool – w*anker
Rubbish – b8llocks
Idiot – tw*t
Flipping heck – fookin hell
Poor – utter sh1t

But the words just aren’t so satisfactory; particularly when the stakes are high. And swearing vicariously does not work – ‘amusing’ expletive laden texts from friends, who were aware of my dilemma, did not fall into the definition of ‘supportive’. More like ‘inflammatory’ or ‘TLF bait’.

Normal swearing service will be resumed this weekend. Four weeks after the rather slow and ponderous party started, vingt-quarte have been reduced to deux and after a month of relationship threatening football and bankruptcy inducing gambling it all comes down to Sunday night. No faffing about with 3rd place play-offs. Non; pas de tout.

Sunday approaches – chill your beers, purchase your snackage, cuddle up with Sir Gary of Lineker and Thierry, tune out Alan Shearer and lockdown the remote control. It is the FINAL.

Hosts versus underdogs, who when they were hosts, 12 years ago, lost in the final to the underdogs Greece (keep up!). It’s not quite what TLF envisaged when referring to 12 year rule earlier this week (that’s where rank outsiders – Denmark, Greece in the past – win the tournament every 12 years) but it is making me nervous. Ronaldo is a winner and leading Portugal to their first major trophy would be the panner-cle of his career. (Yes I am afraid the cheese puns are stilgoington).

But….
A host nation expects.
And so does a TLF.
I didn’t learn their national anthem for nothing vous connais.
Don’t let me down chaps or I will greve.

Allez Les Bleus!!

Resultat d’http://thelostfox.org/?p=1244&preview=truehier
Germany 0 France 2

Sunday’s fixture – Il ne peut y en avoir qu’un!
LE FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
France v Portugal8p m, Stade de France, Paris

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

As sober as a judge:
Sobre comme un chameau (As sober as a camel)
As in: TLF is unlikey to be sobre comme un chameau a le soir de Dimanche….Plus ca change…..

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Le grande fromage

And this really is a grande one. World Champions versus Hosts. Masses of tournament history between them, France seeking revenge for their quarter final defeat in the last World Cup. It could be a halloumi of a game.

With all due respect to previous opponents this is probably the first time France have faced a really good side in the tournament. It was suggested this morning on the radio that maybe if we didn’t call Germany, well Germany, we might assess them differently. That too many winning performances are bound up with the name to assess them objectively. Something in you head just goes, ‘German = winning a football match.” Even TLF, clinging onto one last tournament T-shirt isn’t feeling too brielliant about France’s chances:
Germany have yet to concede a goal from open play (boo!) during the tournament but they do have a few notable absentees (hooray!) either through injury or suspension – Hummels, Gomez and Khedira are not easily replaced. France have no such problems( hooray!) with a full squad to choose from – although full squad or not that still means a suspect defence (boo!). Perhaps the venue will make a difference – Marseille crowds will be a bit more edgy – expect a deafening raclette.

One thing for sure is that the German physio will probably not be wearing his CR7, Ronaldo boxers, the label of which , peeking out from above his waistband was picked up by an eagle eyed cameraman during their last game. Maybe they are great pants, but not to be worn at a stage when their namesake awaits in the Final.

Talking of the Portuguese equivalent of Violet Elizabeth Bott (for those not recognising this cultural reference point, see me after the tournament for children’s literature detention). I am of course gutted to report that Cristiano delivered a feta-ccompli, leading a Portugal team that hadn’t won a game in 90 minutes all tournament, to victory over Wales. Last night wasn’t Wales’s best performance of the tournament and Ramsey really was a big miss, a step too far perhaps against a team that seem to have learned to do just enough every time to get through.

Heart-wrenching though it is to lose at the semi-final hurdle, once the initial disappointment is over they and their fans must be soooo chuffed. They have exceeded everyone’s expectations (if not their own), given us some great football and just been everything that so many teams, especially England, are not. Relaxed, refreshing, engaged with their fans….Magnificent.

