Euro 2004 (England-France)

by Chris Bertram on June 13, 2004

They’ll be dancing in the streets of Glasgow and Cardiff tonight after England’s “last minute collapse to France”: at Euro 2004. Not fatal, but very deflating to English morale. It is the worst way to lose a game, to think you’re home and dry and then to concede twice in extra time and I’m feeling almost as let down now as I did when Man U beat Bayern Munich in the European Cup (it isn’t quite that bad). Still, an entertaining start to the tournament with a “splendid Greek performance”: against Portugal yesterday, and I rather fancy the Danes to shock Italy tomorrow.



yabonn 06.13.04 at 11:18 pm

Zidane, président, zidane, président!


P O'Neill 06.13.04 at 11:18 pm

There’s also the Liverpool factor. The current and ex players are thoroughly implicated — Owen invisible, Heskey concedes the free kick, Gerrard in the blunder that leads to the James foul on Henry and of course the Spice Boy himself a spectator on the Zidane free kick. As a Liverpool fan, this pains me.


Another Damned Medievalist 06.14.04 at 12:01 am

What was Gerrard thinking? King had a brilliant game, though. Let’s just hope that Switzerland and Croatia stay as dire as they were today. Spousal person is walking around the house in a daze, occasionally muttering, “buggrit … “


Ryan.m. 06.14.04 at 12:03 am

The Denmark über Italy pick is intriguing, and becoming increasingly popular in recent days; may be very prescient. I was rooting for England in this one, but I have to admit a certain feeling of ‘Okay, how WILL they lose this one?’ That being said, I still like England’s chances to get out of the group, and I would still count them as among the half-dozen teams capable of winning the damn thing. Now, if we could just get the ESPN Sportscenter anchors to at least stop making fun of soccer!


q 06.14.04 at 2:37 am

3 donkeys from Liverpool is enough to be statistically significant.


WillieStyle 06.14.04 at 3:11 am

Personaly, I was rejoicing after England’s loss. The one thing I hate the most in football is when a team takes a 1 goal lead and then packs 10 men behind the box for the rest of the match. France was attacking at will, and you just knew they were going to get a chance eventually.

The other thing I hate in football is over-rated pretty boys. Will this game finaly put an end to the beckham hype. This dude couldn’t crack France’s starting 11.

One bright spot for England:
Wayne Rooney is awesome.


Justin 06.14.04 at 3:29 am

Wayne Rooney is a PRICK.

Also, something must be done about the system of delivering tournaments. That one has to go to a bar (most of which have a $20 cover charge) to see such a major event is silly.


james 06.14.04 at 3:44 am

As I recall Bayern went on to lose the German Cup Final a few days later – very hard to recover from a blow like that.


james 06.14.04 at 3:50 am

btw I probably would have supported France anyway, but really, the way every team England plays has their anthem booed does pee me off, especially when its the Marseillaise (sp?).


Andrew Boucher 06.14.04 at 6:18 am

There were even some horn honkings in Paris at the end – an event usually reserved for qualifications, semi-finals matches or better.

Fortunately the children, whom I had convinced to root for England by singing New Order’s old World Cup song, had been packed off to bed at half-time.

At least in a really important sport L.A. dropped the fourth game to the Pistons.


Andrew Boucher 06.14.04 at 8:02 am

Now the oldest son informs me that, despite sitting on the English-supporter sofa all first half, he is really a French supporter.


reuben 06.14.04 at 10:22 am

Gutting, but hopefully England can do as Arsenal did during the Premiership: pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and look to their French superstar for inspiration.


From an immigrant’s perspective, there is so much to be fascinated by in English football. Just to name a few: the flag debate; English self-esteem (are you one of the great teams/nations, or merely middling?); the almost preternatural ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; and of course the quite unnerving (for Americans) lack of a comma in the phrase “Come on England”.

The never-ending drama and pathos seem only fitting for such a complex nation.


reuben 06.14.04 at 10:44 am

Another fascinating thing (in football in general, it seems) is the lack of professionalism when it comes to taking penalties.

For a penalty shootout, it seems so amateurish for the players on the pitch to basically decide amongst themselves who’s going to have a go, rather than the coach or captain choosing the most suitable five in the most suitable order.

And as for penalties in the match, why in the name of heavens should Beckham be taking them? For most of his career, he’s not been the one doing this for his squads – and now suddenly he does it for England, just because he’s the captain?! If at all possible, only strikers and goal-scoring midfielders should take penalties. And while Beckham may often be brilliant on set pieces and with his long crosses, he’s not a true goal scorer ala Frank Lampard or, of course, Zidane.

Admittedly, the England squad is a bit lacking in reliable penalty takers, but I would have opted for Lampard in the first instance and Vassel in the second.


NIGHTMARE 06.14.04 at 1:49 pm

If England draw against Switzerland (like their last two results 1-1 in 1998 and 1-1 in 1996), assuming France beat Croatia, France can deliberately lose to Switzerland to knock England out of the competition! Of course the French would not do that…!


Justin 06.14.04 at 3:11 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, Rueben, but didn’t Arsenal NOT LOSE A SINGLE GAME this year in the Premiership?


reuben 06.14.04 at 4:15 pm


I was referring to that truly terrible week when they lost to Man U to go out of the FA Cup and then to Chelsea at home to go out of the Champion’s League.

As you’ll recall, they then found themselves trailing Liverpool in their next Premiership match, but rallied to win in very convincing fashion.

It seems as though teams with Henry and Pires on them have pretty good luck coming from behind against teams with Heskey and Gerrard.

I am an Arsenal supporter, by the way, and blame the hapless Liverpudlians for England’s defeat.


P O'Neill 06.14.04 at 4:35 pm

Justin —

The $20 thing…I assume that you are referring to the price of the match broadcast in the US? If so, I regret to say that the culprits are Irish. You can click on my post ID to see more about the problem.


reuben 06.14.04 at 4:43 pm

You’d think the Irish would want to encourage as many people as possible to watch England go down in ignominious defeat. Perhaps they should start a new price structure (England matches only): games against poor teams, 20 bucks; games against the likes of France, free.


Thlayli 06.14.04 at 9:21 pm

Ahh, Setanta.

Euro ’96 was shown on ESPN. As much as footy types like to bitch about ESPN, it is basic cable. 2000 and this one have been snagged by the evil pay-per-view-ites.

The only “look on the bright side” for me is the smoking ban in NYC bars. There’s no way I could make it through this without it.


j gallo 06.15.04 at 3:50 am

The $20 issues has irked me for several tournaments now as well. A few years back a bar owner in DC who bought the Sentanta package explained that the cost to the establishment was based upon the the legal occupancy of the room in which the games were being broadcast (I don’t know how this number was calculated… fire code records perhaps). So for a bar with a main room that seats a calculated 100 patrons the owner would have to pay Sentanta 100 times X dollars in advance for the right to show the games. While I can see the benefit to the bar for a weekend England-France match that fills the place, I fail to see how they will make much money tomorrow, a work day, for Latvia-Czech Republic at 11, or even a match like Germany-Holland in the afternoon. In the end I guess their money in recouperated through dopes like me who don’t have the ability to order the match at home and who will spend five hours in a bar on a Tuesday contributing to their till.

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