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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
A tournament to remember
Yugoslavia v Spain
Champion picks out Yugoslavia v Spain as the game of the tournament
BBC commentator Jon Champion gives Sport Online's Pete Lansley his assessment of Euro 2000 and picks out his star performers.

It can pay to be an all-rounder but, as Jon Champion is discovering as he leaves the European Championships behind, it also books in a heavy schedule.

The BBC commentator can claim to have gone further than England in the tournament.

But after adding the verbal backdrop to your pictures of Italy against Romania on Saturday night, Champion was headed back to his Oxfordshire home to start preparing for a busy schedule.

Fast approaching are cricket's one-day triangular tournament, the Olympic swimming trials, the start of the football season, the Olympics and the Rugby League World Cup.



There have been more really good games at this tournament than at many other recent events

Jon Champion

It all makes relaying a few matches from Euro 2000 seem a bit of a breeze.

"I'm always sad to leave major tournaments like this," said the Match of the Day regular.

"Overall I've quite enjoyed it although I seem to have managed to avoid most of the better games.


Luis Figo
One of the stars of Euro 2000, Luis Figo
"When there's been a good game, I've been at the other end of Holland or Belgium. But there have been more really good games at this tournament than at many other recent events."

Best game

The former BBC Radio Leeds man worked for Five Live at the World Cups of 1990 and 1994, commentating for BBC1 at Euro 96 and France 98.

"The best game here was Yugoslavia v Spain (3-4) although in the flesh, Yugoslavia v Slovenia, where the Slovenians were 3-0 up against 10 men, let in three in six minutes and then had a shot cleared off the line in stoppage time, was good fun.

"The ropiest game I've had to commentate on was Slovenia v Norway in Arnhem.

"The Norwegians got what they deserved: they went for the 0-0, thinking that was enough to take them through, and then hey presto, two late Spanish goals and they were out. That was turgid in the extreme."

England's demise

Champion picks out the Portuguese trio of Luis Figo, Joao Pinto and Rui Costa, the Romanian wing-back Cristian Chivu and Zlatko Zahovic, of Slovenia, as his stars of the tournament.



There are issues England need to address and they were issues that were fairly clear before the team left for the tournament

Jon Champion

"It's a shame we can't talk about any Englishmen who were outstanding," he said.

England's demise was not a major surprise to the commentator. "You lay yourself open to media criticism if you adopt the tactics England did," he said.

"I was rather surprised to read Martin Keown in the papers having a go publicly about the England manager, talking about tactical naivety.

"There are issues England need to address and they were issues that were fairly clear before the team left for the tournament.

"What amazed me is the FA talking about Howard Wilkinson, for instance, getting involved on tactics.

"How can you have an international manager who isn't in total control? I don' t understand how that would ever work. It would surely make Kevin Keegan's position untenable."

The BBC's loss of Match of the Day has obviously disappointed Champion.

"I haven't really re-assessed yet," he admitted. "I need to go home and think about everything. There's so much coming up to work on.

"I suppose it is good to be an all-rounder but my job is as a football commentator."

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See also:

25 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Zidane personifies France's quality
26 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Simply the best
25 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Hansen: This could be Kluivert's time
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