Diolch & merci Mr Coleman.

Foxathos

Yesterday’s result
Portugal 2 Wales 0

Le Demi Final 2, Ce soirLes phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

Every cloud has a silver lining
Apres la pluie, le beau temps (after the rain, the fine weather)
As in:
If ever TLF didn’t want a team in the final it was Portugal, mais apres la pluie, le beau temps, it is her sweepstake team.

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There be dragons

If the first knock out round is the ‘business end of the competition’ then presumably the semi-finals are les grande fromages of the business end.

Portugal will need to tread caerphilly (BOOMBOOM!)as they face the magic that is Wales. TLF does find herself slightly conflicted, having wiped from the memory banks, almost as soon as the name was out of le chapeau, that Portugal were one of her sweepstake teams. And indeed are now her only sweepstake team. Financial advantage versus the story of the tournament? No contest; TLF is on the hunt for some Welsh ancestry.

One thing that definitely won’t make it anywhere this evening are the team’s offspring. You may have seen the Welsh players frolicking with their nippers at the end of every game. Now however the UEFA elf has ruled that this is interdit. (elf and safety… ). Apparently the pitch is not a safe place for children, “It is a European Championship not a family party….it is not a safe place if fans invaded the field and with stadium staff operating machinery on the playing surface,” a UEFA Grinch explained.

Similarly missing due to what could be interpreted as a bit of UEFA harshness are Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies. Two yellow cards in five games mean a one match suspension for both of them. There are no easy solutions to managing persistent offenders in a tournament but TLF is not convinced that this is the best one. It could mean a first start for Lesta’s Andy King or, as the Evening Standard predicted (with no locational bias at all…honest), could see both the suspended London based players be replaced by a further two London based players.

For the press of course, they find it hard not to be distracted by the story that is Bale v the man who throws microphones into lakes. But it would be mad to detract from their team mates who are way more than a supporting cast to the Real Madrid megastars.

It would be harsh on Wales to lose to a Portugal team that have not exactly set the tournament alight. So cross your fingers/des doigts/bysedd and anything else about your person and invoke the 12 year rule (tell you tomorrow).
Dewch ‘malen Cymru!

Foxorthos
Le Demi Final 1, Ce soir

Portugal V Wales, 8pm, Stade de Lyon, Lyon


Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

To think you are God’s gift.
Se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter
(To think you are the gift of Jupiter)
As in,
“I don’t like to say it, Cristiano but se croire sorti de la misse de Jupiter

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The devil makes work for idle paws…….

It seems like the elephant in the room isn’t.
Isn’t there, I mean.
In the room.
If it was then presumably it would remind TLF.
About what?
About all the things TLF forgets.
Because elephants unlike TLFs never forget.
TLFs forget for a variety of reasons – lack of sleep, excessive levels of giddy excitement, hangovers (very rarely) and far too often the outrageous reality that is the need to get to and do some WORK.

So if I was actually le TLE (keep up!) maybe you wouldn’t have missed out on any of the following, which I have rediscovered after reviewing note books and removing from various trouser pockets small scraps of paper with little notes on them (hi-tech that’s TLF):

A rant about lazy journalism – During the stupid behaviour by a stupid minority that took place in Lille, reporters referred to the use of tear gas (and other phrases for indications of bad things happening) outside Lille’s railway station. Well do you know what they have three? Would it have been too much effort to say Lille Europe, or Lille Flandres or Lille the-other-one-just-out-of-town-that-TLF-forgot-the-name-of.

Pitch side French TV punditry – A laid back affair. Or maybe they employ pundits who know current players. Or maybe they get access to a better bit of the pitch pre-match. Anyway before one match the whole pre match analysis went to eff as Spanish players (various) came over to the pundits during the warm up and engaged in much hugging, badinage and by the looks of it some serious jokes regarding Pique’s beard. Heart-warming even though I didn’t understand a word. Who were Spain playing? Can’t remember.

