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.
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)
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.