Eurotrash: Who thought Wales wouldn’t make it this far? Loads, apparently

English media’s relentless Sterling bashing. Iceland selection policy and more

Wales’ Chris Gunter celebrates after beating Belgium to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals. Gunter will now miss his brother’s wedding to play in the match. Photo: Reuters

Wales’ Chris Gunter celebrates after beating Belgium to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals. Gunter will now miss his brother’s wedding to play in the match. Photo: Reuters

 

Oh Ye Of Little Faith: The Welsh Edition

(3) “My wife said the tickets came through the post and said: ‘It’s the 30th Neil, that’s four days’ time.’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s a bit of a problem.’” – Wales’ Neil Taylor on buying tickets for Beyonce in Cardiff for the day before their quarter-final.

(2) “My parents are fuming. The day of the wedding is the seventh, so I’m not sure what he’d do if we got to the final. He might be divorced by then.” – Wales’ Chris Gunter on the unfortunate timing of his brother’s wedding in Mexico – it takes place the day after the semi-final against Portugal, making it a little tricky for guests to attend both occasions. Not least Chris - who was due to be the best man. “I think it will be the first best man’s speech ever on Skype.”

(1) Dean Saunders using Birmingham Airport’s short stay car park as he set off for punditry duty on Wales’ games with the BBC a fortnight ago. “I’m going to have a £1,000 parking bill when I get back, that’s how confident I was,” he said, adding that he’s also run out of clothes having only brought enough for 10 days. Happily, Birmingham have offered to waive his bill should Wales win the tournament, so expect Saunders to be quite emotional should they prevail.

Cardiff Airport, incidentally, tried to get in on the PR act, tweeting that they had some good news for Saunders - only to be told he hadn’t flown out from there so it had nothing to do with them. “Cardiff goes to France via Greenland. S**t airport,” said one responder, to which another replied: “I like that route.” The name? ‘Suicidal seagulls.’

Word of mouth I

“After Poland-Portugal, the Belgium-Wales quarter-final was a long, sweet happiness, as if the football Gods wanted to apologise.” – L’Equipe. All is forgiven.

Word of mouth II

“If you don’t know somebody you know somebody who knows him, or you know somebody who knows somebody who knows him.” – Alfred Finnbogason on his native Iceland, which sounds rather close-knit.

Word of mouth III

“I’d love to be boss again.” – Sven-Goran Eriksson on the England vacancy. And with that the ‘Bring Back Roy’ campaign began.

Interesting Iceland selection policy

When Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs was asked on Twitter “where did you find these players mate?”, the person making the query surely cannot have anticipated so detailed and splendiferous a reply, entitled ‘How Iceland National Football Team Was Selected’.

The sum began with Iceland’s population, 332,529, and then subtracted “Women (165,259), Men < 18 yrs old (40,546), Men > 35 yrs old (82,313), Overweight (22,136), Busy in the whale sightseeing industry (1,246), Busy in earthquake surveillance (314), Busy in volcano surveillance (164), Busy as sheepherders (1,934), Busy sheep shearing (1,464), Imprisoned bankers (23), Blind (194), Sick (7,564), Working in hospitals, police and fire brigade (564), Icelandic fans in the stadium (8,781), Team doctor and physiotherapist (2), Team massage therapist and water carrier (2), Busy managing the national football team (7). (The Coach is from Sweden)”.

What’s left? Twenty three, ie the Icelandic squad. All selected by a process of elimination, then.

Romania do the maths

It was back in March that Romania’s training shirts ahead of their friendly against Spain caused some puzzlement because they featured maths’ equations rather than regular numbers. It turned out, though, that the players were just doing their bit to help promote a national programme designed to improve the maths skills of the country’s children.

And at least one English school, Cheam Park Farm in London, is also using football to help kids sharpen their maths ability, although as the Mirror pointed out, it’s a touch harsh on Wales’ Joe Ledley. Gareth Bale knows his shaded rectangles, Joe’s at a loss.

Note to Twitter users

One is a British supermarket chain, with an emphasis on the sale of frozen foods.

The other is an island country in the North Atlantic that has done rather well at Euro 2016.

By the numbers

1: They might not have made it to Euro 2016, but Scotland tops one particular list related to the tournament – the country that is buying the most number of Iceland shirts since they beat England. “There are thousands and thousands of orders from Scotland,” said Fabrizio Taddei, the head-scratching export manager for Iceland’s kit-makers Errea. Rascals.

5: That’s how many players Crystal Palace still have at Euro 2016 (Wales’ Wayne Hennessey, Joe Ledley and Jonny Williams and Yohan Cabaye and newly-signed Steve Mandanda of France). Only Bayern Munich have more (eight). Wacky.

The Sun seriously stretching it on the Sterling bashing

A chunk of the English media, you might have noticed, appears to have concluded that Raheem Sterling is solely and entirely responsible for England’s Euro 2016 woes, The Sun in particular targeting the 21-year-old with that “Obscene Raheem” front page headline over a story about the “shamed winger” posting a video of himself “flaunting his millionaire wealth” by showing off a “lavish mansion and expensive fleet of supercars”. It turned out, of course, that the house was one he had bought for his mother as a thank you, but that snippet of unhelpful information was somewhat overlooked.

Was that the worst of it? Not quite. Football 365 picked up on a tweet by The Sun linking to an article about a semi-professional footballer escaping from police custody after being sentenced to jail for possessing cocaine with intent to supply. And the photo they used to illustrate the article? Yes, Raheem Sterling. His connection with the escaped offender? None. Whatsoever.

How, then, did The Sun link the pair? Well, their caption on the footballer’s photo, which was later removed, suggested that the convicted drugs dealer was ‘attempting to emulate Sterling’s lavish lifestyle’. Two words: ‘good’ and ‘grief’.

The best bit of Euro 2016-related merchandise so far spotted?

That’d be the wondrous Hal Robson-Kanu oven gloves, as shared by Sky News’ Paul Kelso.

Craig Nicholson was puzzled: “Ask a silly question: why?”

Butlins McCarthy tried to help him out: “Too hot to handle?”

Boom.

No chance of Zaza living that run-up down

Simone Zaza’s penalty against Germany? As the cruel people on the internet put it, he was “the first player to take more steps in the run up to a penalty than in a game itself” after he came on as a sub at the death purely for his, well, penalty-taking skills.

The Sport Bible produced his heat map for the game. Poor lad.

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