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Pants

Niklas Bendtner has been told he cannot continue to play in the sponsored underwear he exposed after scoring for Denmark against Portugal on Wednesday night.

After scoring his second goal of the night he pulled up his shirt and lowered his shorts to reveal a pair of green boxer shorts with Paddy Power written on them.

Denmark’s communications director Lars Berendt told Ekstra Bladet: “We have spoken to the player and he will not play in those [underpants] against Germany on Sunday.”

I should hope not. The least a player of Bendtner’s statue should expect is a clean pair of pants every game.

The striker, meanwhile, insisted he did not know that he had done anything wrong.

“It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament,” he said, somewhat disingenuously. “I didn’t know that I was breaking any rules but I am aware of that now.”

He may have a point. It’s not like he was scoring every week for Sunderland. It could have been months since he last celebrated a goal.

Bendtner could face UEFA sanction for his behavious. UEFA regulations for Euro 2012 require that “all kit items worn during the final tournament must be free of any sponsor advertising”.

Good old UEFA. They’d never let commercial considerations interfere with the business of running a football tournament.

The gif that keeps on giving

Cristiano Ronaldo awarded himself 10 out of 10 for his performances for Real Madrid last season. It would be interesting to hear how highly he rates his performances for Portugal at Euro 2012. Probably a 9.5.

Goal of the day

If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, again. Unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo of course, in which case it would be better to take a break. For Robin Van Persie though, persistence paid off with this wonderfully struck shot from the edge of the area in Holland’s 2-1 defeat to Germany.

Quote of the day

“This time last year Messi was eliminated from the Copa America which they were playing at home. That’s worse right? I’m here fighting to move on to the next round of the Euros.”

Cristiano Ronaldo responds to opposing fans chanting ‘Messi’ at him during Portugal’s 3-2 victory over Denmark. The key to discouraging fans from mocking you Cristiano, is to ignore them and pretend that you’re not bothered. I’m not sure ‘Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, quite achieves that.

Dutch courage

As reported in posts passim, all is not well in the Dutch camp. Players were turning on each other and coach Bert Van Marwijk was fighting a losing battle trying to maintain order among a group of ego-maniacs. The losing battle is now lost. After Wednesday’s defeat to Germany he has abandoned attempts at diplomacy and joined in the bitch-fest.

Not for Van Marwijk, the meaningless platitudes defending his players’ performances. No, if you can beat ’em…

“The opening phase was OK but after that it all went wrong in our defence. Up front Van Persie did well but our wingers never threatened their defence and lacked pace.”

“We defended moderately and the co-operation between our midfielders and defence was poor.”

One the one hand, Van Marwijk has delivered a frank and honest assessment of Dutch shortcomings at this tournament. On the other, he picked the side and chose the tactics. He also took the unprecedented step of substituting his son-in-law, Mark Van Bommel, possibly on the basis that while all the other players would never forgive him if they were withdrawn, at least with the midfielder, he could ask his daughter to put in a good word for him.

Arjen Robben, one of the wingers under scrutiny, and the man whose response to being substituted last night was a akin to walking the green mile, believed the entire team should shoulder the blame.

“There is no cohesion between our lines. There are gaps and we are not connecting. Then it is very difficult to recover the ball,” he said. “At this moment we are not steady as a team in the way we were two years ago. There is not one line to blame but we failed as team.”

Somewhat improbably the result neither eliminates Holland from the tournament, nor ensures Germany go through to the knockout stages.

Stick to the day job

Former Irish international Kevin Kilbane, whose covering Euro 2012 as a pundit for the BBC, bumped into some Irish fans in a pub (where else?) and was persuaded to take to the stage.

Security update

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk that Warsaw bore “full responsibility” for the safety of fans, after supporters from host nation attacked their Russian counterparts on Tuesday night.

“Putin stressed that organisers of such international tournaments bear full responsibility for the safety of fans from other countries on their territory,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Which will interest those supporters who have visited Russia in recent years and returned to tell the tale battered and bruised .

