As government ministers and top-level European football coaches decide to tell us who’s boss, a few people were understandably a little tired an emotional on Friday over Euro 2016.
QUIT YOUR CHITTER-CHATTER, FOOLS!
Scenes of joy erupted across France as the hosts booked their place in the final of Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win against Germany.
Fanzones across the country gave supporters the chance to revel in an amazing communal experience, with the Paris location on Champ de Mars below the Eiffel Tower was packed to 90,000 capacity.
There were pre-tournament fears that fanzones could be vulnerable amid security fears and French Secretary of State for Sports Thierry Braillard felt this was the perfect time to take on the naysayers.
“Those who wanted to argue about the fanzones realise that next time, they will close their chatter,” he demanded. “The fanzones are the most secure places for fans.” Close your chatter – a phrase Omnisport is now keen to use whenever possible during the coming football season.
MILLIONS ENJOY GRIEZMANN BRACE
For those not living it up at a fanzone, there was the more humble pleasure of you own living room to enjoy Antoine Griezmann’s Thursday night brace – and it certainly proved a popular option.
French broadcaster TF1 drew an average audience of 19.2million viewers, with figures peaking at 22.2m. This amounted to a 68.8 per cent audience share and the eighth-highest figures in French television since 1989.
The record to break for Sunday’s final is 22.2m viewers, who tuned in for the 2006 World Cup final.
— TF1 Pro (@TF1Pro) July 8, 2016
MASSIM-WOE FOR LES BLUES JOKERS
Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba joked that they had secured a double win by helping France into Sunday’s final against Portugal as it meant they would not have to report to pre-season training with Serie A champions Juventus for another week.
Perhaps the veteran left-back and star midfielder should have known better to pull the leg of wily tactician Massimiliano Allegri.
“I was going to give them two weeks’ vacation,” Allegri told reporters. “If they have asked for only one, that’s fine.”
Allegri chortles: I was going to give them 2 weeks vacation. If they have asked for only one, that’s fine” Bantzissimo
— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) July 8, 2016
There might be 777 kilometres between Paris and Turin, but nothing gets past Max.
MATUIDI WANTS TO TURN ON THE WATERWORKS
To make matters worse for Evra, he has an international team-mate who is keen to make him cry.
The 35-year-old told reporters after France’s semi-final win that he would shed a tear if captain Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy on Sunday and midfielder Blaise Matuidi is keen to make this a reality.
— Dom Farrell (@DomFarrell1986) July 8, 2016
“This generation wants to finish this competition for France. Evra is like a big brother and it would be a pleasure to make him cry,” said Matuidi, who we have to assume will do the decent thing and bring the tissues.
MANIC STREET WEEPERS
Clearly, Euro 2016 is an emotional business and Evra will not be the first person to have his lip sent quivering if all goes to plan on Sunday.
Beaten semi-finalists Wales were treated to a heroes’ reception as they boarded an open-top bus at Cardiff Castle and tens of thousands of well-wishers lined the streets.
The route concluded at Cardiff City Stadium where the band behind Wales’ official tournament song, Manic Street Preachers – yes, folks, them again – played to 33,000 fans as the support act to Chris Coleman and his squad entering the field to soak up the acclaim.
“Not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eye,” said bass player and lyricist Nicky Wire via the Manics’ Twitter feed afterwards.
Not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eye-thanks again @FAWales these moments will last a lifetime-enjoy the rest then on to Russia2018
— ManicStreetPreachers (@Manics) July 8, 2016