Posted: 6/17/2012


      It was 1996 and the World CupThursday Final at Wembley Stadium. I was lucky to be there for the drama. England in red and West Germany in white. The goals were white, the grass was green and the ball was orange.

      As you all know, England went ahead in extra time with a dubious goal by Geoff Hurst to make it 3-2. It DID NOT go over the line. Fortunately he scored a fourth goal to win the cup and the Jules Rimet trophy.

     One thing that we can be proud of thes modern days is the playing field. Well groomed, bright green and with modern drainage and teams practising elsewhere, a great surface. ALSO, unlike other sports we don't see outrageous and ugly advertising. Contrast this with cricket, rugby, American football, basketball, ice hockey, baseball, Aussie rules etc.  However, how many times have we thought that the ball has gone in and not just outside the post at EURO 2012?

.     Suprise, suprise last night in POLAND. The hosts went out at the group stages with a 0-1 loss to the Czechs in Wroclaw, and an even bigger shocker in Warsaw where Russia lost by a similar score to Greece.  As Ireland are also going home early after their third match with Italy today after two losses to Croatia and Spain, three of the best supported teams will leave empty seats in the stadiums for late comers for the two quarter finals on Thursday and Friday in Warsaw and Gdansk will find it easier to obtain tickets and accommodation.

       Four years ago I went to Poland for the first time, on the train from Dresden in Germany to Wroclaw Glowny station, and the historic capital of Silesia. Through the Rynek, the cobbled market square with its 14th Century Town Hall. Round the corner above a shop selling automatic weapons and 2 floors up, I visited the EURO 2012 office with the model of the new Municipal Stadium on which work had not yet started.

      SLASK Wroclaw are the Polish Eksraklasa champions and their fans, called The Nobles, enjoy their steeply tiered compact 43,000 capacity home as they wave their green, white and red scarves. in both Polish and English. The City will also be the European Capital of Culture in 2016.