Christof's Euro 2004 Diary

by / Thursday, 16 September 2004 / Published in FDFC News

FDFC Guv's best Euro 2004 XI

Goalkeeper Ricardo [Portugal]

Defenders Dellas [Greece], Kapsis [Greece], Campbell [England], Cole
[England]

Midfield: Zidane [France], Nedved [Czech Rep], Lampard [England], Ronaldo
[Portugal]

Forwards: Rooney [England], Baros [Czech Rep]

FDFC Guv's best and worst of Euro 2004

Best match of Euro 2004

Holland 2 – 3 Czech
Republic – just for sheer excitement and one of the greatest comebacks

Best Euro 2004 goal

Winner: Henrik Larsson – a
flying header for Sweden against Bulgaria

Runner-up: Marek Heinz – a free
kick for Czech Rep against Germany

Best improvisation of Euro 2004

Zinedine Zidane
– a side-back flip from a poor corner for France against Croatia which
unfortunately didn't result in a goal

Best save of Euro 2004

Thomas Sorensen – a
double-stop for Denmark against Italy

Worst goalkeeping blunder of Euro 2004

James
for England against France – froze to the spot against Zinedine Zidane's free
kick

Best penalty of Euro 2004

Ricardo – Portugal
against England

Worst penalties of Euro 2004

Winner: David
Beckham v Portugal

Runner-up: David Beckham v France

Worst excuse of Euro 2004

Beckham blaming the
penalty spot with gestures

Biggest surprise of Euro 2004

Winner: Greece
winning the tournament – what else?!

Runner-up: Ricardo saving a penalty
without gloves!

Most disappointing team of Euro
2004

Germany

Biggest Euro 2004 villains

Spiteful spitters
Francesco Totti [Italy] and Alexander Frei [Switzerland]

Most predictable result of Euro 2004

Sweden 2 –
2 Denmark

Worst Euro 2004 refereeing decisions

Winner:
Urs Meier over-ruling Campbell's legitimate goal

Runner-up Mike Riley
refusing Latvia a penalty against Germany

Best Euro 2004 referee

Pierluigi Collina –
there really is only one Pierluigi Collina. Authority and respect demonstrated
throughout ninety minutes every match even as a fourth official. I never saw one
footballer dared argue with him. Did you?

Worst Euro 2004 press question

[Asked to Czech
boss Karel Bruckner after semi-final defeat]

“Did you think the silver goal
was the decisive moment of the match?”

Best Euro 2004 answer to press

[Portugal boss
Scolari was asked if he was lucky with substitutions against England]

“Yes, I
suppose I was lucky. Like I was lucky with the substitutions when I won the
World Cup. And like I was lucky with the substitutions when I won 16 trophies in
Brazil. I guess I must be a lucky manager.”

Best stadium of Euro 2004

Design-wise: Dragao
stadium, Porto

Atmosphere-wise Bessa stadium, Porto

Best Euro 2004 look-alikes

Pavel Nedved /
Patrick Swayze and Paul Scholes

Luis Felipe Scolari / Gene Hackman

Most understanding Euro 2004 girlfriend & best
tea-maker

Michelle

Peter Kenyon award for transfer failures

Peter
Kenyon

Best ever European Championships

Euro 2004

Saturday 12th June – 'The Beginning of the
Beginning'

Turned down a couple of party invitations to watch the opening match of Euro
2004. Alistair [Wright] arrived in good time for the opening match.

Portugal 1 – 2 Greece

Stelios Giannakopoulos is quite
literally the biggest name in the squad [thank goodness for cut and paste]!

Helder Postiga's surname was brilliantly wrongly subtitled as “post letter”
probably because it was pronounced with such disbelief!

The opening match certainly was but will Euro 2004 going to be a tournament
full of surprises just like the World Cup 2002?

Spain 1 – 0 Russia

The TV shone brighter in the darkening
room with deaf ears [i.e. eyes] fixated on Raul to score purely to read the
subtitles of the excited commentator yelling “…and Raul kisses his ring in
celebration!”

Vadim Yevseev' is a name worth a lot in scrabble but unfortunately names are
not allowed in scrabble!

Last minute packing and I was ready for bed at midnight for the 4am
alarm!

Sunday 13th June – 'Kicked in the Gauls'

After a quick stop over at Madrid for a G&B [grub and beer] Alistair and
I landed at Porto early afternoon. Three minutes of checking into our
'temporary' hotel and unpacking we were propping up the nearest bar next
door!

