Eurozone 2020: French fans wide of the mark as they venture to the wrong capital

Kevin Doyle top of the punditry pops . . . Klinsmann as accurate as ever . . . Pogba off colour

It was back in 2012 that a group of 400 Athletic Bilbao fans chartered a flight to take them to the Europa League final between Bilbao and Atlético Madrid. Alas, they booked it for Budapest in Hungary rather than Bucharest in Romania, which was hosting the game, and hadn’t enough time to correct their error before kick-off, so missed the final.

So loud and widespread was the chuckling at their misfortune, you could at least be assured that no football fans would ever make the same mistake again.

Hold yer horses.

Where did six French fans with tickets for their country’s group game against Portugal in Budapest on Wednesday night end up? Yep, Bucharest.


“We have to learn more about Europe,” said one of them to Romanian newspaper Jurnalul.

As luck would have it, though, France meet Switzerland in the last 16 on Monday in . . . Bucharest.

So if the six can hang around, they’ll have struck gold.

Unless, of course, they head for Budapest.

Doyle top of the punditry pops at RTÉ

It’s become a tradition over the years that our trusty statistician pal Aidan O’Connor brings us his ‘RTÉ Pundit Accuracy Ratings’, where he calculates how they fared with their match predictions.

He's come up trumps again. At the conclusion of the Euro 2020 group stage (just counting pundits who worked on eight games or more), in reverse order . . .

5 Didi Hamann 38 per cent correct (5 out of 13)
4 Damian Duff 45 per cent (5 out of 11)
3 Richard Sadlier 50 per cent (5 out of 10)
2 Liam Brady 61 per cent (8 out of 13).

And in first . . . drum roll . . .

1 Kevin Doyle 75 per cent (6 out of eight)

Exchange of the week

The one on the BBC on Monday when Gary Lineker doffed his cap to Jürgen Klinsmann after he accurately predicted the outcome of the Denmark v Russia and Belgium v Finland games.

Lineker: “Jurgen, I have to say, this is what punditry is all about.

“Not only did you say Belgium would wear them down, you also said it would be between the 70th and 75th minute. Boy oh boy! Punditry of the tournament!”

Rio Ferdinand: “Houdini!”

[Viewers: “What?”]

Word of mouth

"I was expecting this question. There is no future now, only the European Championship. The hair changes often." – France's Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba on being asked if his black and white hair-do is a sign he wants to rejoin Italian Serie A giants Juventus. He should have told them it was a come-and-get-me plea to Notts County.

"I compare him to Zinedine Zidane in terms of skills, technique and overview, and anticipating a situation." – Former German international captain Lothar Matthaus is, it would seem, is a bit of a fan of Chelsea's attacking midfielder Kai Havertz.

In numbers: 94

That’s how many goals there were in the 36 group games, an average of 2.61 in each. Not too shabby.