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Euro 2012 live blog: 11 June

11th June 2012

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• Email john.ashdown@guardian.co.uk with your thoughts
Get all the latest news on our Euro 2012 site

10.55am: Stat alert No2
“Shooting accuracy (36%) is the lowest at major tournament since 1968,” writes our football editor Mike Adamson. “Problems with ball? Too many speculative long-range efforts?”

10.53am: There’s a debate below the line about the best football-related song. I think this probably ends it.

10.46am: Some images on our picture wires here suggest an orangutan in Indonesia called Riko has predicted victory for France this afternoon. These ‘psychic’ creatures are getting a bit ridiculous, no? And the worst thing, the truly offensive thing, is that they denigrate the memory of the late, great Paul the octopus. Who actually was psychic.

10.37am: Webchat news: travel issues mean Daniel Taylor will be online from 1.30pm, rather than noon, to answer your questions. You can still post them here.

10.32am: The Polish FA has given short shrift to Spain’s complaints about the Gdansk pitch. Both Andres Iniesta and Vicente del Bosque complained that the pitch was too dry and Polish media reported that organisers judged after the game that the grass was too long and sent for the Flymos. “What nonsense!” said Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato on Monday. “The grass was the perfect length. The thing is that often one waters the pitch for the game. But you need agreement from the two teams. The Spanish wanted it to be watered, the Italians did not agree.”

10.24am: Slaven Bilic is certainly popular with Croatia fans. The coach had to cope with this, and let’s make no bones about it, absolutely huge pitch invader after the team’s victory over Ireland. The towering interloper was in amorous mood too, as you can see in the photo above.

10.19am: A note on live coverage (and other treats) on the website today. Scott Murray is in the hotseat for the France v England minute-by-minute, while Paul Doyle has the joystick for Ukraine v Sweden. But before all that our chief football writer Daniel Taylor will be online for a webchat from noon. So head over here and post him your questions. It’s OK. I’ll still be here when you get back.

10.15am: “Pirlo was alright I suppose,” notes KingLudd below the line. “His passing, I’ll concede, was pleasing on the eye. Iniesta, well, not bad for a foreigner, if you like that kind of thing. But wait until tonight, we’ll show them how it’s done. Andy Carroll, galloping down the channels, as we play our new patented 1-9-1 formation. Gerrard with his raking 60 yard passes into touch. Downing failing to beat a man or cross the ball for 84 minutes. Oxlade Chamberlain on for the remainder when it’s too late to make any difference. Some bloke in defence who may have played at some point for Liverpool, but no one’s quite sure. The midfield watching the ball whistle over their heads as it’s hoofed up to the target man and possession is conceded cheaply. This is what they want. It’s a tradition. Once you give up hope it actually becomes quite fun. It’s the hope that kills you.”

10.11am: Some very early Sweden team news from the sport desk’s resident Swede Marcus Christenson: “Sweden team v Ukraine, confirmed: No Johan Elmander up front. W Bremen’s Markus Rosenberg starts, PSV’s Ola Toivonen in midfield. Rasmus Elm to play in a more withdrawn role. Anders Svensson on bench. A bit surprising. Not sure what to think.”

10.03am: Paolo Bandini points out that Gazzetta dello Sport’s front page today is a belter – “Beautiful Italy. This is how we want you”.

9.59am: Portugal and Germany have fallen foul of the authorities. Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Portugal after a delayed start to the second half, while Germany have been charged over missles (paper aeroplanes?) thrown by their fans.

9.53am: Stat alert!
There’s never been more than a one-goal winning margin in any European Championship game played on 12 June. Uefa has a gallery of those games. That Germany shirt from 1992 is one of the best in football history, isn’t it? Vying with Holland in 1988 for the greatest Euro shirt of all time?

9.46am: Our man Barney Ronay is – after what will have been, if my limited tournament experience is anything to go by, a fortifyingly large breakfast at his hotel – in Donetsk drinking in the atmosphere ahead of England v France. “Donetsk is slowly filling up with england fans,” he tweets. “Much-derided city but soviet town planning much to commend it. Trees. Squares. Lenin. Trams.”

9.40am: ““I don’t fear any other players. I like Steven Gerrard but I don’t fear anyone,” roars Karim Benzema in an interview with uefa.com. He’s where my earlier Belgium comparison may fall down – while Marc Wilmots side essentially played without a striker at Wembley, Benzema can provide some serious cutting edge for Les Bleus.

9.34am: And you can keep up with all our writers on Twitter with this really rather ruddy marvellous interactive. And, if you’re a Twitter type, there’s two new people for you to follow (or least new to me) from the Guardian stable: @paulwilsongnm and @scottmurrayhack, though I have a feeling the latter won’t be particularly prolific.

9.25am: To start your day, we’ve got a bucketload of top Euro 2012 content for you to feast your eyes and ears on:

AC Jimbo and the pod crew deliver their verdict on Sunday’s action

Dominic Fifield reports on France’s pre-match preparations and finds Laurent Blanc in cautious mood.

Stuart James takes a look at Ukraine’s long (and controversial) road to the finals.

Daniel Taylor is in Donetsk following England’s final preparations for their opener this afternoon.

• You can relive Ireland v Croatia and Spain v Italy with our picture galleries, and check out Amy Lawrence’s verdict on Fernando Torres.

• Last, and in all fairness least, there’s my roundup of the press reaction in Spain (confident), Italy (invigorated), Croatia (euphoric) and Ireland (hoping for miracles) to Sunday’s results.

9.14am: Morning all! Sleep well? Me? Like a log, thanks. Though, as ever, not for long enough. But then, who could sleep when today’s offerings from Poland and Ukraine are so mouthwatering? First up at 5pm is Engla … oh. But then at least there’s Ukrai … ah.

But seriously. Group D is, to my mind at least, incredibly tough to call. Victories for France and Sweden today seem the likeliest – results that would mean England’s game against the Swedes on Friday would be a win-or-go-home affair – but a Belgiumesque performance from Roy Hodgson’s men (allow the opposition to dominate possession and territory, then nick a goal) wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise and a rousing partizan atmosphere might just inspire Ukraine to something special. Who knows?


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