Allons enfant de patrie
Le jour de glorie est arrive!
Bonjour ma petite Camemberts.
C’est le lost fox.
Et bienvenue a la Euro 2016.
“And does that mean un bon temps?” I hear vous dit.
C’est le temps for the usual smorgasbord of football tournament treats – wall charts, a minor TLF shaped economic boom in the football t-shirt retail industry, an unhealthy interest in Iceland’s defensive record, 95 rule changes (no really), comedy names, despair at various elements of TV coverage and a foolish commitment to ramble for you daily during the whole month of this fascinating footballing feast from France. Shame it’s not in February (BOOMBOOM!).
“A month!” I hear vous dit.
For the first time the tournament will contain 24 teams, rather than the traditional 16. The traditional 16 that has to date produced sufficient entertainment but clearly insufficient cash as far as those chaps at UEFA are concerned. The group stage will be followed for the first time by a round of 16 and the occasional bit of confusion as us innocents try and work out which three of the third place in the six groups will make it into the next round. And as for how they rank teams at the group stage who finish level on points? Too messy for la tete de TLF.
This expanded tournament could of course give us more upsets and excitement or could just make for a flabby, overlong, money making, momentum-draining exercise with excess jour de repos and rein to blog about.
“Nothing?” J’ecoute you say.
This is a football tournament. En France. Time to dust off my worst puns, my best footballing facts, some good old fashioned English pessimism, excessive Franglais and as many French stereotypes as Le Renard Perdu (LRP) can muster.
“Vous actually going to ecrire anything about the GAMES this weekend?” I hear vous dit.
Pardon. Je un peu carried away.
We begin with the hosts taking on Romania. I think this may be the first time that a Lesta player has ever had the chance to feature in the opening game of a major tournament and so paws are crossed that N’Golo Kante will start at the heart of a ‘much fancied’ French team. OR if you prefer, a French team ‘affected by injuries, a sex tape row and too great a reliance on artistry not industry.’ They are French FFS! Of course the artistry is tres importante! Quoth a famous piss artiste.
We all gleefully hope for a bit of a shocker with those opening games, but with Romania described as, “an ageing, unremarkable side” by The Times (they speak highly of you guys too), it seems unlikely.
After that fasten your ceinture, as the weekend takes you on a rollercoaster ride of 6 games. This is will not be for the faint –hearted; serious re-fuelling strategies and distraction techniques for those slightly less interested than you in le foot will be required.
We will also see the opening salvo in the traditional battle that is ITV v BBC. TLF’s money is of course on the latter, but ITV have given themselves a fighting chance by jettisoning Adrian Chiles…AND…and I am not sure how to break this to any Neanderthal readers out there…employing a….LADY as a pundit. I know. They’ll be blogging about it next.
Three of the teams from the British Isles will also be in action. Time for TLF to dust off the old Ingurland shirt and prise open the rusty optimism tin. An opening game against an injury prone Russia must give some hope. The one thing I will predict is some TLF teenage styley guffawing when playing against a team managed by Mr Slutsky (look if you want intellect then go to the Guardian website). A Wales victory would certainly spice things up for that second group game on Thursday.
TLF’s SSFAU (soft spot for an underdog) is looking a bit Albanian this weekend. Tournament debutants with a win against Portugal and draw against France in their recent history; I plan to cheer them on. Shame they are playing one of my sweepstake teams. But we all know finances never triumph over footballing romance (cf: TLF bank accounts for many years).
Le TLF est GBF (guaranteed Brexit Free)
Le TF est LEF (liberte, equalitie, fraternitie)
Le TLF est Pret.
“Vous est une sandwiche!?” I hear vous dit.
Mon Dieu. Je does the puns around ici.
Le fixture ce soir
France v Romania 8pm
Les fixtures a la weekend
Albania V Switzerland 2pm
Wales v Slovakia 5pm
England v Russia 8pm
Turkey v Croatia 2pm
Poland v Northern Ireland 5pm
Germany v Ukraine 8pm
Manger ou Boire?
What would be more fitting than opening the tournament with TLF’s favourite tipple, le soixante quinze.
Le website au jour
If you despaired at England’s tactics in their last friendly against Portugal – this is for you. Can’t decide if I want to see more of these or not.
Therefore I am TLF