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16 July ~ Millwall fans who were denied entry to the Etihad Stadium as neutrals have had their complaint upheld by the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO). Nick Weavis and his group of friends had originally been planning to attend Millwall’s match at Oldham but, when it was cancelled, opted to watch nearby Manchester City play Swansea instead. However, upon learning they were Millwall fans the cashier at the Etihad refused to sell them tickets. When Weavis initially complained Manchester City put the decision down to police advice, but a freedom of information request to Greater Manchester Police revealed no such advice was given.
14 July ~ On Tuesday, Joachim Löw finally confirmed that he has every intention to honour his contract as Germany head coach, running until the 2018 World Cup. Not everybody is celebrating. In spite of guiding Germany to five semi-finals in a row (six, if you insist on counting 2006 in which Löw served as an assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann), with one World Cup trophy thrown in, Löw continues to polarise opinions: is he the tactical magician responsible for those triumphs, or an addicted tinkerer whose butt continues to be saved by the extraordinarily gifted bunch of players we currently are producing?
12 July ~ A view from the top of Dundee Law showing the city's two senior football grounds, with Dundee FC's Dens Park visible in the foreground and Dundee United's Tannadice Park in the background. The two stadiums are situated on the same street, a few hundred yards apart.
11 July ~ In spite of both Sweden’s and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s underperformance at the Euros, the latter's status and commercial drawing power is just as strong as it was before the tournament. After a decade of pilgrimage to Milan, Barcelona and Paris it is now time for Manchester to be the hottest destination for the relatively well off among Swedish football fans. It’s fair to assume that the weak British pound will also contribute to the stream of travellers.
8 July ~ The car horns were sounding in Lille way past 1am, more than a couple of hours after the final whistle of France’s semi-final against Germany. Social media showed scenes of celebration across the country after Les Bleus’ 2-0 win sealed their place in the Euro 2016 final.
6 July ~ Portugal are already champions of sorts: they seem to be the most reviled team of Euro 2016, for whatever reason – and there are a number to choose from, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s narcissism, Pepe’s borderline psychopathy and the perceived injustice of the team’s dogged progress, which has come despite the generally poor quality of their play.
4 July ~ On Thursday June 9, I doubted I had the stamina for another televised summer finals. By Thursday June 23, in the break after the group games, I doubted I could endure two whole days without live European Championship football.
Aberystwyth Town 1 Newtown 2, 17/05/2015, Park Avenue, Europa League play-off final
View of the Park Avenue ground and Aberystwyth, Wales. Aberystwyth finished 14 points above Newtown in the Welsh Premier League, but were beaten 2-1 in the play-off final.
2 July ~ As Germany face Italy tonight, coach Jogi Löw is refusing to entertain the notion that there is anything like an “Italian curse” hanging over his team. That has been a common refrain over the last decade, and while it is true that Germany have yet to beat Italy at the finals of a major tournament, it is the events of 2006 that really anchored the idea in Germany’s collective psyche.
1 July ~ “His Euro is over, that’s fate for you,” Marc Wilmots told the press on Thursday night, reporting on Jan Vertonghen’s injury. Belgian media had speculated all afternoon about Vertonghen’s ankle, badly sprained in training earlier in the day, causing ligament damage.