This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

Euro 2004: A Nation Expects…

9th June 2004

Apologies to all readers across the pond. I’m going to write about football (soccer - the one without padding). Euro 2004 begins on the 12th June, and I’m as excited as a squirrel during nut-fall. Why am I so excited this time around? Well, England could actually win…

england fans

It’s Summer, and the year is an even number, therefore it must be football. It’s time for the English bi-annual jingoistic celebration of our potential victory in a major tournament. As the BlogSnorkeller recently suggested, us English go a little bit silly prior to such events. Everywhere you look, folks are attaching cheap St. George flags to their vehicles in a public pledge of allegiance - I even saw one on a Citroen 2CV! All the newspapers have offered their Euro 2004 pull-outs and wallcharts. The pundits are in overdrive - it’s France to win, and England might have a chance - it’s the usual combination of optimism and doom-mongering.

The CollyLogical verdict

I’ll be upbeat. We’ve our best chance for some time. Almost every player is fit enough to run around. Only John Terry is doubtful. I’m proclaiming that everybody’s player of the tournament will be our very own Steven Gerrard (if he stays fit). Gerrard has been awesome all season for the Scousers (Liverpool), and single-handidly pulled them into fourth spot in the Premiership. He is gonna blow everyone away.

Captain Beckham is ready to win. He’s 30 year’s old now, so he’s running out of time, but on his day he is the best passer in the world. Owen is off-form, but can excel in big competition. Little spod-boy Wayne Mickey Rooney is only 10 year’s old (well, 18), but he’ll be excited enough to make an impact I’m sure. I also believe Frankie Lampard will get a few spectacular goals. I’ll be relying on stalwart Gary Neville (another, like Gerrard, who missed the 2002 World Cup) to do his excellent get-it-to-Beckham-asap thing.

Owen and Gerrard

Score predictions

So, we face the best team in the world first, the mighty France. That’s gonna be tough. I predict the score will be 3-2 in their favour, but that we’ll play so well that we’ll win the following two games 2-0 and 2-1, pulling us through to the quarter finals in reasonable style. If we do get through, it looks like we’ll play Holland and Spain to get to (gulp!) France again in the final.

One thing England have on their side is a staunch team spirit. When it comes to big, big games they can pull together and be greater than the sum of their parts, with the exemption of the 2002 World Cup quarter final against Brazil when they were clearly knackered. Collectively, us English just have to pray that there are no penalty shoot-outs this time around - it’s our major Achilles Heel. We can’t take pennoes for toffee.

Elsewhere, Malarkey has formed his own Bloggers XI dream-team for Euro 2004. I was delighted to see he had selected me, though only because it’s my ball. What he doesn’t realise is that I was a school-teamer for years, up and down the wing like a cheetah. Still, it is my ball, and I’ll take it home if nobody plays fair.

So, that’s my two-penneth. Who do you think will win? Who’s crap? What do you mainland Europeans think of England’s chances? Does everyone else assume France will win it? Please elaborate below…

Responses

# James responded on 9th June 2004 with...

I see you missed out Vassell in your analysis.  Ignorance in its purest form, I’m afraid.

# Simon Collison responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Oh, you must be a Villa fan James. I like Vassell - bit of a super-sub, and tricky around the box. Yes - very glad he’s in the squad. If Rooney flops, it’ll be good he’s there…

# DarkBlue responded on 9th June 2004 with...

It’s usually the case that England fans, myself included, come over all patriotic and loyal during any big football tournament.

We’re all secretly convinced that - this time - England could go all the way. Yet, in our heads we know that the odds are against us.

I would love to see England win at least one major tournament in my lifetime but, reality-bites, I don’t think it’s going to happen this year (please God, let me be wrong).

FWIW, here’s my prediction:

England’s opener with France will be a lesson in humiliation, for the English. Despite having all our big guns on the pitch and Eriksson (hopefully) not playing the diamond, France’s talented squad run rings around us. Their first goal comes in the first few minutes and the shock of it throws England off balance. France’s second and third come before half-time and a second-half penalty nets them their fourth.

England’s performance throughout will be described as average and we’ll be knocked out by the one team The Sun says we’re “certain to beat”. Calls for Eriksson’s head will follow - Beckham will retreat into the arms of Miss Loos!

