Euro 2016 Diary: Lille highs, training-ground Lows and a Spanish mover and shaker


Ahead of their quarter-final clash with Belgium, Wales players and coaching staff alike had described their first ever European Championship quarter-final as the biggest game in more than 50 years.

Not to be outdone by their heroes on the pitch, two intrepid fans braved the crowds - and gravity - to show their support in Lille.

The duo clambered above a brasserie outside the main train station before climbing up the front of Hotel Londres, in order to hang some flags for the hundreds of fans gathered below.

Given that they pipped England to first place in Group B, their choice of location was either an amusing coincidence or an inspired selection.


Meanwhile, as an estimated 150,000 Belgium fans made the short journey to Lille, we were left with that age-old story of "no room at the inn".

With hotels fully booked and fan zones crammed to capacity, the travelling hordes of Red Devils needed a solution - and they found one via the latest social media phenomenon of Euro 2016.

Lille's own French Sports Minister Patrick Kanner encouraged local hospitality and any local residents who fancied livening up their evening by having some Belgium fans round for the football and a sleepover could simply advertise their services using the #AdopteUnBelge on Twitter.


Joachim Low masterminded Germany's rise back to the summit of global football, scooping the 2014 World Cup.

His gifted team are well set this time around at Euro 2016 as well and the quarter-final in Bordeaux against Antonio Conte's Italy has all the hallmarks of a heavyweight tactical tussle.

But if this is Low's latest innovation - a scuffed grubber of a corner to nestle inside the far post - he might end up disappointed against the Azzurri.



Bacary Sagna displayed wonderful optimism on Friday when he announced France would not be practising penalties prior to Sunday's Euro 2016 quarter-final against Iceland.

The right-back declared Didier Deschamps' men opted against honing their skills from 12 yards as they are "counting on making the difference earlier".

Perhaps Sagna has forgotten the 89th-minute winner against Romania, or the 90th-minute goal that set them on their way to victory over Albania. They didn't even score against Switzerland.

And let's not forget that France lost the 2006 World Cup final on a penalty shoot-out, as they did in the 1982 World Cup semi-finals to West Germany, as they did in the 1996 European Championship semi-finals to the Czech Republic...

Practise makes perfect, Bacary.


If you felt the joyous strains of Flamenco music drifting sadly away from Euro 2016 when defending champions Spain bowed out at the hands of Italy on Monday, don't worry, you weren't just throwing around lazy stereotypes.

Nolito started all four matches in attack for La Rioja and a week that began with disappointment at the Stade de France ended with his joining Manchester City from Celta Vigo.

The forward's eye-catching moves on the field are well documented, but have a look at this nugget from City's website.

"When on international duty Nolito enjoys playing poker and listening to Flamenco music - apparently even more than Spain team-mate Sergio Ramos, often turning the music up loud for the enjoyment of his colleagues whenever it's played."

Flamenco dancing with a poker face? It's a new one on us.

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