Tuesday 21 October 2014

The Euro 2012 diary

Published 03/07/2012 | 05:00

There was nowhere near the amount of problems many feared following Panorama's 'Stadiums of Hate' programme, but Euro 2012 was still marred by several episodes of racism.

It began with the abuse of Holland's black players during a training session and continued with monkey chants at Mario Balotelli and Theodor Gebre Selassie, as well as the display of extremist banners during some matches.

UEFA ultimately took strong action, although they were powerless to punish the tasteless King Kong cartoon depiction of Balotelli in one Italian newspaper or the racist tweets directed at Ashley Young and Ashley Cole following England's penalty shootout exit.

'PANTSGATE'

If UEFA came down as hard on racism as they did on Nicklas Bendtner for exposing a branded pair of underwear, they would probably eradicate it overnight.

Bendtner received an £80,000 fine and one-match ban for lowering his shorts to reveal his Paddy Power boxer shorts.

When the Croatian FA were docked £15,000 less for the behaviour of their fans, which included racism offences, the backlash against 'Pantsgate' grew, with Rio Ferdinand and Vincent Kompany highly critical.

RUSSIA DAY

The scheduling of Russia's Group A match against Poland on 'Russia Day' was probably not a very good idea.

Russia fans who marched through Warsaw to celebrate their country's national holiday were confronted by Polish hooligans, leading to hundreds of arrests and several injuries.

Russia fans did not help themselves when they unfurled a giant 'This is Russia' flag in the stands of the stadium.

THE GOAL THAT NEVER WAS

The incident that really should end any debate about the need for goal-line technology.

England were winning their final Group D game against Ukraine 1-0 when John Terry acrobatically prevented Marko Devic's shot hitting the net.

Unfortunately, TV replays showed the ball had clearly crossed the line, something the referee, his assistants and the goal-line official all failed to spot.

GREEK TRAGEDY

Greece reached the last eight despite a series of controversial refereeing decisions in Group A.

Having seen Sokratis Papastathopoulos sent off in their first match against Poland for two soft yellows, they then saw a perfectly good Giorgos Fotakis goal chalked off for offside against Czech Republic.

In their final group match against Russia, captain Giorgos Karagounis was tripped in the box but was booked for diving and suspended for the quarter-finals.

Irish Independent

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