Sporting Deal | Sports News | Euro 2012 countdown – live!

skip to content

All NewsLatest News: Froch: Bellew can KO Usyk

All Betting TipsLatest Betting Tips: AJAX V MAN UTD

All NewsLatest News: WATCH: Thorpe’s demo on playing spin

All ReviewsTop Bookmakers: Betfred are rated 10/10 and offer a £0 sign up bonus

All Welcome BonusesWelcome Bonuses: Bet Victor -  Bet £5 Get £30

Latest NewsArchive

Euro 2012 countdown – live!

7th June 2012

• Hit F5 for the latest or use the auto-refresh button below
• Email your thoughts to
And get full Euro 2012 coverage on our dedicated site

10.49am: In a spirit of neighbourly international solidarity, here’s some footage of Republic of Ireland fans welcoming the England squad to their Kraków base with a loud chorus of boos, followed by a rousing rendition of The Fields of Athenry and the National anthem.

10.38am: Since deciding a couple of months ago that he’s too big for the Guardian and would rather go it alone, our Italian expert Paolo Bandini has been largely dead to us, apart from when we need somebody to file 800 words of pristine prose on the latest Serie A corruption scandal. If you miss him as much as we do, you can usually find him scratching around for spare change on the outer reaches of cyberspace and this morning is no exception - he’s about to do some manner of web chat with feral freelancer Iain Macintosh and one-time Liverpool and Sweden legend Glenn Hysén. We’ll be starting our own daily webchats tomorrow, with our preposterously posh Oxbridge fop in Wroclaw, Barney Ronay, first up to the plate.

10.27am: Roy Hodgson was scheduled to be subjected to a barrage of questions from journalists about the omission of Rio Ferdinand from the England squad later today, but his press conference has now been cancelled. England media manager Adrian Bevington is expected to send a couple of players out to face a hail of media bullets instead, which means we’re unlikely to hear from Hodgson until Sunday, the day before England’s opener against France.

My two cents: I think that, as England manager, Hodgson is perfectly entitled to pick whoever he likes and should be under no obligation to explain his decisions to anyone, but these apparently frantic attempts by the FA to protect a capable and intelligent man from having to answer questions about the omission of Ferdinand seem as unnecessary as they are desperate. Then again, media management has never been one of the FA’s strong suits.

10.17am: While Shay Gibbon might have been frustrated at not being allowed to particpate in the Republic of Ireland’s most recent training session (they had yesterday off), he has Tweeted of his pride in hearing that a simian creature born in Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park has been named in his honour. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shay Gibbon.

10.12am: The Republic of Ireland get their Euro 2012 campaign rolling agaiunst Croatia in Poznan on Sunday night and yesterday, in what he described as his “third press conference in 16 years” of involvement with the Irish set-up, affable goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly was quick to allay fears that goalkeeper Shay Given might miss the match through injury. Despite playing in Ireland’s scoreless draw against Hungary, a visibly frustrated Given played no part in Ireland’s most recent training session, prompting speculation that he might have to sit out the Croatia match with knee-knack. However, Kelly was happy to ease the concerns of Ireland fans.

On Given he was adamant. The Aston Villa goalkeeper is on course to play this Sunday and has been frustrated by the coaching staff’s decision to limit his involvement in training to keep him in the best possible shape.

“Once you get a little niggle with the knee, as he did, you’re going to get some compensatory issues when you come back training, which he did,” said Kelly. “But anyone who saw his performance the other night, the saves he made, they wouldn’t question his fitness, his form or how sharp he is. He wouldn’t be able to do that if he wasn’t fit. Wild horses wouldn’t keep him off that pitch but you have to be careful about these things. Shay is like a force of nature.”

10.07am: Some sad news: England striker Jermain Defoe is to return home following the death of his
father and will rejoin the squad at Euro 2012 in due course, the Football
Association have announced. Our sympathies go out to Jermain.

9.59am: While it’s no great leap to suggest that Football Daily will be the greatest Euro 2012 podcast of them all, others are available. My own personal favourites include Irish radio station Newstalk’s excellent Off The Ball podcast, the eejits from The Football Ramble and the Red, White And Blue podcast, which purports to be world’s finest football podcast but quite clearly isn’t, but is invariably worth a listen all the same.

So, podcasts. After the final whistle of the second match each night, James Richardson and assorted guests will be recording a Football Daily podcast, in which they’ll look back over the evening’s action, before throwing forward to the next day’s games. As well as studio guests, we’ll have contributions from assorted Guardian writers on the ground in Poland and Ukraine, all of whose collaborative efforts will be diced, spliced and ready for your listening pleasure at approximately 12.30am.

9.49am: Actually, reading back over that, he wasn’t really particularly upbeat at all, was he?

9.43am: Speaking on Football Focus last night, in an interview presumably recorded some time ago, England manager Roy Hodgson spoke of the pressure to perform under which players find themselves at major tournaments.

