Euro football loco: Austria and Germany poles apart in 'sexy football' stakes
A sideways look at the Beautiful Game
They may have lost the war, but at least Austria won a very important battle with neighbours Germany during these finals, as their topless women's soccer team comfortably dismissed their rivals 10-5 in a free-scoring encounter earlier this week.
The Austrian side -- mainly drawn from pole dancers based in Vienna -- triumphed, although there was no shirt swapping afterwards as each participant played with their national colours painted onto their bare skin. Thankfully, there was no ill-feeling afterwards as the Germans took defeat well.
"I was supposed to hold the balls but I really have no idea how to do that," said their keeper Jana Bach, "Maybe it's because I'm not all that much into football. I'm more into shoes."
Croats rejoice at emotional second coming of Klasnic
Little doubt about the most heartwarming story of the tournament so far -- excluding the topless match of course -- namely the emotion felt by Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic who made history as he scored his country's winner against Poland on Monday.
Klasnic had two kidney transplants last year, and was out of the game for nearly a year before returning to club duty with Werder Bremen in November and with Croatia in March.
"I said before the championships that this is a new football life for me, like a second life, so it feels like a dream," Klasnic said. His coach Slaven Bilic is similarly overjoyed. "We all prayed for him. We called him on the phone to encourage him, but it was actually the other way round, he encouraged us. His faith was very strong."
Alas, the fairytale can only go so far. Klasnic is likely to be back on the bench for tomorrow's quarter-final with Turkey.
"Martin, if you had been appointed England coach do you think the team would be here now? For the record, I do." -- A question, and a compliment, for Martin O'Neill as he partakes in a webchat with supporters on uefa.com.
"That is an extremely kind thing to say ... you must be related." -- O'Neill responds without responding, if you get my drift.
"Carla will undoubtedly be supporting Italy. She is a fan of Juventus, and carries Italy in her heart." -- Marisa Bruni Tedeschi, the mother of French first lady Carla Bruni (Italian-born) does her daughter a massive favour ahead of the game on Tuesday. Bruni, a model, singer/songwriter and all-round celebrity, has been a controversial figure in France where President Nicholas Sarkozy has come under fire for letting his relationship with her effectively become part of his political agenda.
"Everything was so sad, I thought life has some beautiful moments and you should tell people you love them. I wanted to show some emotion." -- What is it about French men then? Here we have another case of pleasure and business becoming intertwined when they really shouldn't. Raymond Domenech explains his stunning decision to propose to girlfriend Estelle Denis live on TV after France's embarrassing exit from Euro 2008 -- a decision described as a 'shipwreck' by L'Equipe -- although with reference to the timing and not the choice of partner.
ITALIAN BACKERS AVAIL OF TASTY PRICES
Italy were matched at a high of 7/1 to qualify from Group C on Betfair during their early struggles in Euro 2008 but Tuesday's 2-0 victory over France ensured Roberto Donadoni's men advanced to the knockout stages. Despite some unimpressive performances so far, Betfair customers were quick to pounce on all the fancy prices about the Italians going on to lift the trophy.
They had been offered at a high price of 27/1 on Betfair after their Group stage defeat by the Dutch but now head into their quarter-final clash with Spain as 11/2 joint third favourites for tournament glory. Spain trade as marginal favourites at 9/10 to advance to the semi-finals on Sunday, with Italy on offer at 11/10.
Odds available at www.betfair.com or on 1800 944 777