International warm-up games are a welcome excuse for a midweek summer barbecue, a few cold beers after work and a valid excuse not to watch Coronation Street for an evening – but there comes a point where England fans become restless for some proper football. Enough of the pre-tournament fixtures now, everyone’s itching to see a competition.
As a wannabe-rebellious youth, I thought I was quite the renegade in my computing class. Having figured out how to bypass the school’s website blocklist, I had found my way onto an online arcade site and sat smugly playing some teenage classics instead of learning how to use spreadsheets.
A personal school favourite, shared amongst my piers was a game best remembered as Tower Defence – the principal of which was to fend off hoards of on-rushing minions trying to make their way along a path, using a series of strategically positioned defensive structures – a simple, yet somewhat unimaginative game design. Tower Defence was a brilliant alternative to tedious schoolwork, but was hardly the most thrilling of past-times… nor does its formula make for particularly exciting football matches.
After sitting through over 270 painstaking minutes of watching lesser European nations sit eleven men on the edge of their box, England fans are bored of watching the footballing reincarnation of Tower Defence – we’re more than ready to watch the start of Euro 2016 now:
“I thought it was a little odd that we decided to have some pre-tournament fixtures out here in France – I was at the Stadium of Light to watch us play Australia and the vibe was exactly the same.
“I don’t know why we picked to play Russia, Wales and Slovakia – it might’ve have been beneficial to play a team of some quality. Watching an inferior team try to defend for 90 minutes is hardly good preparation for when we play Europe’s best at Euro 2016”
A Sarcastic (and Bitter) England Fan
The three pre-tournament fixtures England have now endured in France are finally over – thank the lord. I’m not sure how much more defence vs attack I could suffer through. Note the eleven Welsh players all within 10 yards of the penalty area.
Fortunately on this occasion, England managed to work a way through and find a deserved winner, though as proven against Slovakia – sometimes you just don’t get that stroke of luck.
What a delight it will be to witness two teams, who actually want to play football, go head-to-head in the knockout round; matches where both sides are actually capable of scoring, rather than one. In all seriousness, Uefa really dropped the ball on this one.
In theory, opening the tournament doors to European nations who would never have otherwise been there would be great for the diversity of Euro 2016, but in reality it makes for a significant dip in competitive integrity. It’s hardly surprising that it’s been one of the lowest scoring tournaments in history when every other game (or every game, in England’s case) has felt like a David vs Goliath clash.
Just like the Champions League is a complete farce until it reaches the knockout stages, Euro 2016 has followed suit. Russia, Wales and Slovakia are the Maccabi Haifa’s of the international tournament – now that they’re out of the way, hopefully the genuine contenders of the competition can provide a spectacle.