Euro 2012 diary
The Spanish were represented in Gdynia yesterday and they had minimal interest in discussing the merits of Simon Cox with Giovanni Trapattoni.
Instead, they were obsessed with grass. The surface in Gdansk drew criticism on Sunday for being longer than the Spanish anticipated.
"This will be an advantage for you?" Trapattoni was asked. The 73-year-old stopped short of agreeing before delving into the memory bank. "I remember going to play a game in Spain with Juventus, and they watered the pitch so much it was like a swimming pool," he said. He never forgets.
curious case of the missing boxer shorts
WE will all remember the weekend in Poznan for different reasons.
On match-day morning, this reporter was wandering down the corridor of the media-dominated hotel on the outskirts of the city when a door opened and five supporters emerged, looking a tad weary from the night before.
Now, their achievement in squeezing that amount of people into a small room was fairly unremarkable; Irish followers can be even more resourceful. What followed next was more typical of the chaos that enveloped the Polish city in the space of 48 hours.
A minute later, on the long narrow walk to the lobby, one of the contingent pointed laughing at a pair of boxer shorts hanging over a stair railing. As a group, they joked about various ways in which the boxers might have ended up there. One voice remained strangely silent, however, and then the penny dropped.
"Jesus lads, I think they're mine," he said. Sure enough, upon closer inspection, they were positively identified. There was no suggestion of a prank as he dispatched them in a nearby bin.
statistic of the DAY
THE statistics UEFA produce in the aftermath of games often tell a story. They tend to be make unpleasant reading for players who have suffered a poor evening.
Aiden McGeady's stats were particularly damning. Admittedly, the Spartak man delivered a perfect cross for Sean St Ledger's goal, and he spent more time on the back foot due to Slaven Bilic's attacking deployment of Darijo Srna at right full.
However, given what McGeady is capable of, the fact that he registered no shots on goal is disappointing. But even more surprising is that the winger wasn't fouled. By contrast, his replacement, Simon Cox, did unleash one effort, and also won a pair of free kicks.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
92 Glenn Whelan's percentage passing success rate in the first half on Sunday, a figure that may have come as a slight surprise. Sadly, at this level, the bad balls are often remembered, and the Stoke man made a key error in the lead-up to the second goal. But this stat illustrates why Trapattoni likes him so much.