# Steve Keyworth responded on 9th June 2004 with...

The bookies appear to hold with the French, personally I never have. Whilest the brilliant ‘Terry Henry’ may employ the use of his ten league boots, cover the distance of the pitch in a single stride and ‘crazy legs crane’ yet another one in, I look to the formidable talents and latent anger of Paul Scholes to sneakily cripple him with a covert punt to the goolies, thereby incapacitating him for the remainder of the tournament, dispatching France and leaving the way clear for an incredible “Ten Men Victory V” for England against all odds (7/1 William Hill).

Spain could also be worth a hoof at 8/1. Judas.
(Who the hell is Zidane anyway?)

# Jamie responded on 9th June 2004 with...

I currently surrounded by Greek flags!

Nope, I’m still in sunny Bradford, but the power-that-be at my place of work think it’s more fun to allocate each department with a team and order them to decorate their desks, PCs, bins and staplers with their chosen teams colours!

I just don’t get it so I’m keeping my head down.

# James responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Simon, what do you mean ‘if’? ;)

Rooney’s over-rated, in my opinion.  He seems to have both luck and a strong foot on his side - but I don’t know, his international experience is still a bit lacking.  Euro 2004 is a big event, and virtually every other player in the squad has past experience of the World Cup with them.

Vassell included.  And yes, I’m a Villa man.  And proud of it.

# Simon Collison responded on 9th June 2004 with...

James, what tournament experience did Michael Owen have when he blitzed the 1998 World Cup? Ziltch. I’m not saying it’ll happen again, but look at the way Rooney took the first Turkey qualifier by the scruff of the neck and shit ‘em up. All I’m saying is he has the potential to really worry defenders.

# Lee Hickman responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Wayne Rooney is going to be the star of this years tournament, did you see his goal at the weekend?

I’m really looking forward to Euro 2004. Where are you watching the England v France game Coll?

In response to that “flag” issue check out this

# James responded on 9th June 2004 with...

You shouldn’t mention Owen and Rooney in the same breath, y’know.

What you said is indeed a fact, but compare Owen’s physique to Rooney’s.  We’re talking small, nippy guy contrasting against bloke with a neck wider than his head.

I believe great attackers have to have something special about them: Owen has his speed.  Quinn had his height.  Rooney’s just a bloke who can hit a ball on the volley.

Just my two pence.

# Simon Collison responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Firstly, Lee. Watching it on my big telly with the usual suspects eating all my food. Probably some pre-match BBQ action. You are warmly invited.

Secondly, James. I do get what you’re saying - I’m nervous about what he’ll do (and his temperament is well suspect), but I disagree about his physique and skill. I agree that he looks like Ram Man, but he can run at players with the ball close to his feet, which few other England players can do. Again, in that first Turkey game, he was spreading the ball wide with awesome passes. The other England players are convinced, so I’m happy to wait and see.

Damned ugly sod though…

Anyway, Gerrard is the one to watch.

# Lee Hickman responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Rooney, Rooney, Rooney!

I was planning to go to the orange tree with young master Badger! Would you and all your mates prefer the pub feel?

Shouldn’t be to busy with it being a student bar and you won’t have to deal with pringles/beer/ketchup being chucked all over the carpet.

# Malarkey responded on 9th June 2004 with...

Well it’s only four days to go before we’ll all be screaming at the telly!

And I for one just CAN’T wait. Let’s hope we’re still as upbeat on Monday.

# Richard Rutter responded on 10th June 2004 with...

Lamps has got to be the man. He’ll get a goal or two mark my words. Terry will get himself fit enough for France and hopefully Bridge will get in ahead of a frankly dodgy Ashley Cole. No cigar to whoever guesses which club I support.

But more importantly, get yourself a fantasy football team from the Euro 2004 site and join the Bloggers league. You’ll need this: 38072-13210. Gotta be quick though.

# Simon Collison responded on 10th June 2004 with...

Woo-hoo! Richard, I’ve just joined the Blogger’s League. With a team boasting some of the best players in Europe, I’m confident that Notts Colly will conquer all who dare to challenge them.

