Wales 0 Denmark 4 (blonde self-satisfied young men 4)
The battle between the neutrals’ favourites. Brave Denmark, with their stricken player and heroic travails against the evil Russkies. Wales – a small nation, although not so small as several others in this contest – magnificent conquerors of the Erdogan Caliphate. Here, though, in Amsterdam, they were hammered senseless and the score could and should have been more: Wales are out – iechyd da. Basically a Championship side – Luton Town, Swansea, Cardiff, Bornmuff – gilded by Aaron Ramsey and the gently dwindling brilliance of Gareth Bale. Oh – and Dan James, one of the world’s more overrated players. A winger of the week who glimmers so occasionally that it doesn’t matter. So – go home, Wales. At maybe the same stage as England? That’s the benchmark.
Are Denmark really any good? Not sure. We are all reminded of Euro 1992 when they won the tournament having only creeped in via a technicality. But there is not quite the talent in this team, I don’t think. I’m sure they have hygge and commitment and a rather clever tactical nous. A counter attacking side. But I think against a decent attack they might look vulnerable.
Next up Austria versus Italy. Neighbours. The South Tyrol is one of my favourite areas in Europe: Italian food, German planning, nice pink mountains. Bolzano, or Bosen, as I prefer to call it. Come on Austria. Put a spanner in the works of those slick mofos. Strike a blow for the east – people forget how far east Austria is. In the Soviet zone for a while, until Stalin unaccountably gave in.
Wales fell apart towards the end and became petulant, apparently affronted that they had been out-pluckied. Nos Da.