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.
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.
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!
Poland 1 Portugal 1. Portugal win 5-3 on penalties
Wales v Belgium 8pm
Germany v Italy 8pm
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.
Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur
I’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau.