WHILE a dozen players took to the golf course on Wednesday, a smaller group made their way to Florence to take in some culture.
Fulham duo Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff were among the contingent, and the latter confirmed yesterday that the lads did try to go into the famous 'Galleria degli Uffizi', a huge museum which includes renowned work by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli among others.
Alas, their plans to visit were scuppered.
"We got to the outside of it, saw the queue, so we decided to turn around," sighed Duff.
"We just saw the cathedral and a few other things, so it was nice. I'm always a fan of going to cities and taking in the sights, and I'll definitely be coming back."
If you see a Duffer-to-Fiorentina rumour on a slow news day, you know where the rumour started.
italy look to balotelli
for some normality
AFTER a fairly traumatic week, Italy try and return to normality tonight when they meet Russia in a friendly in Zurich.
The latest match-fixing allegations which robbed them of Domenico Criscito and then the earthquake which forced the cancellation of their friendly with Luxembourg halted their preparations considerably.
Cesare Prandelli will attempt to make up for lost time tonight, and has told local media he plans to experiment with different formations -- something which his old mentor Trapatttoni has little intention of doing.
Most intriguingly, Prandelli is thinking of partnering the volatile attacking duo Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.
Both are unique characters, and that could really go either way. Trapattoni will be watching from afar with interest.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
2000 A survey by Continental Tyres, a sponsor of Euro 2012, suggests this is the amount of euro that the average Irish fan will be spending on their trip to Poland. It seems plausible, although the same poll says that 82pc of those travelling have secured their tickets. Judging on the amount of people who are known to be going without guaranteed entry to their chosen games, this seems optimistic; or else estimates of 20,000 Irish visitors are wildly off the mark.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Ohhhh, and in even more interesting news, a bird delicately s*** on my shoulder yesterday."
Giovanni Trapattoni told his players to use Twitter sensibly during the competition, warning them against serious discussion of team matters. So, there was a distinct lack of tweets about the Kevin Foley situation. But we did get this from Sean St Ledger yesterday.