After a short walk around the city of Porto to get our bearings, we settled
on the square where there was a build up of international fans in their home
colours. Eleven hours after my alarm clock set off back in London, we settled
down onto the hard concrete to watch the two Euro 2004 matches of the day…

Switzerland 0 – 0 Croatia

Hakan Yakin recently left his
girlfriend three months after the birth of their daughter, while his older
brother Murat found a new partner not long after his girlfriend of nine years
committed suicide by jumping off the Basle Tower.

So with their popularity with women soaring high [literally in the case of
Marat's partner], there is little surprise that their joint autobiography is
titled the way it is… “Die Yakins”!

The Croatian name Darijo Srna may look like the result of his birth
certificate being filled in by a dyslexic [how many consonants in a row?], but
the youngster is showing lots of promise at Shakhtar Donetsk, where Ukrainian
football is growing as big as the tomatoes near Chernobyl.

The country of Switzerland has the world's lowest fertility rate among women
at 1.5. Unfortunately for Switzerland, their strikers produced the same
performance.

France 2 – 1 England

Unbelievably, the French FA allowed
coach Jacques Santini to sign for Spurs on 1st July, even though the Euro 2004
final is on the 4th. Does this reek of confidence from the French FA, I ask
you?

I was pleased to learn that girlfriends, wives and Rebecca Loos had been
banned from visiting the England hotel during the group games, whilst a night
watchman has been hired to stop Gary Neville and David Beckham room-sharing.

For eighty-nine minutes I screamed and shouted at the big screen cheering
England on. At 1 – 0 up, the game was there for the taking and no, I don't need
to tell you about the French wizard Zinedine Zidane's double in the last minute
of injury time!

Bl**dy French – first it was frog legs and snails, then the channel tunnel
and now ZZ but hey they did produce the greatest ever footballer in King Eric
Cantona!

Managed to stagger to my hotel to bed after midnight with no recollection of
how I did it!

Monday 14th June – 'Was the Slow Pizza a Sign of Things to
Come for Italy?'

Denmark 0 – 0 Italy

After dragging myself out of my
deathbed [ok ok, it was my sickbed] we travelled to Guimarães on a train packed
of horny Danes easily outnumbering the oily Italians. Slept out my 'sudden
mysterious illness' from the night before only to be woken up by a Portuguese
cameraman on the train poking the camera in my face, doing a recording for the
news!

Having arrived at Guimarães station, I walked along with the stream of horns
in a sea of red and whites towards Guimarães stadium waving to the hairy-chinned
Portuguese old ladies who leaned out of their kitchen windows. They waved in
wonder, thinking that the Vikings had invaded their beautiful little sweet
town!

Saw a popular pizza place and ordered a pizza as you do. Three hours before
kick off became two hours and a half. Two hours became an hour and half with no
sign of a pizza! On my seventh complaint to the not-so-wonderful catering staff
and manager, I got a refund and just managed to get to my seat fifteen minutes
before kick off with whatever grub I could find inside the stadium!

Despite the final score-line, it was an excellent match with a tense finish
by both teams in a deadlock to share the spoils.

Returning to Guimarães station with the majority of the 30K crowd, Alistair
and I were disappointed to find there were no extra trains laid out for us back
to Porto with the next train scheduled two hours away with the last train to
follow an hour after that train! After a cat-and-mouse chase with the police,
most of us managed to make the usually half-empty train look like the London
underground during peak hours for our hour-and-quarter trip back to Porto!

Sweden 5 – 0 Bulgaria

Zlatan Ibrahimovic sounds as
Swedish as 'Cajun Chicken'! I was surprised to see him allowed into Portugal
especially after last year when he caused a security alert at an airport after
he asked guards if they had, “found my gun.”

Missed the game due to the packed-like-sardines journey back to Porto and
'strained' myself to watch the highlights on Portuguese TV, after stumbling
across an X-rated channel by accident!

Bulgarian Zdravko Zdravkov, born of imaginative parents, was unable to stop
the rampant Swedes and Hinrik Larson's header was an early nomination for goal
of the tournament.

Tuesday 15th June – 'I've been tangoed'

Walked seven kilometres from our hotel to the awesome Dragao stadium, home to
Porto the 2004 European Cup Winners and treble winners. What was different about
this walk was that my hair was paint sprayed in orange in support of the Dutch!
Unfortunately several Dutch supporters said hello to me [or so I assume!] in
their language [which was all double-Dutch to me] and I had to explain I was
from London, England on a mission to support anyone against the Germans!
Thankfully I was welcomed into the orange-orange Dutch clan!

