Wednesday, 2 February 2011



Monday, 3 January 2011



1. The first semi-final was between France and the Czech Republic and was played at Old Trafford, kicking off at 4pm.

2. Patrik Berger scored from the penalty spot in the 59th minute of the Final at Wembley. He moved to Liverpool from Borussia Dortmund.

3. Bulgaria and Romania. Romania lost all three of their matches while Bulgaria's 1-0 win over Romania was sandwiched by a draw against Spain and defeat to France.

4. Alan Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pearce and Paul Gascoigne were England's spot-kick scorers that day. Spain missed twice (Fernando Hierro and Miguel Angel Nadal), rendering the fifth penalty unnecessary.

5. France failed to score in open play in the knock-out stages. They reached the semi-finals courtesy of a penalty shootout victory over Holland in the last eight followed a 0-0 draw. Their semi-final also ended scoreless after extra-time, but they lost out on a place in the Final to the Czech Republic.

6. Turkey failed to score in their three Group D matches. They were beaten 1-0 by both Croatia and Portugal before losing their final game 3-0 to Denmark.

7. Alan Shearer was the top goalscorer for host nation England with five goals. He also successfully converted his two penalties in his side's quarter-final and semi-final shootouts.

8. Italy and Russia, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.

9. Germany and the Czech Republic clashed in the opening match of Group C with the Germans running out 2-0 winners, courtesy of first-half goals scored by Christian Ziege and Andreas Moller.

10. Five games in total went to extra-time, and four of them had to be settled by penalties. The quarter-finals between England and Spain and France and Holland all went the distance. The two victors - England and France - both then lost their respective semi-finals on penalties. The Final also went to extra-time but was won by a golden goal scored by Oliver Bierhoff.

Sunday, 2 January 2011



1. England and Germany contested the second semi-final at Wembley. Which two teams faced each other in the other semi-final and where was it played?

2. Which player scored the opening goal of the Final of Euro 96 and then transferred to Liverpool later in the summer?

3. Which two Eastern European sides failed to qualify from Group B?

4. Who scored England's four penalties in the shootout win against Spain in the quarter-finals?

5. How many goals did France score in open play in the knock-out stages of the tournament?

6. Which was the only side to fail to score a goal at Euro 96?

7. Who was the top goalscorer at Euro 96?

8. The two eventual finalists - Germany and the Czech Republic - both came out of Group C. Who were the other two teams in the group?

9. What was the result of the group encounter between the two finalists?

10. How many of the seven knock-out matches went to extra-time?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Enzo Bearzot, the manager of the World Cup-winning Italian team of 1982, died today at the age of 83 in Milan.

Under Bearzot's guidance, Italy triumphed at Espana 82 after a dreadful start. They drew all three of their first round group games before going on to defeat Argentina, Brazil, Poland and West Germany to win the World Cup for a third time.

The manager's decision to keep faith with striker Paulo Rossi - who seemed completely out-of-sorts in the first three games - was widely criticized at the time by the Italian press, yet proved to be the turning point of the World Cup. Rossi ended up with the Golden Boot following a hat-trick against Brazil, a brace against Poland, and the opening goal against the Germans in the Final.

Bearzot became the coach of the national side in 1977 and steered Italy to a fourth-placed finish at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

His reign ended after the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when the defending champions bowed out disappointingly in the second round against France.

Bearzot's death today strangely falls on the same day as the passing of Vittorio Pozzo (December 21 1968), the man who managed the Italian national team to their first two World Cup triumphs in 1934 and 1938.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Yugoslavia v Spain, Group C final match, Euro 2000

Spain had to win this match to progress. Extraordinary drama, with commentary in French.

Thursday, 2 December 2010



1. The co-hosts Belgium opened the tournament against Sweden, and won the match 2-1. Neither side managed to progress beyond the group stage however.

2. Portugal and Romania.

3. The Final was played on July 2 at the Feijenoord Stadion in Rotterdam.

4. Spain. They followed up an opening match defeat against Norway with a narrow win against Slovenia, leaving their fate very much in the balance going into the final group match with Yugoslavia. Their dramatic assault in injury time - with a penalty by Gaizka Mendieta and a last ditch strike by Alfonso - turned a 2-3 deficit into a sensational 4-3 win.

5. 14 goals were scored in the four quarter-finals, half of them in Holland's 6-1 battering of Yugoslavia. In the other three games, Portugal beat Turkey 2-0, France defeated Spain 2-1 and Italy overcame Romania 2-0.

6. Denmark fared worst of the Scandinavians, losing their opening two games by the same score of 3-0 to France and Holland. In their last game they were beaten 2-0 by the Czech Republic, sending them home goalless and pointless.

7. Patrick Kluivert scored the Netherland's third spotkick. Frank de Boer - who had already missed a penalty in the first half of the match - failed again in the shootout, as did Jaap Stam and Paul Bosvelt.

8. Norway and Slovenia were the two debutantes at Euro 2000.

9. All the teams in Group D were previous winners of the European Championship; France in 1984, Denmark in 1992, Holland in 1988 and the Czech Republic (as Czechoslovakia) - in 1976.

10. Sylvain Wiltord scored the equalizer deep into injury time, and David Trezeguet hit the extra-time golden goal to seal the triumph for Les Bleus.


Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments following the voting rounds today in Zurich, which left nine other bidders - England, Holland/Belgium, Spain/Portugal (2018) and Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA (2022) - desolate at missing out.

By voting two new hosts for its showpiece event FIFA appear to be continuing with a policy of seeking to expand the frontiers of the global game.

It was not a surprise to see Russia land the 2018 tournament as they have been the favourites throughout the majority of the bidding campaign, but Qatar beating the USA in the final round of voting for 2026 is a result that few were expecting.

England endured a dismal World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, and their elimination in the first round of voting today rounds off a year to forget for the Three Lions. They secured only two of the 22 votes today; a real kick in the teeth made all the more bitter when remembered in conjunction with their missing out on hosting the World Cup in 2006 as well. They now know that the next opportunity will not present itself until 2030.

The 2022 tournament will be the first 'Middle Eastern' World Cup, and the immediate on-the-pitch factor that stands out will be the searing heat.