Day: July 1, 2012

Laurent Blanc steps down as France coachLaurent Blanc steps down as France coach

Laurent Blanc is not renewing his contract as manager of  France national team, the French Football Federation said Saturday. France made it to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals but lost to defending champions Spain.

The favorite to replace Blanc is Didier Deschamps, who played 103 matches for France, and is set to leave as Marseille manager after a difficult last season.

Deschamps would be the ideal choice to replace Blanc, having made no secret of his desire to coach France one day. He was France’s captain when it won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, the national team’s last major trophy, and would be a popular choice.

Blanc was reportedly unhappy he wasn’t offered a contract extension before Euro 2012 had started, with the FFF preferring to wait and see how the team performed.

France lost its final group match to last-place Sweden to set up a clash against Spain in the quarterfinals, losing 2-0 to the defending champions in a largely defensive performance

Irish fans to receive special awardIrish fans to receive special award

European football’s governing body is to give a special award to fans of Ireland for their behaviour in Euro 2012 co-host Poland, UEFA’s secretary-general, Gianni Infantino, said yesterday.

“The executive committee has decided to give a special award to the Irish football fans,” he told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on the eve of the Euro 2012 final between holders Spain and Italy.

Everyone was very impressed by the fans of the national team of the Republic of Ireland who came to Poland. The team’s results were mitigated by the fans.

The Republic of Ireland lost all three of their Group C matches against Spain, Italy and Croatia but there was high praise from the Polish press, public and authorities for the way in which the team’s fans conducted themselves.

Irish fans captured Polish hearts in particular after their 4-0 defeat to Spain in the Baltic port city of Gdansk with their good cheer and song.

Indeed so moved was Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that he told his fellow commentators from French TV channel TF1 to stop commentating and listen to the fans as the match drew to a close.

Michel Platini: Euro 2020 should be hosted by all EuropeMichel Platini: Euro 2020 should be hosted by all Europe

UEFA boss Michel Platini has made the surprising proposal that Euro 2020 be hosted in 12 or 13 cities across Europe.

During the last two decades, the UEFA European Football Championship has had a number of tandem hosts: current Euro 2012′s Poland and Ukraine, as well as Euro 2008′s Austria and Switzerland, and Euro 2000′s Belgium and Netherlands.

At present countries who have expressed interest in hosting Euro 2020 are Turkey, as well as tandem Azerbaijan-Georgia, and trio Ireland-Scotland-Wales.

Platini’s Saturday proposal is the first time a high-ranking official suggests that the prestigious tournament could be organized on a basis that is not country-centered.

This is only an idea, but in December or January we have to make our final decision. The idea seems very appealing to me, especially given we will have the 60th anniversary of the tournament,” said the UEFA president.

We could organize the tournament in 12 or 13 cities spread out all over Europe,” said Platini, adding he has officially addressed the proposal to UEFA’s executive board.

The next European Football Championship, in 2016, will be hosted by France.

Highlights|La Furia Roja Champions of Europe. Spain 4-0 ItalyHighlights|La Furia Roja Champions of Europe. Spain 4-0 Italy

World champions Spain took their place among the game’s greats when they thrashed Italy 4-0 to become the first team to win successive European Championship titles on Sunday.

Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave the world champions an easy victory over an Italian team down to 10 men through injury for the last half-hour.