Czech Rep 2 – 1 Latvia

A great come back from my dark
horses wager for the semi finals the Czech Rep, against surprise qualifiers
Latvia, was watched inside Dragao stadium on the big screen. Unfortunately ten
minutes from time some idiot decided to turn on the countdown clock to the
Germany – Holland game from one hour downwards!

Apparently the cost of Olegs Blagonadezdin's team shirt is more than the
entire value of the Latvian squad!

Germany 1 – 1 Holland

This classic clash of the
'heavyweights' match started with Germany going ahead on the half-hour mark and
the sea of orange around the ground fell silent.

Rafael van der Vaart
[you have to chuckle every time the TV commentators mispronounce his surname!] played in a more central role in feeding the Dutch horse [Ruud van
Nistelrooy].

Sebastian Schweinsteiger must be the biggest Schwein [swine] in the
squad!

Edgar Davids looked like he was here to sunbathe with his dazzling sunglasses
[I can never quite work out if they are glasses or goggles!] and was rightly
substituted at half-time. Marc Overmars brought the best out of Oliver Kahn with
a snappy shot before Pierre van Hooijdonk later added height to the Dutch
attack. Van Nistelrooy earned an extra bale of hay with a clever finish to level
the match.

This outstanding Dragao stadium rate as one of the best
football stadiums I have ever visited in the world. In my experience, I put it
in the top three.

After four showers to rinse out the orange paint out of my hair at midnight,
I settled to watch the highlights on TV before dozing off.

Wednesday 16th June – 'Upgraded scenery'

'Upgraded' to another hotel [in reality we had to book two hotels due to the
shortages of rooms in Porto!]. Upon arriving at the five stars Le Meridien Park
Atlantic hotel on Avenida da Boavista, I had to rub my eyes when we checked in
next to Stuart Pearce, the former Nottingham Forest and England international
footballer [now Assistant Manager at Manchester City].

My eyes were rubbed further upon seeing our hotel room where there was enough
room to swing an elephant, let alone a cat! Equipped with a bathroom big enough
to hold the entire England women's squad [one can always dream!] and a mini bar,
we were all set for the reminder of our stay in Porto!

Upon returning to the foyer at the front of the Le Meridien we was alarmed
yet pleased to learn the UEFA were basing their headquarters at the three
Portuguese Le Meridien hotels including the very one we were in!

I was fortunate to use my street-wise skills and charm in confusing the UEFA
officials into giving me a copy of their UEFA Events Manual that contained all
the details of Euro 2004 including quite confidential information! Like where
all the teams were staying during Euro 2004 and how to get a replacement UEFA
pass!

Rather worrying when you consider I could've easily been a terrorist. Don't
you agree?

After the finest cup of coffee in Porto, we walked to the Bessa stadium for
the Greece v Spain match that took no more than five minutes as it was round the
corner!

Greece 1 – 1 Spain

A useless fact just to show off the
meaningless information I have in my head but to be brutally honest the word
Spain means “the land of rabbits.” I see you all signing, “why”?

Why? I don't know. Just don't bombard me with your ideas over email!

The game resulted in a third draw after our previous two matches were also
draws. On reflection, it was not a bad thing especially when you think about
some matches being “over” when at 3 – 0 up so all our matches were keenly
contested for a full ninety minutes.

After a five minutes walk, we were back inside the Le Meridien foyer! After
ditching my camera and money-belt, we returned to the foyer to watch the second
match of the day with a huge turn out from the home fans inside our hotel. [I
didn't need my money-belt as I could sign everything to our room number and pay
for it later – how swanky is that?]

Beer proved to be difficult and slow to order even at this five-star Le
Meridien foyer what with the waiters' and barmen's eyes fixated onto the big
screen pinning their hopes on Portugal winning to have any hope of qualifying
for the quarter finals!

Russia 0 – 2 Portugal

Russia's bizarre display of
support for their team in Euro 2004 was done with a selection of the Russian
squad allowing their wives to be photographed semi-nude with a large photo of
their husbands covering their bits. This was done in the hope of inspiring the
Russian public to support their team to Euro 2004 success, after which they
would discard them. [The photos, not the husbands].

http://www.kp.ru/slide/detail/35/

Unfortunately it didn't work with Portugal outnumbering their opponents in
the stadium easily!

After the 89th minute Rui Costa's goal prodded home from Cristiano Ronaldo's
left cross that made the game safe, it got easier to order a few beers without
having to sign for them!

