With just four teams left in the European Championships of 2016 there have already been 20 nations dumped out of the competition. Managers have lost their jobs, players have retired from international duty and fantasy football followers have made more transfers than Harry Redknapp on speed on transfer deadline day. But one thing cannot change… and that is your home nation and which country you support… or can it?

With all the home nations’ players taking early trips home (except Wayne Rooney who upset many England fans by jumping straight on a luxury £120,000 per week yacht) people tend to feel the need to support a remaining team for the competition to hold their interest. With Portugal, Wales, Germany and France remaining in the competition the question of who to support becomes an interesting one.

As a long suffering England fan I have become adept at finding a fondness in my heart for other teams but after hearing how many Wales fans were desperate for England to lose to Iceland should the usual support offered to other home nations be extended? Perhaps not.

What about the Spanish fans? Certainly any Real Madrid fans could be licking their lips at the prospect of Gareth Bale and his Welsh side taking on Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese side. Perhaps a similar dilemma exists for the Spanish though as it does for the English in supporting their neighbouring country.

Germany and France will do battle in the second semi final in what looks highly likely to involve the winner of the entire competition. So glory hunters might want to opt for the semi being played on July 7th for their new found team to follow. With France being the home nation there is some romanticism in supporting them to win it, but can they overcome an uber-efficient Germany side? One thing is for sure – Germany won’t be winning many English fans over any time soon.



Of course, many hardcore national fans will find it impossible to switch allegiances to another country, no matter how temporary the affinity. In this case, there is only one thing for it – and that is to load up on your favourite fantasy football site and back the players rather than the countries. Whether it is The Sun Dream Team, McDonald’s Euro 2016 Fantasy Football or our very own Premier Punt daily fantasy football betting platform, you will easily find a way to sustain your interest in the Euro’s a little while longer.

So the next question is who to back. Whether you are opting for a Premier Punt daily game or a more regular fantasy football game you are going to need players that can have an impact. Both games are likely to be tight and cagey affairs as the seriousness of reaching a major final will be hanging in the air and so defenders could be key.

Ashley Williams has already chipped in with 2 goals in the competition and is priced right and with Portgual looking a little lax at times he could bring a clean sheet too. Gareth Bale has the edge on Ronaldo for me although every poll suggests they can’t be split. Wales could be the ones to back with their team spirit helping to see them through.

The Germany and France game has to point to one player. A player who had a phenomenal Premier League season and one that has simply shone at this tournament so far – and that is Dimitri Payet. The Frenchman has 3 goals so far and has looked sublime in every single game. Antoine Griezmann leads the race for the Euro 2016 golden boot with 4 goals and should be another for consideration.

Strangely, I see more goals in the Germany Vs. France game than the Portugal Vs. Wales game so stocking up on attacking players from the host nation’s fixture is probably a better bet – it is also likely they will have a better final than Wales or Portugal… but who will be in the final? Your guess is as good as mine.

Before you go and load up your Premier Punt game to win some cash in one of our daily games, let me just get you in the mood by leaving you with that visual image of Harry Redknapp once again… transfer deadline day… let your imagination do the rest.

Now go and make those transfers.



Footballers have some of the biggest egos on the planet and when they are off the pitch they are all for blinging it up. Whether they are wearing a ridiculously expensive watch, a not so trend setting lime green jacket or wearing diamond earrings that equate to the GDP of a small nation, most footballers are not renowned for styling down their looks.

So it must be absolute torture when they step on to a football pitch and find themselves bound to the strict rules and regulations that forbid them from wearing jewellery and enforce them to wear a uniform. Now of course, the elite players customise their footwear but for some players this is not enough. Hairstyle is perhaps the one feature that allows footballers to express themselves on a football pitch… that is except for you know… actually playing football.

International tournaments never fail to bring out the best (and worst) in great footballing haircuts and this year’s offerings at Euro 2016 are no disappointment. With the Euro 2016 quarter final predictions on most people’s minds, we want to step aside from the seriousness for a few moments and celebrate the best barnets left in the competition.



A huge game awaits the Welsh on Friday in Lille and they can probably see a way through to the final if they beat the nation rated number one in the world according to Fifa rankings – that is if they are not blinded by some frankly stupendous haircuts.

The number one highlight (check out our hair terminology) has to be Aaron Ramsey. Having been likened to a Bond villain and perhaps looking more like a Backstreet Boys throwback he certainly caught the eye for more than his footballing ability when Wales opened up against Slovakia in their opening game.

Gareth Bale warrants a mention with his typical Galactico locks on show and Joe Ledley sports perhaps the best beard in the entire competition whilst Jonathan Williams was party to plenty of jeers from the England fans when they faced the Welsh – although there’s not much you can do about a receding hairline (although if he’s feeling bad about that then he should just check out Roman Zozulya of Ukraine and he’ll think he has nothing to worry about.

Belgium have some brilliant hair do’s of their own with Marouane Fellaini being a familiar one to followers of the Premier League. But top bill for the top team has to go to Radja Nainggolan who sports a shaved back and sides topped off with a very unique blonde mohawk. Framed beautifully with an impressive (and rather painful looking) neck tattoo and tramline eyebrows, Nainggolan looks like he’d be more at home with some of the off the pitch action than that of the beautiful game.