German beer – That night I was in a German restaurant while Germany played. I wanted to keep in the spirit so drank this fantastic beer. Slightly incongruous – a traditional stein amongst the fine dining accoutrement, but no matter tasted great. I even saved the receipt so I could tell you what it was called. And when I find the receipt I will let you know.

The cockney rant – My hotel bar in France was full of Ingurland fans on the night before the Wales game. A mixture of those from the north and south they all bonded in a big, beery and blokey kind of a way. Until the northern group left and I was able to listen to one group of London boys express their true views of their country men, their likely abilities to survive in an unfortunate meeting with any Russians/French riot polis, and the fact that they would, “not be rescuing no northern monkeys from the gutter. And where do you think those ‘see you next tuesdays’ will be when it all kicks off. Particularly that ginger one. Who does he think he is? Tommy Tasty? Well he can effing forget it.”

The rogue ‘H’ – it has been pointed out to me by my linguistic adviser Mr TLF that my spelling of ‘hold tight’ was wrong. It is of course ‘old tight’. I forgot to drop me aitch.

Photos – there’s a couple of great ones from France. And when my iPad stops acting like Tommy Tasty (who he?) I will post them in a blog. I’d like to see the elephant do any better. Unless you are going to tell me that apart from never forgetting they are also good at IT.

A headline – There was no headline for the blog about Ingurland’s insipid draw with Slovakia. It just says Tuesday. You might have not noticed or you might have thought it was some clever post-modernist statement designed to indicate the bleakness of the mood de la TLF. Mais non. Pure incompetence. What had I come up with as a headline? Can’t remember. Ask the elephant.

Don’t worry. The football is back tomorrow. And all this will be a distant memory(!)

Hannibal Fox

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

I would rather stick hot needles in my eye.
Je preferais me couper un bras (I would rather cut my arm off)
As in:
Je preferais me couper un bras than listen to Robbie Savage

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France take the icing off the Euro cake, the Welsh dragon melts Belgian chocolate hearts and Germany win on penalties

Sir Gary of Lineker’s assessment of the beautiful game remains accurate for a little while longer in this tournament, “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

On Satday evening it took a little longer – 90 minutes plus extra time and penalties to be precise. That gave Mr TLF additional ammunition as he pointed out that, “Yes it may well have only been one game today but it lasted until half ten.” Mind you even he was open mouthed at the penalty shoot out shenanigans. Presumably the German misses were some sort of Teutonic in-joke designed to mess with our heads, bearing in mind that the Nationalmannschaft last missed a tournament penalty in 1982. Italy were determined to get in on the joke too…sadly they did it a little too effectively. Seven penalty misses in total and the most obvious lesson of the lesson of the night was that those little shuffley and faffy run-ups will frequently make you look like une peu of a tool.

Sounding like a bit of un outil was Martin Keown. Yes the match was tactical, but that doesn’t make it, “like a chess match,” Martin no matter what you say. Last time I looked chess was played on a board not football pitch, has teams of 16 and allows men, women, horses and bishops to play on the same team. Mind you lazy metaphors and clichés are a favourite of Mr K, as the number of players who either had or needed ‘nerves of steel’ during the penalty shootout, proved.

Gutted to think that we have now lost Conte from the touchline (although it won’t be long before he is gracing this sceptr’d isle) and potentially Gianlucci Vialli who may or may not grace the Beeb’s studio again now his home nation is out. The suit, the passion, the lovely smile and the use of the phrase, “squeaky bum time.” What’s not to love?

Iceland v France was BIG. Nooo not because it was the hosts against one of the great stories of the tournament or because it was a tense and close encounter but because Mr TLF had, in consultation more with last week’s visitor Iain than TLF, a acheté une nouvelle télé. Kind of glad he did it after Iceland had humiliated Ingurland as I imagine that the size of the screen is directly proportionate to the level of misery achieved in the viewing (it’s a new law of physics).

