The Euro Zone



French demons awake: Malouda fears the wheels will come off if egos are not parked

“What I saw the other night awoke some demons in me . . . balance is fragile and, when you start thinking you’re at the Euros to shine individually, then the wheels can start to come off. If we don’t sort things out before Saturday then the defeat could be heavy.”

– France’s Florent Malouda? Fired up, ready to go (home, by the sounds of him).

“No, I don’t think we should offer our apologies . . . . losing is part of football, too. You only apologise if you’ve done something with a bunch of friends that you shouldn’t have done. Or when you’re having an argument with your wife.”

– A somewhat unrepentant Nigel De Jong after that early Dutch exit.

“A boy from Croxteth should not use hair product.”

– Jamie Carragher unimpressed by Wayne Rooney’s hair-do pampering. Just wait til he does a ‘Because I’m worth it’ ad.

“To Ronaldo, it must be the same if the fans talk about his mother or Messi. If that concerns him, he needs to grow up.”

– Johan Cruyff with some gentle advice for Cristiano: ignore the boo boys.

Unter alles: quiet anthem

ACCORDING TO Stavros Drakoularakos in the Guardian yesterday, the Greek Tourism Bureau has contacted the major television networks covering Euro 2012 to ask them to ensure the crowd volume “will be set at its lowest while the German national anthem plays” before tonight’s quarter-final.

Their concern is the Greek support will not give the anthem the respect it deserves, and presumably, fewer Germans will go to Greece on their holidays. So, do not adjust the sound on your telly if The Deutschlandlied seems a little muted.

The Greek media have been in overdrive. As one newspaper put it: “Get us Merkel now.”

They will have that wish, after the German chancellor announced she would attend the match.

I'm number one: Why try harder?

Reasons to love Mario Balotelli, part 376:

“I’m fit enough,” said his face during training in Krakow. As for his ability to control the ball with his head? Second to none. 

Garrincha and friends

IT LOOKED like those photos of Andres Iniesta being surrounded by five Italian players and six Croatians would be hard to be beat, but doing the rounds yesterday – a photo of Brazil’s Garrincha against Mexico in 1962. Add the Mexican goalkeeper to his eight team-mates in the frame, and it means just two of them were marking the rest of the Brazilian team. That can’t have been wise?

Anyway, it puts Iniesta’s close attention in the ha’penny place.

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