Bird & Bird held its annual inter-office football tournament in Milan this autumn.

The sun beat down and temperatures reached a scorching 35° as teams from Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden battled it out.

Eight countries, TwoBirds, one tournament.

The England team was led by assistant Ben Blackaby and featured some “absolutely superb” performances from business development manager Larry ‘twinkletoes’ Cattle, according to self-anointed “fat bloke in goal”, partner Chris Holder.

The English cruised through the first round but drew the French in the semi-final, a tough game that finished 1-1. Holder’s bulk won the day in the penalty shoot-out as the French struggled to beat his sixfoot-four, 52-stone frame.

And so to the final. England were up against the old enemy Germany and were leading 2-1 with just seconds to go when Germany equalised with the goal of the tournament.

And so the dreaded penalties. Visions of Pearce, Waddle and Southgate filled the minds of the nervous Brits.

Cheeky German partner Fabian Niemann told Holder he’d put the ball in the top right-hand corner. Holder, taking him at his word, went that way, but Niemann hit it bottom right. He swore he’d miskicked it.

But Holder had the last laugh as England broke the German hoodoo and ended 30 years of hurt to emerge victors.

“There were a couple of celebratory libations had,” grinned Holder.