Posted: 3/27/2019


           They say that Podgorica, capital of Montenegro (Black Mountain) is the most boring capital city in the world. Not much of interest and I had to visit about 40 shops before I was able to buy one picture postcard on my visit 18 months ago.

          20 years ago, when part of Serbia NATO jets bombed the country and 6 civilians died. 12 years ago it gained its independence and less than 2 years ago joined NATO, just after a Russian plot to assassinate the Prime Minister was thwarted.

         I flew into the airport at Tivat on the stunning coast and half way to the capital I toured the UNESCO walled city of KOTOR on the fjord like Bay of Kotor, visited by huge tourist filled passenger ships year round.

         Montenegro v Kazakhstan was a 5-0 romp for the hosts who put me in the best seats on the front row of the VIP section. Opposite on the half way line is a huge banner from KOTOR and some Ultra fans at every match. Racial shouts and monkey noises greeted the black England players from that and other sections on Monday in the half filled City of Podgorica Stadium.  Also from the main stand where England players families were seated and from the left corner where Raheem Sterling had a lighter thrown at him after his goal. England came from behind to win 5-1 and make it 10 goals for the Three Lions in a week following the 5-0 win at Wembley against The Czechs.

        UEFA has charged the federation with 5 counts including racist chants, flares, failure to control fans and more. A partial stadium closure or much more serious action such as points deduction.?

       Some very exciting action on Tuesday with Denmark coming from behind 3-0 in Switzerland to tie 3-3 in added time and at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo Norway 3-3 with visitors Sweden in the 7th minute of added time.

      Scotland were shamed 3-0 in Astana, against lowly Kazakhstan before going to 211th and last place San Marino and winning  2-0. More confusion for the thousands of Scottish fans. The day of the match in Astana the city which means 'capital' was changed to NUR--SULTAN after the 78 year old dictator announced his retirement. It has been the capital since 1997 when it took over from Almaty.

       Most interesting result was at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura, the former capital of BURUNDI  where the hosts ' The Swallows of War'  tied Gabon 1-1 to secure their first ever place in an international competition. They came second in their group to qualify for the African Cup of Nations in Egypt this June, expanded from 16 to 24 teams for the first time.