Posted: 6/10/2008


   Well, we have had every team play one match, and we know that a. the host nations Switzerland and Austria won't be at the final, and that b. Greece will not keep the title that they won in Lisbon 4 years ago.

     There have been some attacking performances from the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Spanish  in particular, and the Germans and Swedes are here for the long haul. Yesterday outside my hotel in Rosenheim is a strawberry field where you can pick your own, cheaper than the grocery store, and in the shadow of the Alps, 20 minutes away. We took the train to start the day at the summer rodelbahn at at Oberaudorf, the village where FC Bayern and German national team player Bastian Schweinsteiger started his career at FV Oberaudorf and hurtled down the Brunnstein mountain past fields of Alpine flowers such as klee and margarite on our one man sleds. It's the only rodelbahn with a 360 degree turn.

    Then we got back on the train, crossed into Austria and in a few minutes were in Innsbruck, twice an Olympic city and now host to EURO 2008. It was a short walk from the Innsbruck Hbf to Maria Theresien Strasse and the start of the ONE MILE FAN ZONE, that stretched up to the Olympic ski jump mountain across the River Inn. Already the Spanish and Russian fans were out in force. In fact 6 Russian fans are spening a week at our hotel and were drinking Lowenbrau Urtyp at 7.00am when I arrived for the breakfast buffet.

 Maria Theresian Strasse has a wonderful photo opportunity tall statue, and nearby, just before the fast flowing river is the Golden Roof, a building with a supposedly solid gold roof, but its not quite so. It was built in 1500 for Maximillian I, Holy Roman Emperor, with 2,657 fire glazed copper tiles.We decided to take the train over the Brenner Pass into Sud Tirol, and the pretty town of Brixen, to get some Italian gelato, pizza and see the incredible

     We were due back in time for the match, BUT Italian railways being what they are the Inter City express was 30 minutes late in arriving in Brixen and then there was another 1 hour delay due to a problem with a train ahead.. So we arrived back in Innsbruck and decided that since the match was over we continued the 1 hour on to Rosenheim, in time to watch Sweden vs Greece. at Hotel Hoehensteiger. We had dinner with 7 Scottish pro team managers, who had been sent by the Scottish F.A. to report back on matches and training. I translated the menu for them, and whatever they ordered had to include french fries!!

   Will the Iberian Peninsula get a trophy after so many missed opportunities? The Spanish Armada with Fernando Torres, Ces Fabrigas and the hat-trick hero David Villa hope so. I have just watched Portugal win their second match 3-1 over the Czechs , so they are definately on the way to the quarter-finals. They are an exciting team and are attracting crowds of 12,000 to their training sessions.