“Football players are under enormous pressure,” he said. “We, as coaches, put them under enormous pressure - we want a lot from them - because we can only succeed when they succeed. The nation puts them under pressure.
I would expect the players to have confidence and self-belief and if they haven’t, I’ll be saying to them: ‘Why haven’t you got self-belief? If I was as good as you, I’d be very, very confident’.”

With England’s campaign scheduled to get under way against France on Monday, Hodgson was reasonably upbeat about his side’s chances.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m determined to enjoy it as best as we can. But of course to really enjoy it, you’ve got to win. There’s very little enjoyment to be had in football when you’re not winning and we all know that. We will try and do the best we can and if there’s any allowances that need to be made then the public will make those allowances for us.”

9.31am: With Polamnd and Greece set to get the tournament set to get under way in Warsaw tomorrow, it’s time for you to cast your votes in our Euro 2012 poll. Simply click on the link and let us know who (a) who you think will win the tournament, (b) who you think will be top scorer and (c) how far you think England will go.

Upon attempting to cast my vote for Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner to be top scorer yesterday, I was appalled to discover that the starting centre forward for my idea of the tournament’s dark horses wasn’t even in the named contenders in that particular category, forcing me to tick the box beside “other”. Considering I have £5 on Bendtner to be Euro 2012 golden boot winner at 180-1, I am cautiously optimistic that this outrageous slur against his admittedly erratic goalscoring will spur him on to great things once the tournament begins.

9.30am:  When he’s not wandering around Guardian Towers with a big pixellated head and his voice distorted by one of those voice distortion units used by kidnappers for demanding ransoms, Guardian columnist The Secret Footballer seems to spend an inordinate amount of time working on his Secret Blog, along with his trusty assistants the Secret Physio, The Secret Psychologist, The Secret Journalist, The Secret Pundit and The Secret Fan. Today’s offering comes from The Secret Physio, who reveals what kind of hustle and bustle England’s medical staff can expect to have to deal with in the treatment room throughout Euro 2012.

9.05am:Good morning everybody, Glendenning here. Let’s get the ball rolling with David Pleat’s six players to watch during the tournament.

Alan Dzagoev (Russia)

The CSKA Moscow talent has won a major battle to get fit for inclusion in the squad. Born in 1990, he will be one of the youngest players in the tournament but Dick Advocaat knows the importance of his linking skills behind either Pavel Pogrebnyak or Roman Pavlyuchenko. The bonus is that he is able to snatch vital goals. Similar to Andrey Arshavin, who also played under Advocaat when he managed a quality Zenit St Petersburg side, he is clever on the ball with an eye for goal. His elusive talents could just swing a quarter- final place Russia’s way. Apart from the enigmatic Arsenal forward Arshavin, all the players are home-based and well paid. All are able to resist moves west but Dzagoev could be the exception.

Kevin Strootman (Holland)

The 22-year-old PSV midfielder caught the eye last season with strong performances in the Europa League in particular. Making quick progress as he advanced from Sparta and Utrecht to the more high-profile and demanding Eindhoven club he has established himself with his passing ability. But his importance to PSV is the way he balances the surging runs of his fellow midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who has sadly, and narrowly, missed out on a place in the Holland squad as Bert van Marwijk has kept faith with the old guard. Strootman can tackle like Nigel de Jong but, with Wesley Sneijder having had an indifferent season at Internazionale, and Mark Van Bommel less certain in the tackle as he slows up, Strootman could well establish himself. He balances an extremely successful group who will fancy their chances.

Yann M’Vila (France)

The Rennes midfielder will almost certainly miss the England game after taking a heavy knock no his ankle in the friendly against Serbia but should be fit for later matches in a team with a strong chance. With Karim Benzema the leader of the attacking line, M’Vila may well showcase his prodigious talent as a new boy on the block. Competing to complement the invention of the likes of Samir Nasri, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Franck Ribéry - who will all provide the attacking ammunition - he is a powerful raider and strong tackler who can intercept and block more talented opposition playmakers. He can be an ideal foil for considerable French invention in a side which will be confident of a quarter-final place. Some of the big-city English clubs are eyeing the talented M’Vila – but Rennes will require big money.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Just to let you know about our live coverage for Euro 2012. You will be able to follow live minute-by-minute coverage of every game in Poland and Ukraine, while we will also have a live blog every day throughout the tournament as well. Our writers will be on hand with updates, both here, on our Twitter interactive and on daily live webchats every lunchtime.

As our ever, we welcome and look forward to your thoughts, comments, accusations of lazy journalism and bias both on Twitter and in the comments section below the line. If there’s a better way of whiling away the working day that doesn’t involve breaking the law, we certainly can’t think of one. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Read more at The Guardian
© Guardian News & Media Limited

Please Log In / Register to Leave a Comment

Please log in or register to leave a comment about this article.

Newsletter Signup

Register here so we can keep you up-to-date with Sporting Deal news...