Putin’s stern words appear to have had the desired effect on Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who insisted that “all necessary action” was being taken to detain and prosecute offenders.

“It (the violence) really wasn’t any historic Polish-Russian battle but rather involved several hundred idiots from both sides,” Tusk told reporters.

“We’ll teach them all a lesson, whether they’re Polish or Russian or someone else.”

Meanwhile, UEFA, are reported to be unhappy with the show of strength near the end of Tuesday’s game, when hundreds of police in full riot gear amassed in front of the 10,000 or so Russian fans in the stadium.

“UEFA’s philosophy is to create a welcoming environment coupled with a low-profile approach to policing,” it said in a statement.

Tusk, though, claimed they were acting on a tip off.

“We had intelligence that there was a high risk that fans of the Russian team could invade the pitch after the match, which is why there were police in the stadium,” he added.

“I know that some people aren’t happy about it. UEFA has a different point of view here but we’re the ones in charge of the security of people in this country and that’s why we took this decision.”

Poles apart

Poland’s sports minister Joanna Mucha is unhappy with the leniency displayed by Polish courts towards those convicted of causing trouble at the tournament.

Mucha was speaking after courts handed out an assortment of punishments ranging from jail sentences to fines.

Two perpetrators have been sentenced to three and five months in jail, while four others received suspended jail terms of up to 12 months and one a 500 zloty (£100) fine, a spokesman for one of the courts dealing with the cases said.

“We cannot influence the justice system. But in my opinion the punishment should be more severe,” she told a news conference. “It’s important to create an atmosphere where there’s no permission for these kinds of situations.”

Mucha may get her wish: 20,000 Russian fans are heading to the country for the final group game against Greece.

Irish eyes are smiling

It’s not just the TV pundits who can patronise the ‘like to drink/like to party/lovable/friendly/here for the craic’ (delete where appropriate) Irish fans, anyone is free to join in just as long as it’s in a good cause.

Today comes news of an epic cycle ride from Ireland to Poland to raise money for charity. The group have cycled 1,949km and raised about half their €50,000 target through online donations.

Like almost everything that seems like a great idea at the time, this one started off in the pub.

“It started off as an idea in the pub, Fallon’s in the Coombe in Dublin. We knew the team were going to Poland and I said sure we can cycle it,” one of the cyclists, Matthew Boyd, said.

“The initial thought was on the second pint and by six pints we were signed up. We wanted to get 11 on the team but we could only get nine.”

Presumably the others were too hungover to remember the conversation.

The riders are still short of three tickets for tonight’s game against Spain, so if you happen to be in Gdansk today and see a group of sleep deprived men limping around looking the worse for wear, touting for tickets, there’s a possibility it may be the valiant, saddle sore cyclists.  The chances are though, that it’s just another group of Irish fans who have burned the candle at both ends.

Anyway, this really is a worthwhile cause, with the money raised going towards Headstrong, a charity aimed at helping young people with mental health problems.

The band played on

Football fans who don’t think England bring much to the Euro 2012 party, have found another reason to hope that Roy Hodgson’s side get knocked out at the group stage.

The England band have been given assurances they will be allowed into the remaining games at Euro 2012.

After driving 2,800 miles to Donetsk for Monday’s Group D opener with France and being granted admittance to the Donbass Arena, the band were refused entry and their instruments (of torture) were taken off them.

There was plenty of talk before the tournament of the heavy-handed policing in Ukraine, but no one mentioned the fact that the country’s ‘Good Taste’ police had the power to silence those who inflict musical misery on others. I’m starting to warm to the place.

Fllowing representations by the Football Association, UEFA have confirmed the band will be allowed into the game.

Band representative John Hemmingham added: “It’s the best news possible. We were gutted to have driven 2,800 miles only to have our instruments confiscated.

“Our sponsors gave us the good news this morning and we are delighted to have the chance to create the best possible atmosphere for England fans in Kiev.”

 

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  • JD

    “we are delighted to have the chance to create the best possible atmosphere for England fans in Kiev”

    The atmosphere they created in Donetsk will take some beating.