Posted: 6/15/2012


    As the Spanish team were silent during their national anthem(hym nacional) MARCHA REAL, which doesn't have any words, the Irish team were singing A SOLDIER'S TALE,(the Republic's anthem) along with their 20,000 fans in the GDANSK golden stadium.

     Even though they got taught a lesson in tiki-taka football and a 4-0 loss ( even Fernando Torres scored a brace) they later sang The FIELDS OF ATHERNY right up to the end of 90 minutes of torture for the boys in green. Both sets of fans were arm in arms and perhaps a candidate for the FIFA FAIR PLAY Award.

      Earlier, in POZNAN, one of my favourite stadiums, Italy and Croatian were all square 1-1. According to the press there were monkey chants aimed at Balotteli when he was substituted. Twice in the second half referee Howard Webb had to stop the match after smoke flares were thrown from the Croat section of the crowd.   After the Russian Federation were fined 120,000 E , the day before and given a 6 point deduction for EURO 2016 qualifications, suspended, we can expect the same punishment.Also  Germany were fined 10,000 E for paper thrown onto the field, and Portugal 5,000 E for delaying their return in the second half.

     A few years ago I was in POZNAN for an Ekstraklasa League match between Lech Poznan and visitors Polonia Warsaw.  A short ride on tram No. 6 to the Miejski Stadium, surrounded by a sea of mud as they were building for EURO 2012.  The fans jumped and stomped with their blue and white scarves twirling in the air. The stadium rocked and it was very cold. At half time in the temporary press tent I devoured three huge hot Polish sausages, as long as a donkey's tail, plus lots of hot coffee.

     Very efficient return by tram to the city centre when the heavens opened and it rained sideways.  I had not booked a hotel but had been given a name and directions on a napkin by the press chief. However, it disintigrated in the storm. I wandered around empty streets until I saw a welcoming illuminated sign FROLICK GOATS, a hostel. The goat is the mascot of the football team. What a welcome, in this almost empty place. They gave me a 4 bedded room for a very cheap price, and a hot shower, lots of free tea and the internet to myself. I loved Poznan.

       Nicklas Bendtner came off the pitch for Denmark v Portugal in LVIV and pulled up his jersey and pulled down his shorts to shown the Paddy Power advertisement on his underwear to the TV cameras on the sidelines. Hijack Marketing which both UEFA and FIFA detest.  Nike and Pepsi-Cola use it frequently. You can expect Nick to be fined, and I would hope suspended for 1 match.