We came, we made predictions, we saw, we berated ourselves for thinking that France would walk away with it. Or at least some of us did. Let’s re-visit those pre-tournament predictions…
Right, who is going to win the whole damned thing?
Both me (Sarah Winterburn), Dave Tickner and John Nicholson would be feeling pretty smug right now if we hadn’t just been kicked in the tits/bollocks. Though actually, I really do feel fine (about everything but the racists/thugs), Johnny is sanguine and Tickers has a week off to remind himself that he really does prefer cricket anyway.
For a minute there, we were all Ian Watson. We laughed at him a month ago but we loved him on Sunday at 8.03pm.
Name me the four semi-finalists too. And yes, that means actually working it out.
Only one of us (Watto, obviously) thought England would reach the semi-finals, which shows you the scale of what this England side achieved. Left-field suggestions were Turkey (Steady, Joe Williams and Will Ford), Ukraine and Poland (Johnny). Only two of us (me and Tickers) called Spain and so made it two of four semi-finalists correctly called. It doesn’t feel like a victory.
Who will be the biggest team to flunk at the group stage?
The correct answer – keeping in mind the above – was Turkey (though the rankings would suggest Poland) so let’s go through these one by one: Croatia did not finish below Scotland, Switzerland made it out, Wales got four more points than Dan Storey suggested and Germany staggered from the Group of Death only to be killed off by England. And Sweden did quite nicely thank you.
Which player will win the Golden Boot?
Nobody even mentioned Ronaldo, which in hindsight feels like a mistake. Not winning the Golden Boot were Romelu Lukaku, Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe or Harry Kane.
Who will win the Player of the Tournament award (claimed by Antoine Griezmann five years ago)?
‘If I am picking Italy to grind then I am picking Leonardo Bonucci to be master grinder’ means I came closest and am claiming all of the points. Pretty much everybody else jumped on the N’Golo Kante bandwagon; he wasn’t even the best Chelsea midfielder.
Which young player will become a massive bloody star?
In my defence, Manuel Locatelli looked bloody good against Switzerland. Elsewhere, Steady, Will and Dan nailed it with Pedri (who overshadowed Tickers’ choice of Ferran Torres) but no points will be handed to Johnny for Jude Bellingham, Watto for Phil Foden or Williams (who really did have a mare) for Kai Havertz.
How will England fare?
Pretty much everybody but the by-now-delirious Watto had England losing in the last 16, which says a lot about our pessimism and the expectations on this England side. I still think they would have lost to Spain in the quarter-finals, had they played Spain in the quarter-finals.
Now tell me which Gareth Southgate ‘mistake’ will be held over him forever.
Nobody guessed ‘ignored Jack Grealish and gave the final penalty to Bukayo Saka’. Bizarrely, ‘playing a back five and two holding midfielders’ was one of his better decisions, while taking Harry Maguire was never the issue that journalists thought it was a month ago. Not picking Grealish was originally an issue but was eventually accepted as the right call, but thankfully Southgate never a) wore dungarees or b) pissed himself.