That photo is of another goddamned psychic animal. England news: a lot of bother about Hodgson’s seizing the moment and feeling the weight of history and blah blah blah, the only thing that matters is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is starting in place of Stewart Downing. And a very typical Richard Williams troll just in time for kick off! And Barney Ronay takes the piss where it should be taken.
On the France end of things, Michael Cox looks at one potential weakness in the centreback department (which won’t matter much once Ribery and Benzema score three in the first half). And French Football Weekly has a tonne of build-up stuff for your amusement as well. Patrick Barclay wrote something about France’s long time rivalry with England, a team they did not face in their 1984 Euros win, the 1998 World Cup, and Euro 2000 final.
In other Euros news, Mario Balotelli was allegedly racially abused by Spanish fans in Italy’s 1-1 draw with Spain. The Gazzetta Dello Sport broadly approves of Italy’s performance. And Spain, predictably, sadly, complained about the pitch. Trappatoni tried to lift his team’s spirits following their dismal 3-1 defeat to Croatia. Grant Wahl also has his round up of the weekend’s action.
In club news, Chelsea are set to appoint Roberto Di Matteo to a one year contract. The new Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella hopes Jovetic will stick around for next season. Schalke apparently want both Van der Vaart and Salomon Kalou.
In Canada, I’ll tip-toe past Molinaro’s goodbye to Aron Winter to give you Waking the Red’s look at which were the best all-time coaches of Toronto FC, using a number of different metrics. Martin Rennie is now the winningest coach in Whitecaps history. And there are no points for style ahead of Canada’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras tomorrow night.
In bits and bobs, France is ready for England tonight. Balotelli can’t shoot, Shay Given’s Robbie Fowler moment, Iniesta in what could be the photo of the tournament so far, Euro 2012 wreaks havoc with the Euro Club Index, and an excellent analytical summary of Spain v Italy.
And that, give or take, is the story so far…