As the home nation France can pretty much do what they want when it comes to style, culture and fashion. Paul Pogba has never been one to shy away from the spotlight when it comes to style and he certainly wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of an international spotlight when it came to the careful planning of his Euro 2016 haircut. Some might say that his latest effort is pretty understated compared to earlier versions during his career but he has always been partial to the shaving of patterns in his hair. The latest rendition looks pretty labour intensive in terms of the maintenance but it’s not a patch on the ‘POGBOOM’ that he had previously. The Gallic rooster that he has shaved in to his hair and then dyed blonde is found on the French badge and is a nice touch – top marks for patriotism.

On a footballing note it looks like the French will have a very good chance of winning another tournament that they are hosting and they look clear favourites to go through. A tough encounter awaits in the semi-finals for them thought, but if they get through that then they could well justify a punt. Why not fill up on French players in our daily fantasy football game?



The super efficient against the super stylish and it is perhaps surprising that there are not more hair-do’s to talk of in this Euro 2016 quarter-final fixture. The Germans like to express themselves on the pitch and this looks set to be a classic encounter. The one classic top mop that we put the spotlight on has to be Stephan El Shaarawy of Italy. With the tallest hair in the competition (standing at 8.9cm) he resembles more a porcupine than international footballer but his prickly appearance might put off those Germans not wanting to feel his prick.

We’d love to hear your favourite hairstyles of Euro 2016 so why not tweet us your selections at @premierpunt and we will keep our eyes open for any new additions as players look to capitalise on the exposure of semi-finals and the final of Euro 2016.


After sixty-eight years of dedicated conservatism Roy Hodgson decided to roll the dice at EURO 2016 last night. Like a desperate man in the last stakes saloon in a Las Vegas casino he went broke. My only question is, why? He made six changes to a winning side that still needed another win to secure top position in the group and most likely a game against a third place team and almost certainly passage to the quarter finals. Given his departing boss’ comments at the weekend regarding the criteria for Roy getting a new contract, he stated that a semi-final or a tough defeat in the quarter finals would secure his future, his team choice was even more baffling.
Following a 0-0 draw England will face a runner-up from group F, that potentially includes Ronaldo’s Portugal, should they survive that the likely outcome would be a quarter-final against the host nation. As winners of the group wales could face the mighty Albania…. enough said.
So what induced this madness in Roy’s thinking? ‘Cautious’ is an adjective that has followed Roy throughout his career, so what was his thought pattern when he sat down with Gary Neville and Ray Lewington and said “I’m dropping the two best players from our first two matches lads, Rooney and Walker are out”? and more importantly, what was their reply? If it wasn’t along the lines of “are you f*****g mad boss?” then they really aren’t doing their job, are they?
The truth is that given the quality of player that Hodgson brought in it shouldn’t really have been seen as a gamble. Most pundits expected Vardy and Sturridge to replace the supposedly exhausted Harry Kane and the poor Raheem Sterling. Replacing Dele Alli with Jordan Henderson was understandable as Alli had not been his usual dynamic self. Changing full backs is unnecessary, a back four should be left to bond as a unit, suspensions will eventually break it up naturally. Replacing the skipper with Wilshere was counter-productive, Rooney is a player who needs to play to maintain his fitness and momentum. More significantly he is not a great substitute mainly due to the fact that he very rarely starts on the bench and hasn’t done so throughout his career.
So what went wrong? Basically it comes down to poor finishing and can Hodgson be blamed for that? He picked the two players every journalist and pundit were calling for, both missed very decent chances. Adam Lallana has yet to score an international goal and should have last night. Slovakia defended as if their lives depended on it last night and blocked several goal bound efforts, they were difficult to break down and played with eleven men behind the ball for most of the evening.
Jack Wilshere looked short of match fitness and was replaced by Rooney after the hour mark. Will that be the last we see of one of Roy’s favourite player’s? Where is Ross Barclay? Will he be given a chance in the last sixteen game? A year ago Barclay was flavour of the month, this year many feel he was lucky to make the squad and might not get on the pitch.
Roy defended his selections by saying that he trusts his squad and players need to be kept ticking over, all of which is perfectly true, as long as the results follow, otherwise ……well Roy knows exactly what to expect.

