Two days in and the 2016 European Championship promises to be a reasonably entertaining and attacking tournament.
France happily won what had been a typically frustrating opening game thanks to Dmitri Payet’s Roy of the Rovers winner.
Had that game ended goalless it might have set a dull tone for the first round and more importantly left the host nation’s fans a little demoralised when they need to be leading by example.
Les Bleus did some good midfield work and should have no trouble despatching limited Albania on Wednesday. With every win the host Judi Online Qq nation gets more behind its team and France have all the means to tap into the spirit of 1998 – fine players and home advantage most notably.
I travelled to Euro ’92 in Sweden where there were only eight finalists: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France, England, Scotland and the Commonwealth of Independent States (the post USSR).
Some of those might not look like they belonged in the top eight in Europe but with this edition’s expansion to 24 teams, the minnows clearly outnumber the big fish.
But how many tiddlers are there in the pond? Albania who had a typically plucky debut today, losing 1-0 to Switzerland and having their captain sent off, are clearly one.
Yet the same afternoon, Wales, making their first finals appearance since 1958, beat Slovakia 2-1.
The other suspects – Northern Ireland, Austria, Eire, Iceland, Hungary, Romania and Turkey could well upset an apple cart or two so it seems churlish to complain about the tournament’s size at this stage.
Should we suffer from a plague of first-round draws and take-it-easy final games, as four our of the six third-place teams will qualify for the next …