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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020
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Every day for the next few football-packed weeks we’ll while away the hours before the actual soccer by hanging out here. Do join us.

Join in the fun. Send us your best pics, videos, tweets, stories, rumours — whatever. Leave a comment below, post to our Facebook wall, tweet @thescore_ie or send us a good old fashioned e-mail to sport@thescore.ie.

Wahay! Here we go again for another day of Euro fun. The miserable Monday morning hangover brought on by Ireland’s performance in Poznan is starting to slowly fade and we’re gradually falling in love with football again. How about that Andriy Shevchenko lad? He can play a bit.

Niall Kelly here, “fresh” from my weekend’s exertions with Trap’s Army. Join us for the next few hours as we keep abreast of all the news on day five of Euro 2012.

If you missed last night’s late game, you missed a good ‘un. Former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko was already pretty much the most popular man in Ukraine, and then he went and did this.



The win was Ukraine’s first-ever at the European Championships, on home soil in Kiev, with the winning goals scored by an aging national icon who was rubbished by many as “past it”. Who writes these scripts, seriously?

And if you’re under any illusions about how much this win meant to the people of Ukraine, let this little kid’s reaction clear up the ambiguity.

But enough about the Ukrainians and King Sheva — what about Dickey Dunne and the Boys in Green? Ireland are due out on the Gdynia pitch any minute now for this morning’s training session.

Afterwards, Marco Tardelli will sit down for a quick chat with the media where he’ll probably end up answering questions about Dunne’s blisters and the possibility of either Jonathan Walters or James McClean getting game time against Spain on Thursday evening.

At yesterday’s press conference , Il Trap seemed quietly confident that Ireland can pull off a massive upset in Gdansk:

We know they are technical, but I can also remember Bayern Munich dominating Chelsea, Chelsea only had one corner (which they scored from) and (went onto) win the game. Football is like that.

We know they are good, we know they have confidence.

Stats nerds, here’s the first of your daily dose courtesy of Neil O’Riordan of the Irish Sun. Make sure you bring this up when your trying to impress your colleagues at the watercooler later on.

But the big news from Poland this morning concerns a young man from Sallins, Co Kildare called Eamon Keegan. He’s about to become one of the most famous members of Trap’s Army after a photo of him “getting acquainted” with a Croatian lady in the stands on Sunday evening started to do the rounds.

Even Sean St Ledger is trying to get his name trending on Twitter.

If you want to see the pic, you’ll have to type that url out yourself. A word of advice though — make sure your boss isn’t standing over your shoulder as it’s NSFW.

UPDATE: Mr Keegan appears to have surfaced. This was posted within the last 10 minutes.

Good to see Torun’s most famous son, Nicolaus Copernicus, is still showing his support for the Boys in Green (via @TrimHoops):

George Caulkin of The Times tweets the first of this morning’s updates from Ireland training. Would you drop Doyle for Walters on Thursday night?

They might have been beaten on Saturday night but the Dutch team look like they’re still having a bit of craic at training. Wesley Sneijder just doesn’t know when to stop, although it might have been nicer if he’d chosen someone other than 18-year-old Jetro Willems to embarrass.

If you watched France v England last night, you probably noticed the pleasantly peaceful atmosphere inside the stadium. That was because some bureaucrat had the foresight to find that utterly tedious England brass band and confiscate their instruments.

Sadly, it seems that some people actually wanted to hear their infernal din and now there appears to be a minor diplomatic crisis brewing in Donetsk, lead by Pukka Pies. Here’s their statement:

Pukka Pies England Band Excluded in Donetsk

Pukka Pies will be making an official representation to UEFA following the exclusion of the Pukka Pies England Band for the England versus France at the European Championship.

The Pukka Pies England Band were excluded from the Donbass Arena on Monday evening and wereasked to remove their instruments from the stadium.

It is the first England game the band have missed in 18 years, a run that includes over 300 consecutive appearances.

The way the band have been treated leaves a sour taste in the mouth and is very disappointing and we will be making an official representation to UEFA.

We will be doing everything that we can to make sure that the band take their rightful place at the England versus Sweden game in Kiev.

But enough of that rubbish, how about tonight’s big game between Poland and Russia? To describe the two countries as “old rivals”, “bitter enemies” or anything of the sort would be a gross understatement.

The photo splash in SuperExpress — which shows striker Robert Lewandowski, manager Francizek Smuda and (I think) replacement keeper Przemysław Tytoń — dressed in cavalry uniform captures the mood in Poland perfectly. The article itself calls on the team to become national heroes by replicating the Miracle at the Vistula, the decisive Polish win in 1920 which ended the Polish-Soviet war.

And on that note, this snippet comes via Simon Burton on the Guardian’s liveblog. I hope that tonight’s game goes off without any trouble but that’s probably wishful thinking in the circumstances.

According to Ekho (a Russian newspaper), Russia fans have made a banner celebrating the Smolensk air crash, and plan to throw paper aeroplanes during the Polish anthem tonight.

Before you read too much into the teams for Ireland’s training game this morning, Emmet Malone of the Irish Times has checked it out with John O’Shea.

Now that we’ve seen all 16 teams in action, it’s an ideal opportunity to look back over the opening four days of this year’s championship. We’ll start with a quick straw poll — of the eight games so far, which was your favourite?

There’s a lot of early love for Spain-Italy and Ukraine-Sweden. Click here to have your say on the matter.

The good lads over at Opta have also been picking out some top, top stats from the first round of games. Something to mull over with your lunch.

Unlike Stephen Hunt, we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Czech Republic stopper Petr Cech. Ahead of tonight’s game against Greece, he’s been giving his thoughts on the Czechs’ ropey start — his “wisdom” applies to Ireland too you know.

A 4-1 defeat doesn’t look the best but it’s basically the same as 1-0…you simply get no points. We lost a battle, not the war. The good thing is we still have 180 minutes to advance. We have to look ahead, that’s what matters now.

Click here for the full preview of Greece v Czech Republic (kick-off 5pm).

Miguel Delaney has just checked in from Gdynia where he caught a few words with Marco Tardelli after this morning’s training session. The Italian described Ireland as Cindarella — we’re not sure why — but he seemed pretty positive ahead of Thursday’s crunch clash with Spain.

The players want to do something very important for the country. We believe. We will go out on to the pitch to win the match. But, in football, there are three results and sometimes all things are possible.

Read Miguel’s report in full here >

We’re loving the stats today, though we’re not particularly sure what this one means for Ireland’s chances.

Right, just back from lunch. Who wants to see a photo of Giovanni Trapattoni from 1949?

The team shape is going to be so important. We’re going to have to keep our shape because they can cut you open. Staying with the runners, not following the ball with the one-twos are going to be massive things.”

Ireland defender John O’Shea on Thursday meeting with Spain. Read the rest of his quotes here.

Travelling to Poland for the Spain game? Here’s the lovely Nuala Carey with your Euro 2012 weather forecast:


YouTube credit:

Before we leave you for the evening, make sure you check out our pick of the best XI from the opening round of games. There aren’t too many any Irish players in there but that hardly matters, does it?

That’s our lot for today as the Czechs take an early 2-0 lead against Greece. Group A just got interesting, folks. Sean Farrell is your only man for the rest of the action in Wroclaw before Paul Fennessy takes over for the friendly encounter between old chums Poland and Russia.

See you in the morning.

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