Bring it on…

# Lee Hickman responded on 10th June 2004 with...

Ooh Gravy is in the league.

Prepare to be weeping at my feet in a few weeks time.

Ooh Gravy, northern boys love gravy.

# pup responded on 10th June 2004 with...

you english guys are great.  i’ll be rooting for england in every game where they’re not playing france, but honestly, i don’t see them making it past the first knockout round.  of course, i’m american, so take all that with a grain of salt.

if owen’s on form to convert the service he’s gonna get from beckham, lampard, and gerrard, then we may see england in the semis, but i’m not counting on it.

# Lee Hickman responded on 10th June 2004 with...

Knockout Round?
Convert?
Service?

We need to have a chat pup!

It’s nice that Americans are starting to get into the beautiful game. It has always baffled me that you didn’t take it on board a long time ago.

Haven’t Chelsea just bought some 15/16 year old American kid for whopping lumps of cash?

Will you be watching the games in the US of A pup?

# Lapin responded on 10th June 2004 with...

I can’t wait to see Jonny Wilkinson score another thrilling drop goal at the death of play. Fantastic!

So people here are ‘socialising’ when they watch the game, eh? I assumed you’d all be streaming it via the internet, then heading over to the www.senselessjingoism.com chat room to discuss the standards compliancy of Wayne Rooney’s deeply ugly face. I hear his parsing has improved this year, so perhaps we’re in with a chance. I can’t wait for Euro 2005!

I’ll be over at yours, Col, just in time for kick in, or whatever it’s called when they put the ball on the ockey and get on with it. Be sure to have a snag on the barbie, you dag.

# Cait responded on 10th June 2004 with...

I’d have to go with the Lamps vote too.  Give that lad space to roam and he’ll give you the goals.  I’d also quite like to see the Bridge/Cole partnership on the left.

BTW, to my knowledge, Chelsea haven’t signed anyone outside of Arjen Robben and Petr Cech.  I don’t think even the Ferreira deal is complete.

Signed,
American expat, UK resident, Chelsea supporter and football mad—not necessarily in that order.

# Lapin responded on 10th June 2004 with...

Well, losers, you’ll now be battling it out against the Orange Organics, my fantasy football team. Because I know nothing about footy, or even fantasies, I’ll look forward to my crack squad of Latvian assassins sticking into the back of your net like so many power chords from Pugwall. Bwoy!

My captain is Zidane. Who’s steering your boat?

# DH responded on 11th June 2004 with...

The problem with Rooney is that I keep expecting him to remember that he was supposed to be a boxer, strap on some gloves and go looking for Ricky Hatton.  If that happens (and to be fair, it’s not happened yet), we could yet find ourselves turning to the almost equally burly Emile Heskey - and then where would we be?  (In the departures lounge at the airport, probably, cursing our over reliance on Owens hamstrings).

I think we’ll do well enough, but semi-final heartache seems to be almost as much a truism for England as drunken fans and fervent patriotism / nationalism.

Good luck boys!

# Kenzie responded on 11th June 2004 with...

Tampa Bay in 7.

# Simon Collison responded on 14th June 2004 with...

France 2, England 1.

That France scored two in the last three minutes is hurting really, really bad. How did we throw it away? Still, we kept Henry and Pires quiet all game, defended admirably, and (almost) did everything we needed to do.

Big well-dones to King, Cole, Lamps - and Beckham’s tracking back and defending (not so much his attacking). Mostly, I was disappointed by me main man Gerrard - but I won’t criticise him any more - I’ll wait and see (please don’t do any more pass-backs Steven).

Rooney was brilliant. Running at ‘em, scaring ‘em. Physically a big handful, and he punched Vierra and got away with it. The boy’s a real asset.

We need to stay proud, and look to the next two games with heart. Still, it really hurts…

# Katafraktos responded on 10th April 2005 with...

Hi there.
Guys.. the Euro 2004 Cup is sitting on the Parthenon
for some months now….
You didn’t think it would happend?
Neither do we (the Greeks), but it DID HAPPEND!
So Cheer Up! you may be the next winners ;)
My wish now is for AEK FC to win the Greek Title!
Lets all cross fingers!

see ya!

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