Sadly for Iceland their debut on TLF Tower’s new telly was not on

Fear not. TLF had not forgotten. But sometimes you do have to save the best jusqu’à ce dernier.

Wales, Wales, Wales. Just wonderful. Teamwork and spirit? Yes of course in llwythi bwced (le load de la bucket). But also skilful. I don’t know what the Welsh is for Cruyff turn, but clearly Hal Robson-Kanu does. With the exception of the first 20 minutes Wales were utterly in control. Chris Coleman is officially a genius and has made history – managing his team to the semi finals in their debut tournament and there may still be more to come. And if TLF can be a little paraochial for a minute (and in your own blog that is generally an option), it was fantastic to see a Lesta City player celebrating getting into the semi finals of the European Championships. And now there’s two of them!

What a weekend. The only downside was that with the exception of the Wales result, TLF’s tips were distinctly off. As a result TLF the pundit has, with only three games to go, been shown her cartes, obtenu la boot, given her ordres de marche.

The magic chicken worked on the pitch but not in the bookies. C’est la vie.

D’ TLFagnan, one of the Three Foxateers, from the famous stories by Andre Dufox

Results

Wales 3 Belgium 1
Germany 1 Italy 1 Germany win 6-5 on penalties
France 5 Iceland 2

Les phrases francaises essentielles de TLF

It’s not worth jack-sh!t
Ca ne vaut pas un pet de lapin (It’s not worth a rabbit’s fart)
As in, “TLF’s betting tips ne vaut pas un pet de lapin.”

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Penalties put Portugal past Poland

They might have scored the second fastest goal in the tournament’s history but it was still au revoir for Poland last night. Portugal’s record in the tournament includes 3 draws and a stuttering win in the group of 16. That might not be the perfect definition of ‘tournament winning form’ but potentially they are just saving themselves for the final. Last night they were still not firing on all cylinders but were just about deserved winners.
Apparently.

As previewed TLF’s hectic social whirl didn’t make football viewing easy. Even pre-match discussions were curtailed as TLF chose a London black cab driven by a cab driver with NO interest in football whatsoever. Could have demanded he pull over but was of course late for the art gallery by then so showed a rare degree of TLF sense and stayed put. The exhibition was great and if you get a chance to pop along to the Bankside Gallery (next to Tate Modern) I’d recommend it – a celebrity of all things Shakespeare. And I don’t now own two of the exhibits…honest. That’s why you should NEVER go to the pub before a private view.

My first taste of the football was outside the gallery and I got in a good 20 minutes while Mr TLF and his ami did not rush to leave (some people have rein de sense of l’urgency). There was a brief ad break for the short walk to the Carluccio’s, where my resting of the iPad on the table was appreciated by our Polish waitress. Until I told her that Portugal had scored.

Do you know how long it takes to walk from Carluccio’s near the Bankside Gallery to the Premier Inn at County Hall? About the amount of time it takes for extra time and Poland to lose on penalties.

Merde!

Rest assured dear reader that this tres pauvre showing by TLF will be rectified with the remaining three quarter-finals. Only one game a day during le weekend ensures the perfect balance of tournament pressure and peace in our time sure la doemestique front.

First up are Wales. My heart says ‘ie’ (that’s Welsh for ‘yes’ language scholars) but my head says Belgium. Even without Vertongen and Vermalen those Walloon boys might just prove too hazardous (BOOM!) for Wales. Still Wales held their own in the qualifiers against Belgium and also look like a team that isn’t scared but is enjoying its time in France so who knows. In a stereotypical fashion I’m keeping my leeks crossed.

After that it’s all about the shirts. TLF is down to a mere two national shirts now – an archive Adidas French shirt from the 80s and a nice little Italy away long sleever so cutting my cloth accordingly on the supporter front.

