France 2016

EURO 2016

Euro 2016 Fin?

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Who would have thought it? Two weeks have passed since we set out on our own "Tour de France" and I heard in the last few days that all the Home Nations have qualified for the next round. Brilliant, who are Scotland playing?



I have struggled to keep up to date, (wifi in France isn't great) with things whilst we have been on the road, so maybe I missed something.

St. Etienne

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Beautiful blue sky first thing in the morning as I ran up the hill at Fourviere, 5km and 250 steps later, I returned to find the other two still asleep.

We visited Musée Des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, before catching the train to St. Etienne.

In the afternoon we found the majority of shops and restaurants shut.

Marseille Again

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Got up at 6am in Nice in time for a 10km run along the 4km promenade. The pace felt like that of the starter in Lyon two days earlier.

My alarm first went off at 3.50am, the time a week ago that this journey started. Since then we have been to 8 different venues and spent a day on a train (plus one flight) travelling.

Nice

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For the first time a conductor on the train checked our tickets. Looks like the strike might be coming to an end. Ivan and I showed the conductor our tickets while Steve checked the bins for his discarded coffee cup, in which he thought his ticket might be.

Later we discussed our future travel plans.

Lyon

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We had time for some sightseeing in Marseille and chose to visit Notre Dame, the highest point in Marseille, for it's church and views over the city.



We caught the train, after checking it was running the night before, at lunchtime and made our way to Lyon as rain appeared on the Windows.

Marseille

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Once again we had to check the train timetables to ensure our train was running. It was, but it departed 40 minutes late. So far our journeys have been by TGV, but today it is an inter regional train which means a slower journey, which should take about six hours.

We have been spoiled by the efficiency of the TGV network, as it has made travelling easy and by booking months in advance we had some bargain prices.

Bordeaux

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The night before had been unkind to Ivan. As we left our apartment and headed for the earlier train he commented "Even the local tramp looks better than me."

Due to the strike the train was always going to be crowded so we thought of ways to find a seat. "We could sing English songs, that usually works!

Parc de Princes/Lille

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The morning after the night before and we are having breakfast in Lille discussing events . We hear that the Germans have asked to march from the centre of Lille to the ground a distance of 5km. Steve's response to this "With tanks?"




We made our way to Paris by TGV and just had time for lunch, Croque Monsieur near Ivan's gym at République.

Lens

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Let me introduce you to my travelling companions. Some time ago I looked at the schedule for the tournament and decided that I would go for the first two weeks and visit every venue. After checking the logistics I put together an itinerary which fitted the bill. I circulated this and three friends expressed an interest.

The Euros 2016

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With the number of teams taking part in this year's competition increasing from 16 to 24, it was my hope that I would be able to see my team, Scotland compete in France this June.

Who would have believed it when my dream came true - a friendly in Metz a week before the tournament began.



This meant I could see how things are in France, before the tournament begins.

Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff Results

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In a week overshadowed by the tragic events in Paris, the final four teams to take part in Euro 2016 in France next summer were confirmed after the two legged play-off matches.

Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine will join hosts France and Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Wales in the competition.

Zlatan to the European Championship

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When two teams that are not among the top 20 of European football clash in a play-off match to qualify for the European Championship, one is justified in not expecting much in terms of quality. Denmark and Sweden was one of these play-off matches: two former greats who have fallen low, but with one difference between these two mediocre sides: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still one of the greatest

The beginning of a saga

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If there is any team I will surely support at next year's European Championships it is Iceland. The small charming and beautiful island nation has never been a footballing heavyweight, but has improved greatly in the last few years: they were only a play-off match against Croatia away from the World Cup in Brazil, but are now on the verge of qualifying for their first major tournament ever after

Spanish gratitude for Casillas

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For the first time since 2006 Spain lost a qualifier, when they lost 2-1 to Slovakia in their qualifier for Euro 2014. And as everyone in Spain seems to be doing these days, they blame Iker Casillas, who made a mistake in allowing the first Slovak goal. Spain should be thankful to Iker Casillas, a true gentleman and great sportsman: he and Carles Puyol were more than anyone else the architects

The Long Euro 2016 weekend starts today

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UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying

Over the next six days there is a feast of international football in Europe as UEFA's 53 member nations get stuck into qualifying for Euro 2016.

23 places on offer for the finals in France in 2016 and early next week the identities of the group leaders should become clearer with countries having played three times.

Austria

The Euro Qualified nations

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20 out of 24 nations are ready for the 2016 European Championship in France. Despite the fact that I am those who think that a European Championship of 24 teams is way too much, I cannot help but notice some notable newcomers among the 20 nations, some of which would even have qualified with 16 nations, showing what is perhaps a power shift going on in European football: Group A: The Czech

Euro 2016 Draw: The Big Preview

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Euro 2016 Draw: The Big Preview - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Welcome to Soccerlens' preview and upcoming coverage of Sunday's Euro 2016 draw, which will take place at 11:00 GMT in Nice, France.

With qualification for this summer's World Cup in Brazil all sorted, we can turn our attentions to the upcoming European Championships in France, with a whole host of international heavyweights awaiting this Sunday's gala event, which will determine the fate of the 55 teams spread through six seeded pots.

The Rest

Platini's Fall to Earth

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THE GREAT FRENCHMAN'S FOOTBALL LIFE IS NOW HISTORY
Michel Platini's football career looks finished and whatever the circumstances, the sport has lost a major figure.
Even if he was corrupt and untrustworthy, his status as one of the greatest footballers of the modern era and the greatest French player of all time means his exit stage left from the game is tinged with a little melancholy.