THERE are many ways to get to the Ukraine. Few of them are straightforward.
You would have thought that a journey from one co-hosting country to the other would be fairly convenient, but this is a UEFA tournament. Only the lucky few have snared direct flights from Poland, and there's a reasonable chance they are UEFA delegates, travelling business class. Earlier this week, a scruffy looking hack from an English radio station ended up in the posh seats on a flight next to a man from UEFA who helpfully pointed out that the mere mortal must be in the wrong part of the cabin. When the correct ticket was produced, the UEFA man sniffily said, "Oh, they don't normally sit other people next to us." Charming.
Anyway, this weekend, the reality is that, for most people, the voyage to Kiev is either a two-flight journey or a marathon bus/train ride. Today, the Irish Independent will travel through Vienna.
Another colleague stopped over in Belarus yesterday, and Moscow is another popular stopover. But the award for the most roundabout route of the tournament goes to the ESPN crew who needed to make it from Wednesday's semi in Donetsk to Thursday's showdown in Warsaw. They eventually found a way -- by flying through Athens. UEFA can at least claim they did their bit for the Greek economy.
ronaldo spoof goes viral on twitter
THIS diary is a fan of Twitter but, like alcohol, it should be treated responsibly. It can be a home for the trigger-happy, who want to be first with the breaking news regardless of whether it's true or not.
Sometimes, this can lead to serious distress. Other times, it can lead to a truly bizarre story becoming gospel through endorsement from seemingly reputable sources.
There was a classic case of the latter yesterday, as a Ukrainian blogger posted that Cristiano Ronaldo had missed his team's flight home from Donetsk to Lisbon because he ventured off to buy a bread roll. It included a quote from Ronaldo, who was purported to have said, "buying the bread roll was a mistake." The original source of this piece was an English site specialising in spoof stories. But a Ukrainian news agency somehow picked it up, it ended up on Twitter, and within the space of an hour, it had gone around the world. A dangerous lesson.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
72 The amount of goals scored in the competition to date. There were 77 scored in Euro 2008, so tomorrow's final will need to be a classic to catch up. Credit to Boylesports, who priced the market before the competition at Over/Under 73.5 Goals. They look like being right on the cut-off point.
HEADLINE OF the DAY
'Bye bye fat ass'
The translation of the headline in Italy's 'Il Giornale' newspaper yesterday, a statement was accompanied by a picture of the villain of the week, Angela Merkel. "It's you who is leaving the Euro, Mrs Merkel," the paper continued.