Hello and welcome to our daily Euro 2016 blog, where we (usually early morning) run through the biggest stories and talking points of the day and share videos, photos and weird stories coming out of France over the next few weeks.
Euro 2016 Squads
The big talking point today is who made it (and who didn’t) to their national team’s Euro 2016 squads.
We have the full list here: Confirmed Euro 2016 Squads.
Of course, it’s always far more interesting to talk about why a player wasn’t selected than to see the merits of the players picked instead.
Take Danny Drinkwater. He had a strong case to be picked ahead of, let’s say, Jack Wilshere, but we’ve already heard Hodgson say that he feels Wilshere is special. Who else could Hodgson have dropped? Milner would have been my pick, but Hodgson has gone for a mix of experience and youth, and unfortunately players that would have done fantastically well for England have missed out in the process.
But at least no one’s accusing Hodgson of racism.
Racism in French football?
Is Didier Deschamps racist for not picking Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa for France’s Euro 2016 squad? Eric Cantona thinks so, and Benzema has happily chimed in now that he’s won the Champions League.
Of course, if Deschamps was racist he wouldn’t have picked Adil Rami (of Moroccan heritage) either. There’s an argument (not a great one) to be made for Benzema being excluded for the sex scandal and Ben Arfa being excluded because a) Deschamps thinks he is difficult to manage and b) With Coman and Payet already in the squad, Deschamps thinks he can get away with not playing him.
Like I said, these arguments can be made, albeit they aren’t very convincing.
Plus France have Pogba, Martial, Griezmann, Coman and Payet. If I was French I wouldn’t be worried. Would you?
How safe are the Euros?
Last November’s Paris attacks have left authorities on edge and despite all the security measures in place, as we get closer to the first day of the tournament, there are still concerns about fan and player safety.
For the average fan – the public concern and media discussion is a good thing. It shows that there is pressure on the French government, the security agencies and in some cases, police forces from other European countries have a vested interest in making 100% certain that the Euros run safely.
If fan reaction immediately after the Paris attacks was any indication, or if ticket prices for big games are worth reading into, there will still be a massive influx of fans during the tournament despite the heightened security and reported threats.
GIF of the day: That Pogba pass
Speaking of outrageous talent, here’s Pogba’s pass from a recent international friendly.
Video of the day: Tennis is just as unfair as Football
Here’s Robin Haase losing a point for ‘hindrance’ after he mimicked his opponent’s exceptionally loud grunting during their first round match at the French Open. Like football, you can get away with a lot of annoying provocation (is grunting provocation? YMMV) but not with any sort of retaliation, even if it’s funny.
Other Euro 2016 Links / Stories: