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Euro 2012: day 12 – live!

19th June 2012

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Get all the latest news on our Euro 2012 site
England set to give Walcott a chance from the start
• Today: England v Ukraine and France v Sweden

10.39am: Morning all, Ian here. Hope you’re all keeping well (no really, I do). So recently my only a friend and I were discussing the direct correlation between the amount of tattoos a player has and how rubbish they are. Example: Xavi, Iniesta, Messi all as clean as a new-born whistle. Whereas Glenn Whelan, Jermaine Pennant, Fernando Torres are all as tattooed as Edinburgh in August. Seeeeeee? I’m right amn’t I?

10.30am: I am off to cover today’s cricket but Ian McCourt will be here from round about ... now.

10.25am: Below the line, a lot of you have been underwhelmed/bored by Spain’s contribution to the tournament so far. ColonelCallan says:

In the end Spain went through on a defensive error and a questionable offside decision. If a player is offside when a move starts how can he be allowed to score a goal and not be interfereing with play?

Croatia demonstrated that with a well organised, disciplined defence, technically good and fit players, potent, creative counterattacking opitons you can beat Spain and they should have had at least two goals from open play and a penalty. I’d like to see Jogi Löw’s notes after the game. If anyone can make the Croatian plan work, it’s Germany.

10.17am: “A haircut that masquerades as a toupee, that is quite something,” purrs Joseph Matthews as he gazes at Wayne’s locks.

10.12am: Slaven Bilic will manage Lokomotic Moscow next season but was proud of his Croatia team after their – impressive, is that the right word? “Brave” sounds patronising for such an accomplished team – exit from Euro 2012.

“I didn’t expect this to be my last game in charge because I thought we would get past the group stage with this phenomenal group who’ve shown great character and built a fantastic atmopshere,” he told Croatian television. “I want to congratulate the players for six years of impeccable work and behaviour.”

10.06am: Not to labour the hair theme, but fashion’s Hadley Freeman has been asked about the popularity of the ponytail at Euro 2012, and has found footballers wanting.

10.01am: Below the line, cavelier5 has this to say about the game tonight:

If Ukraine get a head of steam up and score early, get the crowd behind them, I can easily see England reverting to the panic mode we did for a lot of the Sweden game.

We must be canny and careful, not go racing forwards and give them any space to work in. With Wellbeck, Rooney, Young and maybe Walcott we have the pace to hit them on the break. They have to win, so we should take advantage of the spaces that should leave us.

Whatever happens it’s nailed on that we won’t make it easy for ourselves. We never do. It’d be so nice just to stroll to a lovely and easy 3-0, instead it will be a stroke inducing 2-2 I reckon.

2-2? That’s a day too late to fix Italy’s exit.

9.55am: “Re: Croatians drinking ‘pintas’,” says Duncan Aitken. “I suspect that, as users of the metric system, Croatians are more likely to meet after work for a half-litre (pola-litra), or fifty-decilitres (pedeset decilitra).” Good old Duncan, always a pola-lira half-full man.

9.47am: “Sat in my office in Oslo and I am distracted by the picture of Rooney that you are using,” says Mike Emery. “Not only does he look like a baby who has had a rough year, but what is up with his hair? Has he dyed one side of it red?” I was struck by the same thing, Mike. However, after a quick look in our picture library, I think it may be the light from a Donetsk sunset that is colouring his hair – it makes Andy Carroll look like he’s had highlights too (see left). Of course, maybe they’ve both gone for the dyed look.

9.42am: Coming up today: we have a webchat with Barney Ronay from 12pm, while Paul Doyle will be covering Sweden v France, and Barry Glendenning will be typing away furiously during Ukraine v England.

9.24am: So, James Milner’s solidity and 11 GCSEs (two more than this writer) or Theo Waclott’s zesty thrills? That’s been the question over the last few days and according to our lead story, Roy Hodgson is leaning towards Walcott (five GCSEs but a published author).

9.17am: Not that these things mean anything, because they were generally played with a completely set of players, conditions, tactics, weather, managers and warm-up tracksuits but England lead meetings with Ukraine by three victories to one. Having said that, the last match went to Ukraine, 1-0. Rob Green was sent off and England played most of the game with 10 men.

9.09am: Myself and my good friend Mr Google Translate have knocked up this press round-up from last night’s games, including probably the most laughable translation from Croatian you have ever read in your life (although you probably haven’t read that many). Thanks G Translate, see you after work for a pint! Or as the Croatians may say, a pinta.

9.05am: If you were wondering why Leonardo Bonucci covered Mario Balotelli’s mouth during his goal celebration, here’s an explanation from the man himself: “I didn’t understand what Mario said, because he was speaking in English. But I put my hand in front of his mouth because Mario is a very impulsive person. But that’s also one of his strengths. We had spoken before the game and he knew how he was supposed to behave.” Very wise, when it comes to all things Mario, it’s wise to proceed with caution.

8.56am: Morning. It’s the big game tonight, as those plucky guys in yellow take on a talented team who have an excellent chance of going all the way and winning the tournament. In other news, England take on Ukraine. That joke came courtesy of The 1782 Big Book of Football Gags.

So, anyone else think that England have shot themselves in the foot by putting in an exciting performance against Sweden and raising everyone’s expectations. I liked it better when we thought we were rubbish. Oh, and if you wish to hear our podcast team discussing last night’s action/today’s games, simply click here.


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