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
Just a romantic fox at heart.
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