I departed to my room for the night with a huge temptation to order an
elephant from reception just to see if there was actually enough room to swing
one around my room!

Thursday 17th June – 'Catch me if
you can!'

Reading the morning English papers in the Le Meridien foyer, I noticed
several airline pilots captains arriving at the Le Meridien reception with
several air stewardesses in tow. That made me reminisce of the film 'Catch Me If
You Can' wondering if these pilots were real pilots!

Although not a pilot myself, I suddenly felt like a fake inside this swanky
five-star hotel as if I was Frank Abagnale [played by Leonardo DiCaprio] just
waiting to be caught out!

Perhaps I was in fear of the receptionist [who by the way looked suspiciously
like the FBI agent Carl Hanratty played by Tom Hanks] approaching me to inform
me that I was at the wrong hotel and should have checked in at the two-star 'Le
Miserables' down the road!

Better go and double check my hotel details, I thought!

Pressed the 'up' arrow on the wall for the lift, three old stooges came up
behind me. The lift arrived, doors opened and I walked in, turned round and
gasped silently inside my head…

One of the 'old codgers' turned out to be no one else but the legendary UEFA
President Lennart Johansson, right in the lift next to me and what an
opportunity to network with someone so high up the football ladder. The lift
doors closed.

Thinking fast for something high-brow and football-related to talk about to
break the ice, I was beaten by the lift doors opening again right at the next
floor [obviously he was too old for the stairs!].

In a desperate attempt to 'mingle', I half-croaked “Alwight mate” to Mr.
Johansson as he departed through the lift doors! He never even acknowledged me
in the slightest or perhaps he was a little hard-of-hearing and missed his
opportunity to meet the Fulham Deaf FC Manager.

Yes, I think I prefer the latter! Why on earth didn't I say, “It has been a
good start to the tournament, hasn't it Mr. Johansson?”

Easy to say with hindsight, isn't it!

http://www.euro2004.com/News/Kind=1/newsId=190074.html

England 3 – 0 Switzerland

Bernt Hass [a Swiss footballer] – still makes me chuckle at the thought of the commentators saying that name out
on TV! Need I say more?

I was delighted to watch my country that I was born in overcome the country
my parents were born in! If you ever wondered where I got my name from – you
know now!

From here, England just needed a draw to progress into the quarter finals but
I am confident we won't play for a draw against Croatia.

Croatia 2 – 2 France

I thought Marcel Desailly was on his
last legs [but I won't ask Ron Atkinson to add to that!] as he was obviously at
fault for Croatia's second goal.

Croatia played exceptionally well to come back from 0 – 1 down at half time
to lead 2 – 1 after fifteen minutes into the second half. Personally I was
disappointed Zinedine Zidane's free kick in the first half, which was ruled to
be an own goal, and not ZZ's because I had a bet on him each way at 80/1 to be
the tournament top goal scorer. So if he come in the top four, I'll win over
£80! Still early days though and he is up there amongst the top scorers!

Croatia coach Otto Baric exclaimed after the match, “Of course, sex is not
forbidden, after every match in Portugal, players will be given a full day off
and will be able to see their wives and girlfriends.”

Between you and me
it just sounds like a lot of work alternating between your wife and your
girlfriend!

Friday 18th June – 'National Scandinavians
Day'

Rode on the bus to the beach to get a little bit of the glorious hot
Portuguese sun. After a good half-hour ride and after another twenty minutes of
a good search, I found a nice clean spot [if truth be told, I was looking for
the spot where all the page three beauties hung out but there was none!].

Threw down my king size towel on loan from the Le Meridien, read the English
papers only for the clouds to overcast the sun completely after less than
fifteen minutes.

Suddenly it felt like chilly Scandinavian weather or so it seemed while only
in my shorts against the waves!

Put on shirt in the hope of the clouds disappearing just as quickly as they
came in.

Gave up after ten minutes with no sign of blue skies or wind! Got the bus
back into town and did some sightseeing instead before watching the first half
of the first Scandinavian game today.

Bulgaria 0 – 2 Denmark

Denmark did the business in this
group C match with Jesper Gronkjaer's controlled shot for the second goal to
kill this game off.

Gronkjaer had received a noisy welcome from the Danish and neutral fans as he
joined the squad late because of the death of his mother.

On my way to the Dragao stadium, I stumbled across the Swedish team coach and
decided to risk it to take some pictures of the team as they boarded the coach.
It was an hour-long wait but after making friends with the police outside the
hotel, they allowed me on top of the wall to get a better angle for my
camera.

