Kenny Cunningham's verdict on why he didn't enjoy the Euros' new-look format

"I can take my Irish hat off and put it to the side and say, no, I didn't enjoy it as much as I have done"

Kenny Cunningham

Kenny Cunningham ©INPHO/James Crombie

Kenny Cunningham says he didn't enjoy the extended format for Euro 2016.

This tournament was the first in which the European Championships were enlarged to 24 teams and the ex-Ireland defender felt that it meant Euro 2016 ended up being quite long and laborious.

"[There were] some decent games of football. I was a fan of the old format. I can take my Irish hat off and put it to the side and say, no, I didn't enjoy it as much as I have done, the European Championships," he said on Off The Ball.

"The previous format stood alone in terms of the 16 teams straight into the quarter-final stage, in terms of the quality of the teams and just in terms of the turnover of the games as well. This was too long, too elongated. For me that was the major point.

He added that in between the last-16 and the quarters, "I was back in London and I'll be honest with you, I forgot about the quarter-final game. I stumbled upon it on the television - that's how long I was waiting around. I changed the channel and a quarter-final match came up. I'd forgotten about it." 

But he found the Irish adventure to the last-16 "thoroughly enjoyable".

Off The Ball also spoke to European football correspondent Graham Hunter and French football writer Xavier Rivoire: