Monday 18 December 2017

Euro 2012 diary

It's Irish week in Montecatini, although it's hard to know what exactly the local authorities were expecting from the presence of Giovanni Trapattoni's side in this sleepy enough place.

The only Irish present are the team, their support staff and around 30 media, so there isn't exactly an abundance of punters around the place to enjoy the festivities on offer. But then it's hard to know what exactly is on offer.

The main flavour of Irish week appears to be bunting on various cafes and bars, with pictures highlighting key three facets of our culture -- namely, a shamrock, the FAI crest and a leprechaun.

There's also a selection of green bicycles available for use. Last night's cocktail reception for the visitors and talk of a golf game tomorrow appear to be the official highlights, but one hopes that the good people of Montecatini are in this for the pride rather than to make a few quid as they could be sorely disappointed.

NEW BALLS PLEASE

Ten years from Saipan, another controversy surrounding the whereabouts of the footballs in a pre-tournament training camp.

But it was kitman Dick Redmond that was fuming in Montecatini yesterday.

When errant Irish shots flew out of the training pitch into the housing area behind the goal of this quaint little stadium in a residential area, local kids were running off with their find rather than throwing them back.

Redmond complained to Marco Tardelli, but to no avail. Seconds later, a stray volley scaled the surrounding gates, never to return.

ITALIAN PHRASE

OF THE DAY

"Quali sono la disparità su questo gioco?" -- A topical phrase on the day that's in it. It means: "What are the odds on the game?" -- something which the people implicated in the Italian match-fixing scandal may or may not have said in the events that led to the investigation.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

Players who were present in Trapattoni's first training camp in the Algarve in 2008 that are still around this week.

Several senior players skipped that week, but some fresh blood was drafted in.

The survivors are: Damien Duff, Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt, Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane, Kevin Foley, Shane Long, Keiren Westwood and Glenn Whelan. For the latter pair, it was a first call-up.

Irish Independent

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