Over & Out
Cheeky Punt


I saw the best pass of the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament last night even though there are still thirty games left in this overblown format. It came from the outside of Andres Iniesta’s right foot and split the Turkish defence wide open and lead to what will be the best team goal of the tournament.
Iniesta made ninety-nine passes in the game, including creating three chances for team mates, eighty-seven of which were in the opposition half. His man of the match performance was highlighted on BBC’s Match of the Day highlight’s programme last night when they analysed Spain’s glorious second goal scored by Alvaro Morata. The twenty-two pass move which started in their own six-yard box included six passes by Iniesta, one of which was a raking fifty-yard cross field pass and another was the defence splitting ball which allowed Jordi Alba to unselfishly lay it off to Moratta for a tap-in. The only blemish in this passage of play was that Alba was marginally offside when he made the run for Iniesta’s through ball, thank goodness the linesman missed it.
The fifty-yard Crossfield pass made by Iniesta in the build-up to the goal was a magnificent change of play from the Catalonian. He picked out Jordi Alba on the opposite touch line just when the move appeared to have fizzled out, in fact he was at walking pace when he made it. I find it strange when a top player from Spain, Italy or France makes these type of passes they are righty lauded as masters of the midfield with fantastic vision and ability, a Pirlo for example or a Pogba from France or indeed Iniesta or Xavi from Spain, but when an Englishman like Wayne Rooney does it it gets described as a ‘Hollywood pass’ the inference being that it has no real purpose other than to make the exponent of the pass look good. Strange.

Anyway the Spaniards have now moved to the top of the betting as favourites to win the tournament following that fantastic display. The statistics would also back the turf accountant’s decision to cut their odds. They have not lost a tie at the Euro finals since being beaten by Portugal in 2004 and have not conceded a goal in a competitive match for 690 minutes. They have improved their defence with Ramos and Pique, who was also outstanding yesterday, performing well as a pair despite their ongoing twitter spats and being backed up with one of the world’s top keepers in David DeGea behind them, a vast improvement on the 2014 world cup version of Iker Casillas.
My only disappointment with this team is that Iniesta is not the captain, he deserves to be the man who lifts the trophy in July. He has been a leader in the squad for over ten years and this could well be his last major championship, Ramos has at least another world cup in him but we may not see the little genius again.
Over & Out
Cheeky Punt



Not since 1958 have Wales competed in a major international tournament. 58 years on since they controversially qualified for a World Cup when they finished second in a group to Czechoslovakia (who were disqualified due to growing global political tensions) there have been tensions closer to home resulting from a certain Real Madrid Galactico’s press conference ramblings.

There is no doubting Gareth Bale’s footballing credentials as one of the best talents in the world and he was possibly at least half joking when he stated that not one England player would get in to the Wales team, but his light hearted comments have caused a stir in the media and have certainly given us some time to ponder and given the press something to pester Roy Hodgson with.

Wales certainly got off to a better start than England in their first Euro 2016 group game with a solid if not spectacular win over Slovakia who also earned their first win of the tournament over a hapless Russia side on Wednesday. Solid is a word that may have been used to describe England’s opening game against Russia last weekend until the unthinkable happened in the dying seconds of the game. The result of these last minute defensive jitters is the usual England fan pessimism mixed with the odd dash of ye olde optimism which could be result in a cocktail that is more akin to a Dark and Stormy than a Screaming Orgasm.

England have won a world cup since Wales last competed in a tournament of the magnitude of France Euro 2016 but with the fans of both British sides demanding nothing less than a victory – something has to give. England have won all four of their recent competitive games against their rivals which includes two World Cup and two European Championship qualifiers that date back to 2004.

Statistics almost go out of the window with the nature of this football match and with the pride of two nations (that couldn’t sit closer in geographical terms) at stake the game is set up perfectly for the neutrals.

The star player on the pitch in the England Vs. Wales fixture will of course be Gareth Bale who ironically is the player who ignited this discussion in the first place and he is certainly one player who would walk straight in to the England team, but are the Welsh really that good at football – or would each and every one of their players keep an Englishman out if they were Welsh (you know what we mean)?


With all but two of the Welsh team that is expected to start against England playing either in the Premier League or the Spanish Primera League there is certainly a fair amount of pedigree.


Joe Hart is at the top of his game for club and country and England are fairly well blessed in this department. Wayne Hennesey is a good choice for Wales but I think most Welsh fans would take Joe Hart and after plying much of his trade in Shrewsbury in his early days he is probably not too unfamiliar with the Welsh.


The England defensive set up has been much maligned but their full backs are far more likely to have freedom to attack than the Welsh. That being said, the Welsh have plenty of options defensively and Ashley Williams and Ben Davies are standout players who could keep out English defenders. Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling could have legitimate concerns over getting in this Welsh side.


The central midfield areas are pretty competitive and this could be a key battle in the winning of this game. Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey are the two players in the Welsh team that would pose a serious question to the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli Adam Lallana and Wayne Rooney – head any further in to the squad and with the exception of Jack Wilshere (who is still searching for full fitness) and it is hard to pick many players who would keep Ramsey and Allen (or the Welsh Pirlo as he has been affectionately nicknamed) at bay.


The front men for England are some of the best that have been at their disposal at any time. Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney still need to prove they can perform in a major competition but their recent form is excellent and any of them would force their way past Reading’s Robson-Kanu. That being said – Kanu is currently ahead of all of them in goals scored in the tournament but how many of you have him in your fantasy football team.

So whether Gareth Bale was being 50% serious or not, there is probably around 50% truth in his statement. History shows that England should win and most likely without conceding a goal – but stats and history count for little in a game of this magnitude. I know one thing – I will be putting Gareth Bale in my Premier Punt singles game.