Euro 2016: Who’s in the Shop Window?

Euro 2016: Who’s in the Shop Window?

by | Jun 2, 2016 | Blog, Football, Euro 2016

All eyes will be on France this summer as Europe’s best players touch down for Euro 2016. The 24 competing nations have just announced the squads they hope will lead them to victory in what looks set to be one of the most fiercely competitive tournaments in recent years. The Euros are likely to play a major role in the summer transfer window, with clubs all over Europe keeping a beady eye on proceedings in a bid to bolster their squads. More money is changing hands than ever before between Europe’s top clubs. Last season Premier League spending on transfers topped £1 billion for the first time. This may have been fuelled by the record £5.14 billion Premier League TV rights deal signed by Sky and BT last year. With this in mind, some players will be vying to put themselves in the shop window in the hope of a big money move to a new club. We’ve taken a look at some of the players to watch out for at Euro 2016. Álvaro Morata   The 23-year-old Spanish striker moved to Juventus from Real Madrid in 2014, and has noticeably matured in Italy. Whilst Morata’s overall scoring record is modest, in the past year he’s scored in both legs of a Champions League semi-final, a Champions League final and a Coppa Italia final. Few doubt he has the talent and potential to to be a top-class striker, and he’s already had ‘tempting’ offers from Premier League clubs. From June 1 Real Madrid have the option to buy Morata back for €30million. This is expected to start a bidding...
Toulouse – La Ville Rose: A city guide

Toulouse – La Ville Rose: A city guide

Toulouse has much to offer everyone, whether you are a sports fan, history buff or wine connoisseur! Visiting the Pink City seems to be the easiest thing in the world. Just jump on the flight at London Gatwick and about two hours later you will find yourself at a modern airport suitable for a city the size of London. The first thing you will notice on arrival in Toulouse are the Belugas. No, not the marine mammal; that would be ridiculous. Looking like a massive metal dolphin, the Beluga is an Airbus cargo plane. Toulouse is not just famous for being one of the EURO 2016 hosting cities; it is also a renowned city of science and well known for its professional rugby team. What’s in Toulouse? If your travel comrades don’t happen to be keen on whoever will be getting through to the quarter-finals, there’s still a reason for them to travel along. There’s so much to do there! Toulouse’s aviation museum “Aeroscopia” offers displays of the famous Concorde and many other air vehicles, while the Airbus factory presents the exciting chance to see how planes are built. The interactive aerospace museum Cité de l’espace showcases the Mir space ship (that was used for training), real satellites, an IMAX cinema (showing different films about space) and so much more. In addition to this, Toulouse boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Canal du Midi and the Basilica of St Sernin. If that doesn’t do it for you then the countless châteaus offering wine tastings and restaurants with brilliant French food should do the trick! The buzz in the city The Pink City is definitely buzzing with...
1966 and all that – is football success coming home?

1966 and all that – is football success coming home?

“50 YEARS OF HURT….. NEVER STOP ME DREAMING” Remember Frank Skinner and David Baddiel’s  England anthem “Football’s Coming Home” from 1996? It features the infamous line “30 years of hurt never stopped me dreaming”. Well,  it’s “50 years of hurt” now! England fans are still hurting, and their dreams of tournament success have faded as the failures pile up. It’s 50 years since the England football team won a major tournament but can we dare to dream of glory again in EURO2016? It has been a year of shocks in the Barclays Premier League with Leicester sitting at the top of the table after almost being relegated last season and the reigning champions Chelsea languishing in the bottom half. Remember when Denmark came off the beach to win EURO’92?  When Greece beat Portugal in their back yard to win the EURO title in 2004? Football is full or surprises, that’s for certain – don’t write off England just yet. “50 YEARS OF HURT….NEVER STOP ME DREAMING” England have a young team with some great emerging stars. Dele Alli, Ross Barkley and Harry Kane, in particular, are a trio of talent that may well come into their own in the summer. It’s possible that, for once, a lack of expectation on the part of England fans and the media may help the team by relieving the usual pressures that we traditionally pile on them prior to a tournament. Imagine if England were in a final or even in a semi-final (how many of us serial sufferers would settle for that!) and the excitement that would exude across the nation at home and on the road...
What were the highlights from the Euro 2016 draw?

What were the highlights from the Euro 2016 draw?

It’s been an autumn of ups and downs for international football. The repercussions of the FIFA bribery scandal continue to emerge, casting a long shadow over the sport’s reputation and damaging public faith in the beautiful game. However, the conclusion of the Euro 2016 qualifiers saw four home-nation sides heading to France – the largest contingent of teams from the British Isles since 1958 – and gave cause for real optimism. As last Saturday’s draw came to a close we could stop pinching ourselves, and start looking forward to the tournament – and it looks set to be an absolute cracker, too. Read on for our main highlights from the Euro 2016 draw. England vs Wales: A battle of Britain The group stage clash that has gained the most attention in the media is the Group B grudge match between England and Wales in Lens on 16th June. Wales’ meteoric rise over the last few years has been staggering. In just four years they have risen from well outside the world’s top 100 to inside the top ten earlier this year, and above England. No mean feat. The likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have galvanised a Welsh side that are riding a wave of confidence going into next summer’s tournament. Before the draw, Wales manager Chris Coleman stated he’d prefer to avoid England in the groups, regarding the “Battle of Britain” game as a possible “distraction” to his preparations. He reasserted this on Saturday evening, saying “We would have wanted to avoid it, but we look forward to it.” However, his view isn’t shared by either Ramsey...
Euro 2016: The countdown to France begins now

Euro 2016: The countdown to France begins now

More than 100,000 fans, possibly double that, will head from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to France for the European Championships. Some will make short trips, taking in one game, flying in and out, or making Eurostar dashes, but others will stay longer, touring a beautiful country. France’s famous vineyards will be visited and drained. Attending a tournament is a joy on many levels. There is the drama of the games themselves, the hope and expectation, and frequent frustration. England will expect to qualify from their group, and anything less than reaching the quarter-finals will ensure some painful headlines for Roy Hodgson. He has the experience of Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart and the youth of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Chris Smalling and John Stones to call upon. If England can keep the ball and keep their cool, they could surprise a few people, even if France, Germany and Spain are deserved favourites.   Alli’s emergence is particularly exciting as he gives England a box-to-box force and an eye for goal and a tackle. His irrepressible character will help ease the tension that can build up off the field. The teenager showed against France at Wembley that he can impose himself on opponents.   Northern Ireland will play with unbelievable passion for the shirt, proving so much more than the sum of their parts, and could provide an upset. Gareth Bale will be a threat to opposing defences, and teams’ fixation with the Wales attacker may gift some space for Aaron Ramsey. Ashley Williams is the type of strong,...