To reminisce on a simpler, European time, look back at our tournament predictions here…
– Who is going to win the thing, and briefly why?
Messrs Winterburn, Storey and Miller went for France, while Stead and Nicholson lost early points for having far too much faith in Marc Wilmots.
‘What about France, you say? I don’t care mate,’ wrote Stead as his flourishing finish. Worra knob.
Obviously nobody said Portugal. Who would?
– Give us the other semi-finalists, just to show off
Sarah only got Germany/France and loses massive points for optimistically including England. The other person to make that mistake was Nick, who at least leveled with Daniel at the top for picking three of the four semi-finalists (Wales the obvious exception). All five surveyed picked France and Germany, so never let it be said we can’t successfully pick the two favourites.
– Who is going to surprisingly achieve nice things?
Yeah, this is where it gets tricky/sh*tty. Sarah deserves a sit on the naughty step for picking England, saying that Switzerland would get to the quarter-finals at least and that Northern Ireland would concede only once and go out at the group stage. Still, she’s the boss so she won’t stay there for long.
Storey picked Austria to make the quarter-finals which couldn’t have been more wrong, but at least tipped Portugal to do well, but top marks, gold stars and shiny pennies go to Mystic Miller for these words: ‘I’m probably being sentimental but I rather fancy Wales to do quite well. They’ve got a solid unit, plus Gareth Bale, they should get through the group – I reckon they’ll make the quarters.’
Props also to Johnny for predicting Iceland to do well, and to Steady for predicting Slovakia’s progress.
– Which is the most likely ‘big’ nation to stink the place out?
Four of the five (Nick excluded) picked Italy to fall flat, and were suitably disproved. There were also suggestions that Russia would be awful and Belgium would fall flat (Miller and Storey).
Johnny’s shout of France imploding smells worse than Joachim Loew’s fingers.
– Top scorer?
This one didn’t go too well. Sarah and Daniel at least picked out Olly Giroud to have a good tournament, with Ronaldo also mentioned, but Matt and Nick deserve four smacks on the bottom each for choosing Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane respectively. One big one between them.
– Player of the Tournament?
Nicholas Miller, take a bow. He picked out Antoine Griezmann, while Sarah and Storey went for Paul Pogba.
Matt deserves any spare points for saying that Eden Hazard would be excellent, while Johnny’s Kevin de Bruyne needs work.
– Which player or country would you most like to see fail (without revealing your hatred of a particular nation)?
Sarah and Daniel were presumably happy to see Zlatan fail, while Nick’s reference to 1997 black comedy ‘Wag the Dog’ also came off, with Albania falling at the first.
Given that Johnny misses the days when Spain were bottlers, he’s probably punch-drunk after their sh*tshow against Italy.
– And, finally, the most likely tabloid back-page headline on the morning after England’s competition ends.
Weirdly, nobody predicted England going out to Iceland, nor the headlines of ‘clueless’, ‘good riddance’ and ‘England’s greatest humiliation’ that followed. If anything, we undercooked it.