A belated start to the day. I was seeking some alliteration for the title but somehow “France Frew” seemed wrong. It worked phonetically but grammatically, it seemed somewhat lacking…
The morning after the night before as far as Mesut Özil is concerned; no fanfare when the German team return home following their exit from Euro 2016. He played well, I thought, even managing to put in a tackle or two. As the favourites turned the screw in the first half, Özil was the heartbeat of the side. Not so much in the second as France protected and eventually stretched their lead.
Was it a penalty? I can’t see how it couldn’t be given. Bastian the pig farmer, led with his hand, and in the same way Jerome Boateng’s lunacy cost Germany in the quarter-final, Schweinsteiger’s penalty proved vital. It gave France the edge, well put away by Antoine Griezmann, whose second was the killer. Germany didn’t look like retrieving that deficit and indeed, their heads dropped until the introduction of Leroy Sane gave some zest to the German XI.
That they have reached the final is thanks, in no small part, to the leadership being shown in the centre of their defence by Laurent Koscielny. Samuel Umtiti may have signed for Barcelona but he is still inexperienced at this level; Koscielny is showing him the ropes and clearing up after him, as you do with whippersnappers.
As for Olivier Giroud, his single-mindedness has won him the admiration of a nation, receiving a standing ovation once more as he left the pitch. This despite not scoring but his contribution to the performance can’t be overstated. It’s good to see him hitting form at the right time. I could hark back to his loss of form at Arsenal but that’s done now; time for him to look forward.
Yesterday, I was told that he would start ahead of whomever we signed this summer. A confident assertion undone by one devastating lack of pace that let a good chance to break the deadlock, go begging. Not that we’re thinking of signing anyone. Well, Arsène probably does sit back and think wistfully about a star striker as he sips his Pernod and Black at the end of a long day in the office but as a serious strategy, who knows?
Lyon don’t, that’s for sure. Alexandre Lacazette may have a €40m release clause but the French club want €50m for him, taking a leaf out of Liverpool’s book in completely ignoring the contract. Of course, he may not have a release clause and Lyon might not want €50m for him but where’s the fun in that? If anyone thinks we’re letting the facts get in the way of a jolly good jape, they are sadly mistaken.
Should I even mention the €50m Wolfsburg want for Yoolian Draxler?
Others linked our way include Lille full back, Djibril Sidibe whose signing could spell the end for Kieran Gibbs or Carl Jenkinson’s Arsenal careers. It might not though; who knows? It’s reminiscent of the hijacking of Park Chu-young’s transfer. He’d agreed a deal with Lille as he wanted to leave Monaco to play in a more competitive league (!); Sidibe has halted a proposed move to Monaco thanks to Arsenal’s interest.
Finally in today’s curtailed post, it’s emerged that Tottenham have given up on their aspirations to finish above Arsenal. Launching their new kit today, they revealed the footwear which their players will wear next season:
A very fetching range of stilettos they are as well. Let’s all laugh at Tottenham indeed.