A Monday evening during UEFA Euro 2012 and no football upon which to report. The quarter-finals are done and dusted and the semis set, with a mouthwatering pair of games pitting Germany against Italy and Portugal against Spain. The involvement of great teams and iconic players promises much as a largely enjoyable tournament comes to an end.
The news today is of course dominated by England’s exit and the aftermath, but there’s also comment from the Spain and Italy camps as they prepare for their new challenges in the last four.
“Boring” Spain won’t change
There’s been a lot of discussion in the last week or so about Spain’s style of play. Their quarter-final performance against France was hardly full of the swashbuckling, flowing football people seem to expect of the Spanish (more often supplied by Barcelona, in my view), but it did the trick and Spain are in the final four. Are Spain boring? Opinion is divided, and the debate has inevitably stooped to the yawn-inducing mudslinging that always accompanies matters of footballing “style”.
Xabi Alonso certainly isn’t bothered. The Real Madrid midfielder, who scored twice on his 100th appearance against the French, is more interested in keeping possession and winning matches than the opinions and tastes of others.
Prandelli ready for Germany
Despite his complaints about the relative rest periods of Italy and Germany, Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli is in bullish mood ahead of their semi-final. The celebrations were short-lived and focus has quickly moved onto the titanic clash of two of world football’s eternal superpowers.
Talk of a possible return for defender Giorgio Chiellini has been offset by likely absentees for the Italians. Christian Maggio picked up a suspension against England in the quarter-final – much to his undisguised dismay – and misses the semi-final, and Daniele de Rossi and Ignazio Abate are both injury doubts for the clash with Germany.
Italian celebrations targeted in Bedford disorder
England’s elimination from international tournaments always brings out the moronic side of some supporters. Last night’s headlines were made in Bedford, where four arrests were made after 150 England fans allegedly took to task a celebratory cavalcade of Italian supporters after the penalty shoot-out.
I just can’t find the words.
Police investigating racist tweets
How often have we seen this headline? I had the misfortune to see this animal’s tweets in my timeline this morning – indirectly, I can assure you – but obviously I don’t want to bring any negative action my way by talking about the specific case. That’s a matter for the police, who have informed him that he is likely to be the subject of official complaints from the public.
But the fact that this issue keeps on cropping up is worrying on two fronts. Firstly, of course, there are still plenty of racists around which in this day and age is distressing in the extreme. But it’s also worth noting that it is quite staggering that some people think that their actions online carry no consequences. Whether they’re true racists or chavvy, trolling little scrotes, the more of them that get a swift kick in the swingers the better.