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Hot topic: the life of a team reporter

Major tournaments are the culmination of years of work – and not just for the sides involved. Three of EURO2016.com's team reporters reveal what life is like at the heart of the action.

Hot topic: the life of a team reporter
Hot topic: the life of a team reporter ©UEFA.com

Joe Walker, Portugal team reporter (@UEFAcomJoeW): Hi guys, thanks for joining in and catching up. I'm actually in the same hotel as David yet hardly ever see him, such are our schedules! So, starting with you then David. Covering France, in France – it doesn't get much better than that, does it? Firstly, though, is this your first tournament or are you a seasoned veteran?

David Crossan, France team reporter (@UEFAcomDavid C): It's my first tournament covering France, though I was at EURO 2012 covering the group games played by England and the Netherlands.

Joe: Nice. Johann, please don't mention the score against England, but you must be living a dream?

Arnór Traustason after Iceland's win
Arnór Traustason after Iceland's win©Getty Images

Jóhann Sigurdsson, Iceland team reporter (@UEFAcomJohannS): I think it's fair to say I'm living a dream, yes. It's the dream job and it's just been made even better by all the success Iceland are having. Sending England home, playing France in the quarter-finals at the Stade de France, it's all just a fairy tale and I'm experiencing it first-hand. What about yourself?

Joe: It's my first tournament too. I wasn't sure what to expect, although I'm very lucky that my Portuguese language colleague Hugo Pietra has been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Portugal are early-risers. My alarm is often set for 6:30 and we leave our hotel around 8:00 and head to Marcoussis.

En route, it's a scan of the local and international press to see what's being said about Portugal, before prepping for and conducting player interviews, attending the daily press conference and casting an eye over training. Then we start writing stories for the website or thinking of other creative feature ideas. There's a lot of coffee involved, but in all seriousness it's a genuine privilege to do what we do. What's your typical day like?

Jóhann and Ragnar Sigurdsson, man of the match against England
Jóhann and Ragnar Sigurdsson, man of the match against England©UEFA.com

Jóhann: After breakfast we usually leave for a morning mixed zone/open training session or press conference. Sit-down interviews are held between games as well, in the afternoon. When that's done, it's all about planning upcoming interviews, thinking of stories to write and more. The days are pretty long, often until the evening, but you won't hear me complaining. What a dream job.

David: The immersion in the day-to-day affairs of a national squad is fantastic. Before the tournament opener against Romania, we'd settled into a rhythm of conducting player interviews at 11:30. I'd prepare for one interview and my French colleague Fred would do the other.

A ten-minute chat with a national team player is definitely a big privilege. Once the matches started it was about adapting on a day-to-day basis. The day before the game involves travelling to the stadium, meeting the on-site team, quick interviews with Didier Deschamps and captain Hugo Lloris, and previewing the match.

Jóhann: I travel to the city where the match is played the day before. On that day there are flash interviews held with the coaches and players. Afterwards it's a press conference at the stadium and an open training session for 15 minutes. Match day is all about the game, obviously. Filling the match page with content, meeting fans, taking pictures and just immersing yourself in everything around the game.

David shares a joke with Dimitri Payet
David shares a joke with Dimitri Payet©UEFA.com

David: On the matchday itself, we all like checking out the pre-match atmosphere. Reporters get as excited about kick-off as fans! I conduct the post-match interviews and that means leaving my seat in the stadium 80 minutes into games. France have been scoring late so three of their goals I've seen on a TV near the players' tunnel rather than live from my seat. There's more to our role than the interviews, naturally. We provide updates on social media and write articles too.

Joe: And as someone who has done a couple of tournaments, how has the role changed, even in the four short years between 2012 and 2016?

David: Technology has moved on apace, enabling reporters to share videos and photos, and file stories from mobile phones. Being a reporter nowadays is a more interactive experience. Fans and players are more tech-savvy than in 2012. This evolution allows more scope for creativity, though there's still a place for analysis and more traditional virtues.

Joe: We're into the quarter-finals now. Let's have some predictions ...

David: Antoine Griezmann top scorer, a final of Belgium v Germany with the latter taking it.

Jóhann: I agree with David on the final and the outcome. I think Mario Gomez will be top scorer, though.

Joe: One from left field – a Wales v Italy final. Gareth Bale top scorer.