I did try to get tickets from UEFA. I applied for plenty the first time around expecting to get at least one match but got the same as everyone else I know who applied, nothing. I tried again when they came up for resale and the website screwed up. I then gave up and now watch endless adverts telling me how many tickets they’ve got to give away if you buy a car, toothpaste, fast-food, whatever. Can’t say I’m happy with the way the tickets have been distributed.
Despite this setback the sofa and TV have enabled me to watch all the games so far with the exception of the first half of Netherlands vs Denmark. On noticing the score of 0-1 to the Danes my SMS to Danish friends gathered at Lolek and no doubt on their 12th lager was simply – WTF? The goalscorer, something like Parkinson’s-Carrefour, not exactly a household name had managed to dodge two defenders and slide the ball under the Dutch goalie. Against all odds the Danes went on to hold their lead and win the game despite the “shots on goal” being vastly in favour of the Dutch. Is this yet another Dutch team to be supreme on paper but able to snatch humiliation from the jaws of silverware? With the supposedly easy Danes behind them the Dutch now have to tackle the Germans and the Portuguese in their “Group of Death”.
Germany vs Portugal was a good game spoiled only by not enough goals and the fact the Germans won. Boring. The Germans were orderly as always but looked vulnerable to a touch of flair and if the goalposts were just a smidge thinner they would have lost so I’m going to stick my neck out and say that although a long run is possible, they won’t win the tournament. Hurrah! Unless it goes to penalties of course. Boooo! Christiano Ronaldo didn’t throw a hissy fit either, still, plenty of time for that.
Russia vs Czech. Well, as the Czech trainer said, the Russians were better than expected. How can they not be confident when their bovva boys are nutting the stewards, they’re no doubt on a promise of half a billion each if they win and they are fresh from their 5 star Warsaw hotel? Despite all that, I thought they looked dangerous and likely to go a long way. What is it about Arseshaving and Pawelyochenko that they manage to be 3x the players they are for their country than they do in the Premier League? A trait most England players would benefit from. Barring another miracle it looks very much like the Russians are nailed on group winners so the question only remains whether the Greeks or Poles can do any better than the Czechs and take second place?
Finally for now, Poland vs Greece. As opening games go, which is not very far, this was a good one. I was shocked at how well the Poles started the game and the goal was both well taken and well deserved. Unfortunately, as happens so often, after the Greek was sent off the Greek tragedy turned itself around and the Poles ran out of steam and ideas. Some might think this was a good time to make a couple of substitutions but Franky Smuda thought otherwise, only he knows why. Highlight of the game was surely the Greek substitution with Popodopolous being replaced by Popodopolous. Either that or the confusion of the most active Greek player having a name that sounded like “w sam raz”. Anyway, a draw is more points than losing so all to play for.
I’ve been listening carefully for monkey noises but as yet, thankfully, none have come through on the TV. I suppose the sensationalist viewer might hope that if there are any it is Mario Balotelli of Italy who hears them. He’s a lively character to say the least and according to him either he will kill the purveyors of monkey noises (or banana throwers) or he will walk off the pitch. Sounds very much like an invitation that some Spanish fans might find hard to ignore. We will see tonight if this has managed to get him a place in the starting XI.
Can’t help wondering if security at the turnstiles are scanning fans for hidden bananas? “Excuse me sir but is that a banana I see down your pants?”. I mean seriously, what do they do, confiscate bananas?
It’s sometimes hard to believe we are in the XXI century.