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What we've been enjoying about the 2008 tournament...

What we're liking

Week 1

The Balls a great nod back to the good old days. Nice one UEFA.

Slaven Bilic great character, great passion. And he's not doing too bad for a rookie manager.

Van Basten's Ball Control The Dutch gaffer tries to control the ball in the Holland-Italy game and ends up falling in a bag.

The Stadiums on paper they're not very big, but on the telebox they all look strangely large. Are they tricking us ? Is it being done with mirrors ?

The Atmosphere 90% of the games have had a really good atmosphere to them. And despite the limitations of their teams, both host nations got behind their teams.

Week 2

Guus Hiddink after the Spanish thrashing no-one gave Russia much of a chance of qualifying from the group, but the wily Dutch gaffer has kept the Russians together and his decision to bring Arshavin, despite him being banned for the first 2 games, paid dividends against the Swedes.

Slaven Bilic great character, great passion. And he's not doing too bad for a rookie manager.

Van Basten's Ball Control The Dutch gaffer tries to control the ball in the Holland-Italy game and ends up falling in a bag.

The Stadiums on paper they're not very big, but on the telebox they all look strangely large. Are they tricking us ? Is it being done with mirrors ?

The Atmosphere 90% of the games have had a really good atmosphere to them. And despite the limitations of their teams, both host nations got behind their teams.

Week 3

Fatih Terim - his antics on the touchline are mint, and only bettered by his teams late comebacks.

What we're not liking

Week 1

The Portuguese FA what the hell were they thinking, letting the Scolari/Chelsea news out mid tournament ?

The British Media's Obsession with Cristiano 'the best player in the World' Ronaldo it's as if they didn't realise that there were going to be other players there with talent.

Match of the Day pundits (Martin O'Neill excepted) their topics of conversation in each show:
      1) Ronaldo .
      2) All games involving non-big teams with players they haven't heard of will be rubbish.
      3) Scolari (after the news broke about Chelsea).
      4) Picking on some unfortunate defender who makes a mistake and then pathetically slaughtering them. Don't they remember Wayne Bridge against Croatia? Where was the mocking tone then? And let's not forget Lee Dixon belittling Owen Hargreaves before the 2006 World Cup and then having to watch as the Bayern Munich midfielder performed heroics alongside his over-rated team-mates.

That lad who sometimes presents Match of the Day His name is Jack or Jake or something. How's he landed this plum role ? We've seen him on Football Focus and he does the same thing on that - he reads the autocues well but gives the impression he knows nothing about football. There was a 30 second horror show early in the tournament when Gordon Strachan bamboozled him with the line "yeah, I'll go along with that Jake, you look like a nice honest lad." and it looked for a moment or two as if he might burst into tears.

The Best Matches

Week 1

Holland 4:1 France Group C

Holland 3:0 Italy Group C

Croatia 2:1 Germany Group B

Spain 4:1 Russia Group D

Italy 1:1 Romania Group C

Week 2

Turkey 3:2 Czech Republic Group A - Fantastic comeback from the Turks, even at 2 down they looked like they could get back into it, although the Czech's will rue that golden opportunity to make it 3:0. A game that sums up what this tournament is all about - even a game that didn't look to appealing turns into a classic.

Russia 2:0 Sweden Group D - The return of Andrei Arshavin marks a real return to form for the Russians as they sweep aside the Lagerback lads with an impressive display of stylish, fluent, attacking football. And even our mate Pav gets on the scoresheet.

Germany 3:2 Portugal Quarter Final - A great start to the quarter finals, with a masterful display from Ballack, Lahm & co inspiring the Germans to reach yet another major tournament semi-final. As for the Portuguese, well if they'd had a forward it would have helped. As for Ronaldo - average once again.

Turkey 1:1 Croatia (3:1 pens) Quarter Final - The Turks defensive formation for the first 70 odd minutes made it rather cagey, but when they decided to have a go things looked interesting. Nothing can prepare you for an ending to a game like that though, as what looked like Klasnic's last minute winner was cancelled out by Semih's incredible late show. There was only one winner after that.

Week 3

Russia 3:1 Holland Quarter Final - One of the performances of the tournament as the in form Dutch are utterly dismantled by Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko and co.

Russia 2:0 Sweden Group D - The return of Andrei Arshavin marks a real return to form for the Russians as they sweep aside the Lagerback lads with an impressive display of stylish, fluent, attacking football. And even our mate Pav gets on the scoresheet.

The Worst Matches

Week 1

Romania 0:0 France The Romanians played for the draw, whilst an uninspiring, almost clueless, France were unable to find a way through.

Greece 0:2 Sweden At least the Swedes had a bit of a go, even if their talent is limited. On this evidence the Greeks are just going to try and win the Championship as they did last time - sending the opposition to sleep and then sneaking narrow wins. Hopefully it wont work in this tournament and the adventurous sides will get their rewards.

The Best Goals

Week 1

Wesley Sneijder Holland v France, 4th goal for Holland

Wesley Sneijder Holland v Italy, 2nd goal for Holland

Lukas Podolski Germany v Poland, 2nd goal for Germany

Arjen Robben Holland v France, 3rd goal for Holland

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden v Greece, 1st goal for Sweden

Week 2

Nihat Turkey v Czech Republic, 3rd goal for Turkey

Michael Ballack Germany v Austria, 1st goal for Germany

Roman Pavluchenko Russia v Sweden, 1st goal for Russia

Andrei Arshavin Russia v Sweden, 2nd goal for Russia

Ruben de la Red Spain v Greece, 1st goal for Spain

Who's Impressed Us

Week 1

Wesley Sneijder (Holland) Absolutely brilliant displays of two footed playmaking.

Deco (Portugal) A welcome return to form for the soon-to-be ex-Barcelona playmaker.

Philipp Lahm (Germany) Left back or right back it doesn't matter, he's quality on both sides.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Holland) He's just had a terrible season for Feyenoord but has been surprisingly good for de Oranje.

Dirk Kuyt (Holland) Didn't think it would work playing him on the wing, but he's been a really danger.

Roger Guerreiro (Poland) Brazilian born Pole with a deft touch and quality range of passes.

Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia) He may need a hatful of chances before he finally tucks one away, but the all action Russian forward is entertaining to watch in a is he going to do something brilliant or terrible kind of way. Imagine Crouchy taking to the field after swigging back a bottle of Vodka.

Week 2

Tuncay (Turkey) The Boro man is running his socks off and looks really dangerous.

Nihat (Turkey) Quality finishing from the Turkish striker.

Yuri Zhirkov (Russia) Fantastic burts down the left flank from 'the Russian Ronaldinho'.

Fabio Grosso (Italy) We cant believe he didn't play in their opener against Holland, he's having another cracking tournament, just like 2 years ago in Germany.

Andrei Arshavin (Russia) Quickly made a massive impression after missing the first 2 games through suspension.

And who hasn't

Week 1

Mario Gomez (Germany) Not living up to the hype yet.

Marcell Jansen (Germany) Comedy left-back alert !

Florent Malouda (France) Surely the most average winger ever.

Week 2

Dani Guiza (Spain) Was he really la Liga's top scorer ? Honestly ?

The Best Names of the Tournament

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