UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 4
Monday 11 June 2012
Sometimes life gets in the way of a football and so it proved last night as I was out having a few drinks and a meal. Therefore my watching of the fixtures yesterday was restricted to glimpses, in between eating, fetching drinks or whilst sat chatting, of a very small television perched above the bar. It would make for an alternative if not quite convincing reporting of the games.
At bar…game not yet kicked off…return to seat…blue shirts against red shirts, must be Italy and Spain…Italian player clutches head at missing chance…Spanish player clutches head at missing a chance…return to bar…half-time, 0-0…return to seat… Balotelli substituted…man in blue shirt runs round frantically waving arms – Italy 1-0…man in red hugs ball and runs towards half-way line, Spain 1, Italy1…red and blue men stand in a huddle and mock fight…end of game…eat…Salmon, Smoked Haddock & Lobster Croquettes with a yoghurt and caper dressing…Wild Boar Burger with a lime and chilli mayonnaise, fried onions, house ketchup and crisp seasoned chips…return to bar…Half-time – Croatia 2, Republic of Ireland 1…return to seat…man in shirt resembling tablecloth shots hit post and goalkeeper and goes in…Croatia 3, Republic of Ireland 1…end of match…Adrian Chiles and Irishman with sad face…
Spain (0) 1 – 1 (0) Italy
So what did the BBC highlights on the internet offer? Well, 3 minutes and 9 seconds, of which the first half was three efforts on goal from Italy (Pirlo, Cassano and Motta) and the second-half started with a Spanish efforts from Andrés Iniesta. Next was shown a glorious chance for Balotelli which he wasted after allowing the defender to get back and make a tackle. ‘Super’ Mario was then substituted and replaced by Di Natale, who minutes later latches onto a ball from Pirlo to superbly finish and put Italy ahead. The Spanish equaliser is shown next with a lovely intricate move finished by Fabregas. The next clip has Torres through on goal but being stopped by Italian keeper Buffon, followed by a glorious chance for Di Natale to claim a second. The highlights close with another Torres chance, which he clips over. Both sides were probably happy to settle for a point and look to seal qualification from the Group against Croatia and the Republic of Ireland.
Republic of Ireland (1) 1 – 3 (2) Croatia
2 minutes 57 were offered for the highlights of this game. It opens with a Croatia corner which is never really cleared and a looping header from Mario Mandzukic somehow beat Given in the Irish goal. The action switches to a free-kick from Aiden McGeady which is headed home by Sean St Ledger to bring the game level. Croatia are then seen back on the attack and Given is forced into a full length save from Mandzukic. The highlights of the first-half end with Jelavic scoring from close range and the Irish claiming offside. Into the second-half and Shay Given’s miserable day is complete when a second Mandzukic header found the back off the net, this time via the head of the Irish keeper as the ball bounced back off the post. A penalty shout for the Irish is shown when Robbie Keane is brought down. The clip closes with an effort from Croatian Rakitic, and two from Andrews for the Republic, one a header and the other a shot. No luck for the Irish today and with Italy and Spain to come, it’s not looking good for them.
Today closes the first round of games with Group D and France against England, followed by Ukraine versus Sweden. With less that five hours to go, I can honestly say that I’m not nervous…Que Sera Sera