The Euro Zone

 

Compiled by MARY HANNIGAN

El Mundo's Julian lays it on the line: Irish football 'potatoes' gobbled up by Spaniards

SO then, what was the warmest tribute paid to the Irish team after Thursday’s hiccup? That’d be the one written by El Mundo’s Julian Ruiz, who lived up to his billing on the site as “the most passionate, visceral and provocative” of their writers.

He’d already penned a piece bemoaning the decision of Mario Gomez to play for Germany, rather than Spain, for whom he is also qualified, and in it described him as the “giant Panzer German” who could yet make his team “kings of the EuroMerkel”.

“The battleship Bismarck and Mario, the new Spanish ‘Kaiser’,” will, he fears, “unfortunately fire their guns at us”.

He also, incidentally, referred to Arjen Robben as “pigweed” in the same piece, and Cristiano Ronaldo as “a diva in decline”. He speaks his mind, this fella.

Naturally enough, then, it was with some trepidation that his views on Ireland were sought (with the usual not always top notch help of Google Translate): “Ireland looked like a rugby team . . . their technique so rough. But they could not invent a “touchdown” or produce a “scrum”, the Irish football “potatoes” got into the bag set for them by the Spanish team. Ireland did nothing more than be put in the sack of potatoes. Poor things.”

Maybe some of that was lost in translation, but you get the gist.

Ruiz, though, wasn’t hugely impressed with Spain either, describing their “tiki-taka” football as a “turgid mess” and a “bore”, “it just numbs me, cradling me like a sedative”.

He finished up by warning Spanish supporters to quit their “exaggerated optimism” about the team, that it still doesn’t have a killer instinct in front of goal (tell that to our lads). At that point our translator really began to struggle: “With this system we will be bullfighting bull calf. Croatia will be the first bull. Ireland not even that. It was a poor cow.” Thanks, Julian.

Keeping tabs: English red tops try to get their own back over cheeky Swedish spoof

THE battle of the Swedish and English tabloids carried on apace ahead of last night’s game between the countries, having already produced a spoof Daily Mirror front page Aftonbladet turned its attention to the Sun: “Smorgas-bored to death,” read the headline, with a chortling Sven-Goran Eriksson in the top corner.

The Mirror, meanwhile, gave it a lash, “Zlatastrof” its headline, accompanied by inflammatory stories alleging “Ikea is bankrupt” (which it isn’t), “Eurovision winner is Engelbert Humperdinck’s love child” and “ABBA are Norwegian”.

ABBA Norwegian? This battle’s getting ugly.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov made a bet with Swedish fan Ola Sjostedt that Ukraine would beat the Swedes in their group game – which they did – and then invited Sjostedt for a beer at the government offices in Kiev.

Which technically isn’t allowed, alcohol consumption being banned from official buildings.

Still, a nice bit of hospitality?

Over to opposition MP Mykola Tomenko:

“It is shameful and inadmissible when the leaders of the country contradict the law and the principles of defending morality by beginning to publicise consumption of strong drink during working hours and on state premises.”

And then Tomenko called on the Kiev police to step in and fine the PM.

So, differences are being set aside for the duration of the tournament.

Torres brewing up a storm: El Nino back with a bang

“The hero of Vienna, the man who gave Spain the Euros four years ago, who had more pain than glory in the World Cup in South Africa, who almost fell into an abyss at Chelsea, is back home for good.”

– El Pais doffs its cap to Fernando Torres.

“Those who said that El Nino had wet gun powder will have to stop shooting their mouths off now.”

– And Spanish paper Marca welcomed Torres home too.

“Irish stuck in the stone age. Far from advancing, they provoke nostalgia for players like John Giles and Liam Brady.”

– But then Marca turned its focus on Ireland, going down the “caveman football” route.

“I would be worried if I was Italy, because Ireland are going into the last game with nothing to play for except pride. So we’ve got nothing to worry about. We can go and hunt them down and have a go at Italy.”

– For Mick McCarthy, even an empty glass is half full.

Figures of fun: Spanish jeer us

The first from Spanish paper Marca (as posted by @dermotmcorrigan on twitter), the second by Omar Momani from the Goal.comsite.

Oooh, cruel.

Mandzukic mania

CROATIAN newspaper Vecernji List’s front page yesterday – they can’t get enough of this Supermandzo fella, known to the rest of us as Mario Mandzukic. Two games, three goals, and we don’t need to be reminded against whom the first two came.

Going Dutch: Belgians feel some cheer for neighbours

CONGRATULATIONS to the Belgian fans who put themselves up for sale on eBay – they’ve found themselves a buyer. According to the London Metro yesterday “they have been bought by an anonymous buyer for £2,400”.

After their country failed to qualify for Euro 2012, the supporters offered their services, promising to back, enthusiastically, the country of the winning bidder – and the loot would go to Unicef.

“There was one country that we were afraid would buy us – and that was Holland,” said one of the group, Lieven Scheire.

The winning bidder?

Yup: Dutch.

The Belgians supportive work could be done by tomorrow evening.

Small beer: It's a scandal

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov made a bet with Swedish fan Ola Sjostedt that Ukraine would beat the Swedes – they did – and then invited Sjostedt for a beer at government offices in Kiev. Which isn’t allowed, alcohol consumption being banned from official buildings. Still, a nice bit of hospitality?

Over to opposition MP Mykola Tomenko: “It is shameful and inadmissible when the leaders of the country contradict the law and the principles of defending morality by beginning to publicise consumption of strong drink during working hours and on state premises.”

And then Tomenko called on the Kiev police to step in and fine the PM.

So, differences are being set aside for the duration of the tournament.