Amazingly they left the hotel at 6.15pm – only an hour and half before kick
off but then they did have a police escort for the coach to rush it through
traffic!

Unfortunately I did not have a police escort for my bus and I managed to
crawl into the stadium with less than ten minutes to kick off! Still no harm
done except I was in the crowded bus with no air conditioning squashed next to
one of those hairy chinned Portuguese old ladies, obviously one who escaped from
her kitchen window!

They do say, “football has a price…” – hmm, not sure about that one!

Italy 1 – 1 Sweden

A great shame that Francesco Totti
started his three-match suspension for gross unsporting misconduct after
spitting at Denmark's Christian Poulsen.

Totti is another star that shares many similarities with David Beckham. They
both provide the heartbeat to their team; both have daft haircuts; Totti
endorsed a joke book all about himself, whilst Beckham did the same but called
it his 'Autobiography'.

A late clever back heel lob goal into the top right hand corner from Zlatan
Ibrahimovic earned Sweden a draw and put a major dent in Italy's Euro 2004
hopes.

Again the atmosphere inside this fantastic stadium was magnificent although
it was that much more special between Holland and Germany only three days ago, I
guess because of the intense rivalry between the two countries!

The Germany football team arrived at the Le Meridien where we were staying!
An emergency meeting was called between Alistair and myself to debate on whether
to set the fire alarm off or not at 4am!

Saturday 19th June – 'The Beginning of the End'

A real buzz arose inside Le Meridien with the knowledge the German team would
depart for their 5.00 pm match direct from the hotel. Inside the Le Meridien
residents began to gather inside the foyer while the supporters grew in
abundance outside Le Meridien.

Many famous football-related people – UEFA officials, German officials
[including a very obese chairman], ex-players [e.g. Helmet Haller – scorer of
Germany's first goal in the 1966 World Cup Final against England at Wembley],
ex-managers [such as Jozef Venglos – ex-Aston Villa manager 1990/91] were
hanging around the reception area.

After much anticipation and excitement, the players finally emerged from the
elevators, some stopping to sign for autographs for the little German kids
dressed in Lederhosen.

After several clicks with my digital camera at close up, we proceeded to walk
the short distance to Bessa stadium as if popping out for milk!

Latvia 0 – 0 Germany

Latvian striker Maris Verpakovskis
produced the highlight of the match with a scorching run in the first half just
before half time. However Germany's Oliver Kahn saved his weak shot.

Striker Kevin Kuranyi doesn't sound or look like the most typical German, and
that's because he's not! The twenty-two years old was born in Brazil to a German
father and a Panamanian mother and so Germany will be hoping that he doesn't
have the Samba style of a German, the hat-making skills of a Brazilian and the
football talent of a Panamanian then!

Latvia continued to frustrate Germany in the second half and held firm to the
end to record their first ever tournament point. Latvia could have won it if
they had not squandered their breakaway chances and even had two good penalty
appeals turned down.

Holland 2 – 3 Czech Rep

No doubt the match of the
tournament so far! What a gaaaaame!

Holland went 2 – 0 up with goals in the third and the nineteenth minute only
for the Czech Rep to fight back to win 3 – 2 in the end with the winning goal
scored two minutes from the end.

Pavel Nedved, who looks like the love-child of Patrick Swayze and Paul
Scholes was awesome in midfield. Nedved produced a thirty-five yard screamer
what came crashing back into play after rattling the crossbar.

Holland has been classified by the European Community as “manure surplus”
regions because they produce more than their land can absorb. Quite a suitable
classification as they did play like horse shit in the second half!

Germany checked out of the Le Meridien quickly after their game against
Latvia – gee I wonder why?!

Sunday 20th June – 'Ole ole, it is all over for
Espania!'

Missed the last two Group A matches what with the dreadful uncertainty in
Madrid airport after our connecting flight was delayed by two hours. I knew
there would be no or very little chance to watch the matches live so I binged
out at the tax-free shops and bought myself a Real Madrid football key-ring for
€6!

The John McEnroe's autobiography “Serious” proved to be a life-saver in
killing time! Yes, I'm serious it did! [I just couldn't resist that one!]

The pilot [who could either have been Spanish or Portuguese] made up for time
in the air, which meant we landed only just under an hour late instead of the
anticipated two hours. There was still hope I could make the end of the second
half of the matches!

After a mad dash home and quick kiss & cuddle with Michelle, I managed to
catch the dying moments of this match that saw the hosts scrape through into the
quarter finals.

