On screen: Irish games

 

THE EURO ZONEA SOCCER MISCELLANY

ARE YOU one of the half dozen football fans left in the country? If so, would you fancy seeing Ireland’s games on a big screen along with your pals?

Well, you can – in Belfast. Yesterday Belfast City Council announced they would be showing all of the Republic of Ireland’s matches in Group C “on the Big Screen in the grounds of City Hall” – and all of England’s matches in Group D, starting with the clash with France on Monday.

Fortunately enough, perhaps, the teams’ games are on different days.

No alcohol will be sold or permitted on site, but non-alcoholic picnics are welcome.

There no tickets for the events and admission is free on a first come first served basis.

Flick flack: Hansi apologises for harmless helmet remark

APOLOGY OF the week, from German assistant coach Hansi Flick: “I am sorry if my unfortunate comment created irritations. It was a verbal error that should not create wrong impressions.

“I would like to apologise for my expression at the news conference and I am angry with myself because I know how sensitive we are with these issues.”

What did he say? When asked how the German wall would cope with Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kicks, he said: “I think just steel helmets and to make themselves big.”

This, he conceded in his apology, was “military vocabulary”, an accidental reference to the head-wear donned by German soldiers in World War Two.

You know, if this is setting the standard we’ll be inundated with ever-so-slightly unnecessary apologies for the next three and a half weeks.

Bale in: Caricaturist pencils Gareth into England squad

The rather splendid Portuguese caricaturist Ricardo Galvao has applied his mastery to the Spanish, English and German squads – you can see them all at behance.net. We’re guessing someone else got the job of adding the names because the bottom left fella, who looks like Stewart Downing, has been labelled Gareth Bale. That’ll go down well in Wales.

“I used to have a good feeling, but that has evaporated over the past two or three weeks. Now I think that if the Germans go through the first round, it would be a great success.” – One time German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in typically upbeat form.

Germany get Maradona vote: But Ireland a Mara-gonner as far as Diego is concerned

THE TIMES of India featured a Euro 2012 preview this week by none other than Diego Maradona, Goal.com reporting that he’d tipped Germany to win the tournament, reckoning Spain’s hopes were dashed by the loss of David Villa and Carles Puyol. Sadly, he didn’t give Ireland much hope of progressing to the knock-out stages, saying “it’s hard to see coach Trapattoni advancing in this group without the luck of the Irish”.

Harsh. It wasn’t the most in depth analysis of Ireland, it has to be said, but he did pick out three of our players: “Robbie Keane, together with Duff and Andrews in midfield.”

Robbie and Damien might be accustomed to this level of acclaim from a footballing legend – for Keith, you’d have to assume, it’s a first.

ENGLAND'S SAD 'TIME' 

LEST THEY were feeling a little short on confidence, the England squad will have got a nice boost if they spotted the latest European edition of Time magazine in the airport on their way to the Euros.

Going down with the euro: English get revenge

YOU’LL SURELY have seen by now the YouTube video of a rather large contingent of Irish fans ‘welcoming’ the English squad to their Krakow hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

As the players got off their coach they were, eh, greeted with boos and choruses of “Youll never beat the Irish, “John Terry is a racist”, “Maradona”, “Ole Ole Ole,” “Come on you Boys in Green” and even a lusty rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann.

The watching England fans were heavily outnumbered, but you have to doff your cap – according to The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter on Twitter, they responded with cries of Thierry Henry.

And: Youre going down with the euro.

Touché.

See no evil, hear no evil: Uefa manage no mention of the monkey chants

SO THEN, how did the Uefa website report on that Dutch training session which featured monkey chants directed at the black players on the pitch? Well, remember Comical There are no American infidels in Baghdad! Ali? There was a bit of that about it:

“Dutch thrill bumper Krakow crowd . . . There was a party atmosphere in Krakow . . . the Netherlands got an early taste of the tournament atmosphere when they were cheered on by around 25,000 fans at an open training session . . .

“Mild sunshine warmed the stadium and Ooohs and Aaahs regularly emanated from the stands as the players enjoyed a session of finishing practice . . .

”At one point, a Mexican wave even washed over the stands, leaving the Netherlands in little doubt how much UEFA EURO 2012 has captured the imagination of the local population. We dont train that often in front of so many people, so thats nice, said (Netherlands coach Bert) van Marwijk.

It was sometimes difficult to coach my players properly because of the noise from the fans, but the crowd was fantastic today.

“I’d say that he can probably start getting used to that kind of following,” concluded the Uefa report.

Well, hopefully not.

Dunne and dusted: ‘Fans’ say we are going through

PRESS RELEASE of the day, from Continental Tyres, Official Sponsor of UEFA EURO 2012:

“Ireland will win against both Croatia and Italy; and Richard Dunne will be the Irish player of the tournament: those are two of the key findings from a survey carried out by Continental Tyres.”

In all, 355 “committed and knowledgeable” Irish fans were surveyed, 55 per cent of them revealing that they will watch the games “with mates in the pub”, with just 33 per cent opting for “a get-together with a group of mates and watching the games in a home environment”.

What about the other 12 per cent? Not sure. Maybe they went for option (b): “And the, eh, point of this survey is?”