Euro 2012 diary
A day off for the players yesterday meant bad news for Alan Kelly. News pages and the airwaves still needed filling, so the goalkeeping coach was drafted in for a rare media outing, waving to the cameras as he arrived.
Kelly is an expert in self -deprecation and was conscious that he was plugging a hole rather than being requested because of his star status.
Nevertheless, his appearance was an extremely helpful exercise.
Messrs Trapattoni and Tardelli have done their bit to learn the language, but from a clarity point of view, Liam Brady is missed. During the first two years of this regime, Brady often shed light where there was darkness.
If readers are sometimes perplexed by the messages emanating from the top table, the same applies to the press. Adding Kelly to the rota on a more regular basis might help, even if he's only the goalkeeping coach... although, you wonder if the confusion suits the needs of the gaffer.
German preparations reach a new loew
Germany are many people's favourites to lift the trophy, and they certainly seem to have a relaxed approach to preparations.
Manager Joachim Loew has permitted sex, alcohol and smoking in his team's Gdansk base, although the actual level of partying allowed is more Oliver Bierhoff than Oliver Reed. The players are allowed to have a beer before bed as it's been proven that a solitary drink has no ill-effects.
But Loew has also decided against emptying the mini-bars, so there is a certain level of trust involved. Similarly, he is allowing wives and girlfriends to visit the hotel, yet is unsure if they will be allowed to stay overnight.
Next week, Giovanni Trapattoni's squad will have their other halves in Sopot, but the players must go and see them at their hotel and return to the team base at a respectable time.
Loew has received good press for his approach and that's hardly a surprise, seeing as the Germans have also spent €500,000 on the media facilities for their entourage.
POLISH PHRASE OF DAY
"Nie mowie dobrze po polsku"
Meaning, "I don't speak Polish very well." A very relevant statement, not just for Irish fans travelling to Poland, but also for this diary. It seems that some of the suggested phrases in our Euro 2012 mag on Tuesday have baffled some Polish readers...
NUMBER OF THE DAY
59 The percentage of possession that Ireland had in the first half of Monday's friendly with Hungary, a slightly surprising statistic, given that the natives had the best chances, with even Trapattoni admitting his side were lucky. Still, the possession stat is in contrast to other games where Ireland's system was exposed.