Spain 0 – 1 Portugal

Luis Figo's acute crafted flick
found Nuno Gomes in space and Gomes worked the ball on to his right foot to bury
a twenty-yard shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the Spanish goal.

Despite a Spain fight-back, Portugal held on, leaving Spain to ponder yet
another premature exit from a major tournament.

I had just returned from both these countries departing Porto with a
changeover at Madrid – strange coincidence!

Russia 2 – 1 Greece

Dmitri Kirichenko steered a shot home after 68 seconds to record
the quickest goal in the history of the competition but Greece still went
through in second place because Spain didn't draw against Portugal which was the
minimum Spain needed to progress.

After several cups of tea and boring Michelle of my Euro 2004 adventures in
Porto, I managed to get to bed not at the early-ish hour of 2.30am!

'The rest of Euro 2004'

Monday 21st June

Back at work at sunny Islington, watched the clock
painfully ticking away at breathtaking snail pace before tonight's England v
Croatia's match! We all know what “roo-lly” happened don't we?

England 4 – 2 Croatia

Watched the game at the STEP Launch
Party at the Park Lane Hotel at Piccadilly [cannot stay away from five-star
hotels, can I?!]. Almost choked on my aperitif when Croatia went 1-0 up but the
almighty roars for England's four goals more than made up for the earlier
hiccup!

Switzerland 1 – 3 France

A shame France nudged to the top
of the table after winning this as I truly believe England would have been
better off facing Greece in the quarters [with hindsight – maybe not!].

Monday 21st June

Italy 2 – 1 Bulgaria

Go home Italy –
and good riddance to you divers!

Denmark 2 – 2 Sweden

Both teams was instantly awarded my 'Most predictable result of
Euro 2004' award.

Wednesday 23 June

Holland 3 – 0 Latvia

Holland were
delighted at ripping up their early return tickets!

Germany 1 – 2 Czech R

Germany checked out of Portugal
altogether!

Quarter-finals

Thursday 24 June –
Portugal 2 – 2 England AET – Portugal won 6 – 5 on penalties

Watched at the
Angel pub in Old Street and the journey home was a total
nightmare.

Friday 25 June – France 0 – 1 Greece

Greece cheered me up
after my last night nightmare!

Saturday 26 June- Sweden 0 – 0 Holland AET – Holland won 5 – 4 on
penalties

Thrilling ending although the match itself was not a thriller.

Sunday 27 June – Czech Rep 3 – 0 Denmark

Expected resounding victory for
the Czech Rep. Good bye to the Vikings!

Semi-finals

Wednesday 30 June – Portugal 2 – 1 Holland

Holland were pretty Edam
cheesed off after the match!

Thursday 1 July – Greece 1 – 0 Czech Rep – Greece won on the silver goal rule

Unbelievable again!

Final

Sunday 4 July – Portugal 0-1 Greece

The biggest anti-climax and yet
biggest shock ever to happen in a European Championships in living memory.

Greece proved it was not stunning 30-yard goals, overhead kicks or dribbling
past six players to score a stunning unbelievable goal to win matches. They knew
their own limits, played to their strengths [and other team weaknesses] and won
all their knockout matches by 1 – 0.

Final Thoughts on
Euro 2004:

Once again I am an orphan of football.

Until the
8th August anyway! [FA Charity Shield in case you are wondering!]

Already the “you remember…” Euro 2004 anecdotes have begun.

France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Portugal, England, Czech Rep and even Germany,
Sweden, Denmark, Croatia, Russia were nominated as possible winners of Euro
2004. [Okay, Switzerland, Bulgaria or Latvia weren't!]

They thought it would be all over from the beginning…

…but we know better now!

Not even one of the ancient Greece's greatest philosophers – take your pick
from Epictetus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras – could have
philosophised Greece to be the eventual Euro 2004 champions.

Nostradamus didn't fare better either only limiting himself to prophets about
Hitler or John F. Kennedy!

It has been an incredible experience watching this particular football
tournament. Not because Greece won it but whereas I experienced the football
close up in Portugal instead from entirely behind the TV screen.

It has been a blast doing my Euro 2004 diary and pictures for fulhamdfc.com.
I only hope the fulham.com regulars will enjoy the diary half as much as I
enjoyed Euro 2004.

Thank you to the sport of football for being the most gut-wrenching,
complete, frustrating, unpredictable, wonderful, exciting sport I know you to
be.

Over and out.

FDFC Guv

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