Euro 08 malarkey...

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So none of the home nations qualified, still, what a tournament from start to finish. And it’s been pretty great to see a team who actually throw caution to the wind win the thing. Combined with Manchester United’s double hopefully it’ll persuade managers that negativity isn’t a necessity. Anyway, here at the FSF we’re always looking for a way to (legitimately!) waste an hour or two, so thought we’d pull together a few bits and bobs on Euro 08. If you disagree with any of our choices please email someone else about it, cheers!

EURO 08 XI

Gianluigi Buffon – amazing penalty save, and a neckerchief. Could you imagine Paul Robinson pulling either of those off?

Phillip Lahm – Torres skinned him on Sunday. But his goal in the Semi’s against Turkey will live long in the memory. And we know he plays left-back normally, but he’s right-footed so we’ll play him where we like.

Yuri Zhirkov – not just the best left-back in the tournament but pronounce his name wrongly and see the smirks…

Giorgio Chiellini – he’s no Cannavarro, but looked like a true great when compared to the walking red card that is Marco Materazzi.

Carlos Puyol – proof that you can have silly hair and be a hardman.

Wesley Sneijder – just nips it ahead of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who we almost picked, purely for the fact his name translates as ‘pig climber’. Although to be fair he had a good tournament as well.

Andrei Arshavin – only played three games out of Russia’s five. And was totally anonymous in one of those, but how good was he against Holland?

Marcos Senna – played the ‘Makelele role’ for Spain brilliantly. Although going off Makelele’s woeful displays they’ll soon be calling it the ‘Senna role’. Genuine shout for Player of the Tournament.

Michael Ballack – poor lad, lost another final. Almost single-handedly dragged Germany there at times though, so we’ll let him in. Consolation indeed.

David Villa – Torres gets the glory for his superbly taken winner against Germany but don’t forget Villa ended as the tournaments top scorer. Ruthless.

Roman Pavlyuchenko – scored three and could (should?) have had more. It’s not just England he can destroy.

Honourable mentions to the Turkish team as well as Iniesta, Xavi, Ramos, Torres… all of the Spanish side actually.

While we obviously enjoyed the football on offer there were also quite a few lookalikes on show, too many for us to include here actually. You can do a bit of the Google legwork yourself if you fancy it. But a few choice cuts were Roberto Donadoni and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips (one for the hipper readers that), Lord Percy from Blackadder and Ricardo Carvalho and for those of a more literary bent how about Gianluigi Buffon and Will Self? Marvellous.

But our favourite goes to Vernon from Corrie and Mauro Camoranesi…

And it wasn’t just lookalikes that caught our eye either. A few clips that may be of interest, Rafael Van Der Vaart makes a case for a brilliantly obvious pun on his name. You wouldn’t want to spend time on the Dutch bench. Urgh.

We also noticed in the papers that Jens Lehmann is quoted as blasting the final referee as arrogant, the irony isn’t lost on us. He also seems to have conveniently forgotten that he could have been sent off for handling outside the area. And we always thought he was such a reasonable chap. 

To sign off I suppose we should pick our goal of the tournament. There’s been some corkers (although nothing to match Van Basten’s effort from 1988) including Ibrahimovic’s rocket against Greece, as well as numerous efforts from the Dutch. But our favourite, for it’s subtlety, was probably Schweinsteiger’s deftest of touches against the Turks, four minutes into this clip.

Great stuff.

Roll on 2010!