Well, from the semi final predictions anyway, I was almost bang on. France v Portugal will tonight contest the final of the 2016 European Championships. For now I’ll give some brief thoughts on the match ahead, with perhaps a longer post about the tournament itself later. Although, as I think I’ve mentioned before, the Scottish football season restarts next Saturday (16th) with a lovely heap of Scottish League Cup matches.
Firstly to the all-important prediction – I’m going to go for:
France 2-1 Portugal
I’ve thought since the start of the tournament (maybe other than the first 45.5 minutes of the semi against Germany) that France would win it, so I’ll stick to my guns. Portugal, having been Greeced in 2004, appear to be trying to Greece the tournament itself with their largely unadventurous football and (understandable) over-reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo.
I am kind of hoping the football gods have some say in the outcome too. Last time France were in a final on home soil, they were the neutral’s favourite in a match at the Stade France against a Portuguese-speaking nation with a Ronaldo in their side. And of course they won that 3-0. Plus ça change, as our cousins over the Channel might say. I’m hoping for a similar outcome tonight.
The one caveat I would have on my thoughts for tonight is the French defence. While they managed to just about prevent the Germans from scoring in the semi-finals, they have conceded goals to Iceland (2), Ireland and Romania (1 each) so far in this tournament. If Portugal can provide Nani and Mr Ronaldo with the supply they need, that might be the point where France concede goals. What I’m almost certain of is that Portugal’s plan will be to try instead to frustrate the French attack and then hit the hosts on the break.
This is likely to make for a relatively boring final. I’m hopeful for something more entertaining, but not necessarily expecting it. The fact that this coincides with the Wimbledon Mens’ Singles Final and the British Grand Prix (if you like that sort of thing) makes for a Sunday of tidying, throwing stuff out and then sitting in front of the telly for hours. Lovely stuff.