Watching France gain a measure of revenge for the World Cup final defeat last night in St-Denis was a thrill unmatched by anything in this year's Finals tournament. Two superb strikes by Sydney Govou, and enough chances missed that might have resulted in Italy's worst-ever defeat had they been taken. Of course, the pressure of Berlin was off and France would gladly swop this victory for the trophy they lost two months ago, but after Zidane and Materazzi (both of whom were absent and whose names were chanted by their respective fans) this was satisfying. Italy are in serious danger of emulating their performance of seven straight defeats after their last World Cup win in 1982 (in the last three weeks they have lost two and drawn one) and the resurgent Scots look like they might make a push for second place, if they hold their nerve.
Ireland may as well give up trying to win Group D on goal difference, after Germany won 13-0 away to San Marino. Thankfully the Czechs cancelled out most of the Slovak's goal-margin by winning 3-0 in Bratislava. But our lack of penetration up front worries me.
Hats off to NornIron, who beat Spain for only the second time in their history,3-2, with a hat-trick from David Healy, the same man that humbled England this time last year. Healy now has 23 goals from 51 internationals, which is a tally better than many more vaunted strikers. A bit of fun can be had perusing this post-mortem from unofficial Real Madrid fanzine Marca. By way of diversion there is also this humorous piece that has the Bible of Spanish football choking on its paella: Celtic new-boy Bad Thomas Gravesen dissing Fabio Capello and the merengues. And he says something nice about fellow slap-head Lee Carsley too.