It's Day 6 at Euro 2020 already as the second round of games get under way.
Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov is under fire back home after that dismal display in their opening game against Belgium.
But there was some relief for the former international as Russian president Vladimir Putin held back from offering his view, with dark humour about what Siberian fate could befall Cherchesov should the side finish the finals with no points.
“The president cannot, and should not, evaluate the work of the head coach in football, this is not the prerogative of the president,” Putin’s spokesman said when asked if Putin had a view on Russia’s flopin St Petersburg.
Said to be the sixth highest-paid coach in Europe, on a basic of €2.5m, Cherchesov’s time will be up if they lose to old foes Finland today, more woe for Russia as veteran Yuri Zhirkov is unlikely to play again in the tournament.
The son of a Galway native, Finland star Daniel O’Shaughnessy made history on Saturday when he became the first player from the Finnish league to ever appear in the European Championship finals.
“I didn’t even think about it. The level and pace of the game is clearly tougher than in Finland,” says O’Shaughnessy (above), who plays for Helsinki side HJK.
Praised after for his efforts in the emotion-charged win over Denmark O’Shaughnessy, whose dad, Robert, emigrated to Finland for work reasons, will start again today against Russia, with fears back home that a solid Euros will see bigger clubs in Europe lure him away from HJK.
Brentford, who never picked O’Shaughnessy in a two-year spell there and loaned him out to Braintree, will regret their short-sightedness.
ONE TO WATCH
Nicolo Barella (Italy)
At 24, Italy’s Nicolo Barella is no spring chicken but the Inter Milan midfielder is making waves in his first major finals. a standout player against Turkey. “He is a complete international footballer. I believe that this will be confirmed at the European Championship,” says Marcello Lippi, Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning coach.
Number of the day: 45
Years since Poland’s national side last had a run like their current form. With one win in eight (and that against lowly Andorra), Poland have not been this poor since 1966, with legendary ’keeper Jan Tomaszewski labelling the tournament as “the funeral of a generation of footballers”.
Today: Finland v Russia, RTÉ 2/BBC1, 2pm; Turkey v Wales, RTÉ2/BBC1, 5pm; Italy v Switzerland, RTÉ2/ITV, 8pm.
Tomorrow: Ukraine v North Macedonia, RTÉ2/ITV, 2pm; Denmark v Belgium, RTÉ2/ITV, 5pm; Netherlands v Austria, RTÉ2/BBC1, 8pm.