Clash of the smoothies and best dressed coach contest is up first, with Low v Conte. Germany have a chronic record against, “unfancied but increasingly convincing Italy” – no wins from eight meetings in tournaments but it still strikes me as too close to call. Then it is the hosts versus everyone’s favourite team, the sons of sons, Iceland. A fjord too far? Or if Iceland get an early goal could that sink the titanically slow starting hosts?…repeat all previous Iceland cliches ad nauseam.

The dull consecutive days of no football are over!
The weekend is here and it’s going to be great. TLF might even put her shirt(s) on it.

Forza Italia et Allez les Bleus!

Le chicken magique est pret!

Le chicken magique est pret!

Clouseau Fox

Result
Poland 1 Portugal 1. Portugal win 5-3 on penalties

Fixtures
Ce soir

Wales v Belgium 8pm
Samedi
Germany v Italy 8pm
Dimanche
France v Iceland 8pm

Manger ou Boire?
A slow cooker from Belgium – no need to worry if it goes to extra time!


Sing-along-a-quarter-finalist national anthem: Wales

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr* tra mad,
Tros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.
Cytgan:
Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur
I’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau.

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Le service normale retourne

Euffff.
Le TLF est tres triste. Pas de football pour la last 48 heures. C’est ne pas normale. No choix but to follow le fallout from a double Brexit. TLF’s suggestion is that Gareth Southgate becomes leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn becomes manager of Ingurland and Roy Hodgson becomes PM (he knows how to leave Europe after all).

Even Mr TLF has been asking, “ou est le foot?” Mais that might be pas que if footy is on then TLF is at least quiet and unable to commit la mischief.

But, as they dit, according to M. TLF, dans la Londres. “HOLD TIGHT!”

Le tourne est vivante et kicking aujourd’hui. Le foot retourne……. Malheureusement le TLF avez managed la diary tres mal.

Elle est treble booked:
1. Le pub avec ses aimes
2. Le view privee a un galerie d’art
3. Poland v Portugal

Merde!

But that is what iPads and headphones are for…..Any port(!) in a storm, even if me and Mr TLF are poles (!!) apart on the likely outcome. Mr TLF is all Ronaldo’d up. TLF is hoping that Lewndowski is going to break his tournament duckski. All Mr Jennings needs is a draw at 90 minutes and that will be another two additions to la betting slip mountain of shame.

Les quarts de finale est arrive et TLF est mort chuffed.

Just one final mention of Ingurland. Danny Baker is often VFM on the old twitter. Here is his collection from Monday evening. Priceless (I think drink may have been taken).
http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/28/f-off-worms-danny-baker-launches-incredible-twitter-attack-on-england-football-team-5970730/

La detective magnifique Maigret Fox

Fixture

C’est magnifque le foot retourne!
Poland v Portgual 8pm

Manger ou Boire? Portugal

They like their cabbage and their kale. The inspiration for their hideous change kit peut-etre?
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/caldo-verde/

Sing-along-a-quarter-finalist national anthem – Poland

Jeszcze Polska nie zginela,
Kiedy my zyjemy.
Co nam obca przemoc wziela,
Szabla odbierzemy.

CHORUS
Marsz, marsz, Dabrowski,
Z ziemi wloskiej do Polski,
Za twoim przewodem
Zlaczym sie z narodem.

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Conte(nt) with Antonio’s Azzurri

Et puis il y avait huit.

We have our quarter finalists. Ingurland are not amongst them. Iceland are. And rightly so. You know all the stats about the comparative size of population, the footballing history and the great stories. You know how pants one team was and how brilliant another were. TLF did celebrate when we got Iceland in the group of 16. Unlike some members of the Ingutland coaching staff not because TLF thought it would be easier than Portugal but because TLF cannot think of a team I’d rather watch my team lose to. And for that reason I didn’t repeat the sulking or tears of previous insipid exits. I was cross at the paucity of the performance but I wasn’t entirely surprised. I did shake my head at those fans complaining the fortune that they had “paid to watch this lot.” Well guess what a) no one made you b) you should know better by now and c) I bet you had a good time before and eventually after.

