independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Euro 2012 diary

THE general reviews of Euro 2012 have been positive, with games of a higher quality and entertainment value than the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Certainly, the technical ability of superior opponents made Ireland look extremely pedestrian.

Still, as UEFA used the first rest day to reflect on the competition to date, one statistic made for interesting reading.

Already, there have been 17 headed goals scored in the competition, a championship record with seven games to spare.

Ireland could do with a Liam Brady, but, evidently, a Niall Quinn or Tony Cascarino would have relished the standard of defending in the competition.

Gary Doherty is entitled to feel aggrieved.

chant of the day

'Stand up for the Boys In Green'

You've heard this one before, right? The punters sitting outside a Gdansk cafe bar on Tuesday evening were treated to a drastically different version -- from Polish operatic tenor, Wojciech Wentura.

He is clearly a football fan and was out enjoying a few drinks.

After a pitch perfect rendition of 'Nessun Dorma,' which you may associate with the 1990 Italian World Cup, the ridiculously talented Wentura turned his voice to some of the songs favoured by the travelling Irish hordes.

It was both bizarre and wonderful, especially when he dramatically switched to the 'Shoes off for the Boys in Green' tangent, removed a slick looking shoe, and waved it in the air.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

12 The total amount of goals conceded by Ireland in their four previous major tournament appearances before Euro 2012.

Placed alongside that, the nine goals shipped in Poland reflect poorly on the current generation, particularly given their reputation as a solid, defensive unit.

sad passing of james puts football in perspective

IT would be remiss not to mention the passing of James Nolan in the sports pages, for it was a love of the game that brought him to Poland.

Certainly, it's easy to be trite when speaking about the compliments dished out to Ireland fans by the locals, but the response has been genuinely warm, and news of James' disappearance made the headlines here.

The tragic conclusion has taken a gloss off the tournament.

On another sombre note, there was sadness in media circles on Monday when news filtered through that the English Daily Star's chief football writer Danny Fullbrook had passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer.

This writer encountered Danny at Euro '08 and, while some of the top English writers have a reputation for being slightly aloof, he had no such airs and graces and was extremely entertaining company.

May they both rest in peace.

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