Anyway where was I before Ingurland’s successful attempt to chier dans la colle? Ah yes, the good stuff from Monday which for TLF was Antonio Conte. Sorry I mean Italy v Spain. To start with it was on the Beeb and they had, perhaps as a none too subtle reminder of what we might have kissed au revoir to, a continental panel – Henry, Vialli and Kompany (sounds like a potential chat show). Follically challenged maybe but magnifique in every other respect – urbane, stylish and highly entertaining (oh and all from nations that had qualified for the quarter finals…little did Sir Gary of Lineker know that he wouldn’t be able to tick that box by the end of the evening).

The Italian coach and TLF’s coach of the tournament wouldn’t have been out of place in that little group although his stylish credentials were put at serious risk during the opening minutes of the game against Spain as a spectacular cloudburst forced him to don (see what I did there) a team baseball cap and cagoule. Not his finest sartorial hour.

BTW I should make clear that qualification for TLF’s CoT (coach of the tournament) isn’t of course just down to footballing matters. If it was then clearly Iceland’s Lars Lagerback (the beers are on him!) would be le premier choix. There are other crucial features to consider such as cut of suit, successfully completed moody smouldering looks, rollickings from the ref, passionate goal celebrations (the manic mounting of the dugout roof for Italy’s second being a prime example) and nice eyes. Shallow? Moi? Pfffft.

Nothing about Italy’s performance against Spain was shallow; yes they needed a couple of quality saves from the old master Buffon but this was a team set up to make best use of its strengths, to get some revenge for that 4-0 spanking by Spain in the final of this tournament four years ago and to confirm what the last World Cup hinted at, that for now at least Spain no longer reign. A deep full-bodied Montepulciano waving a cheer ‘Ciao’ at a past its best Rioja.

A biased TLF might dit that an under-rated side playing in blue, proving to be more than the sum of their parts, looking like a team who want to win for each other, having a good 2016 and managed by a slightly manic Italian were peut-etre reminiscent of a certain tem from the East Miglands. But TLF didn’t need to because Vialli got there first.

Ce qu’un homme intelligent!
Foxatouille

Rein de results
Rein de fixtures
Ca alors. Ce n’est pas plus drôle

Manger ou Boire?
The veggies have been neglected….More than just a film
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/classic-ratatouille/

Sing-along-a-quarter-finalist national anthem – Italy
Fratelli d’Italia,
L’Italia s’è desta;
Dell’elmo di Scipio
S’è cinta la testa.
Dov’è la Vittoria?
Le porga la chioma;
Ché schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.

Stringiamci a coorte!
Siam pronti alla morte;
Italia chiamò.

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Magnificent Iceland freeze out feeble England

At times like this, TLF has no words and only Billy Shakespeare will do:

England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of wat’ry Neptune, is now bound in with shame.

The fine words written about others today will have to wait until Wednesday; there’s no joy in them right now.

Pepe le Pew Fox (and Ingurland did have a stinker)

Fixtures
All quiet on the western front audjourd’hui

Results
Italy 2 Spain 0
England 1 Iceland 2

Manger ou boire?
While we are in this footballing vacuum, a taste of la mere avec un slow cooker from our hosts
http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/bouillabaisse-recipe

Sing-along-a-quarter-finalist national anthem – Iceland
Ó, guð vors lands! Ó, land vors guðs,
vér lofum þitt heilaga, heilaga nafn,
úr sólkerfum himnanna hnýta þér krans
þínir herskarar, tímanna safn.
Fyrir þér er einn dagur sem þúsund ár
og þúsund ár dagur, ei meir:
eitt eilífðar smáblóm með titrandi tár,
sem tilbiður guð sinn og deyr.
Íslands þúsund ár,
eitt eilífðar smáblóm með titrandi tár,
sem tilbiður guð sinn og deyr.

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