INPHO/James Crombie

LIVEBLOG: Euro 2012, day 3

Is it time yet? Is it time yet? Is it time yet?

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, comment on the post, tweet @TheScore_ie or send us a good old fashioned e-mail.

Good morning! If this image doesn’t get you in the mood, we don’t know what will…

(Aideen O’Sullivan)

So, what news? Well, we know the starting eleven and Robbie Keane is determined to get the tournament off to a flying start after such a long wait. Twitter is abuzz with the drunk and the barely sober, even at this early hour, while the remnants of last week’s beer challenge remain strewn around the office.

In case you missed it, Denmark and Germany got off to winning starts yesterday, with Bert ban Marwijk and Holland paying for making me look like an idiot – my prediction for player of the tournament, Kevin Strootman, didn’t even get off the bench.

Do you know this man?

Please spare a thought for Diarmuid Gavin in this difficult time. He seems to have drawn the short straw, schedule-wise.

Dirty Old Towns. RTE1. 8pm.

Diarmuid Gavin sets out to clean up the towns of Ireland, leading regeneration projects of buildings and landmarks with the help of local communities, including schemes in Charleville, Co Cork, Athboy in Co Meath, Rathkeale in Co Limerick, and St Patrick’s Estate in Rathangan, Co Kildare.

P.S. That last post goes out to those Twitter witticists who want to know ‘what else is on?’

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., has got out his quill, his jar of ink, his doodle pad and scribbled the following…

“I wish Giovanni and the lads the best of luck this evening.  It has been a long hard road to get this far and the commitment, dedication and skill shown by everyone involved has been excellent.

“The fans are already making a huge and positive impact in Poland, while here at home the sense of excitement and pride is wonderful.  Everybody is right behind the Boys in Green and we know they will give it their everything.  I wish them every success.”

We’re getting reports that some Irish fans, drinking with a group of Polish lads, got into a bit of a kerfuffle last night with some Croatian supporters. Glasses and tables thrown, more information when we get it.

More details of the arrests in Poznan can be found here.

A little birdie tells us that there’s other stuff happening in the world today.

We don’t necessarily believe them, though.

Office gripe: Whoever left the empty box of Cadbury’s Fingers on the desk in front of me. Why? Why would you do that?

Office spot poll:

Steven O’Rourke says: Ireland 1-0 Croatia

Ben Blake says: Ireland 2-1 Croatia

Sinéad O’Carroll says: Ireland 1-1 Croatia

Michael Freeman says: Ireland 0-0 Croatia

I’m going for: Ireland 3-0 Croatia. The hell with it!

This sounds about right…

Hard to know what to say about this picture.

Giving you four tricolour-painted sheep, in a field, somewhere, presumably not Poznan.

“It’s all very well doing it in training…”

Still, this is pretty nice from Wesley Sneijder.

YouTube credit: gcarson3

For those of you trying to pace yourselves in the pub, or simply just pacing, we’re under two hours from Spain v Italy, and under five from Ireland v Croatia. Be still. Be merry. Be nervous (just like us).

This is trending at the moment – something tells us that Oscar’s mam has another thing coming.

For Ireland’s last game in a major international tournament, I was drunk on a floor in student digs in Glasnevin, chanting things about Ian Harte and Mick McCarthy.

Where were you? Tweet us @thescore_ie and we’ll post the best responses…

Enjoy a risk free €20 bet plus up to €1,000 cashback >

The Spain team is in, and they’re planning on beating Italy without any strikers.

Spain: Casillas, Alba, Piqué, Ramos, Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Busquets, Xavi, Silva, Iniesta, Cesc.

So much for the Negredo or Torres debate.

Outside the world of football, Cork will play Clare in the Munster final after beating Kerry 0-17 to 0-12, while Rafael Nadal took the first set of the French Open Final against Novak Djokovic.

No Italy team yet, but we’re hoping for a Cassano-Balotelli c*********k in attack. Please don’t hazard a guess at what those asterisks are hiding, we have standards to uphold.

The Italian team is in: Buffon, Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini, Maggio, Motta, Giaccherini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Cassano, Balotelli.

Yes yes yes. We love today so much we could just kiss it.

‘Croatia amassed 22 points from their 10 fixtures, one more than Ireland, by claiming seven wins, one draw and two defeats against the Greeks, Israel, Latvia, Georgia and Malta.

‘Slaven Bilic’s side conceded seven goals along the way but only let in more than a single goal in on one, last October.’

To read more on Ben Blake’s piece on Croatia’s road to the European Championships, click here.

Play suspended in the tennis…

Focusing on tomorrow for just a moment, Laurent Blanc has confirmed that Yann M’Vila, Blaise Matuidi and Steve Mandanda will all take part in training tonight. It’s particularly good news for the French regarding M’Vila, the most likely of the trio to start against England.

While the lads on RTE hamfistedly pick apart the Spanish and Italian teams, we have some images from Poznan to heighten the anticipation further for tonight…

and, finally, from last night…

We spoke to Aleksandar Holiga is a Zagreb-based football writer, editor-in-chief of FourFourTwo Croatia, this week. Here’s what he had to say:

Everybody thinks the Ireland game is our big chance. If we’re going to do something in this group then we have to get a result against Ireland because, realistically speaking, it (Ireland) is not better than Croatia. If we can win that game it would be a confidence boost so everybody’s looking at it as a key game. However, even if we get the three points, it doesn’t mean we will definitely qualify from the group. The general atmosphere has been very negative for a long time now. People lost some faith in Bilic and the team. Everybody expected euphoria to kick in but it is not happening. They is demanding that we win that game even though, obviously, it will be very hard.

Read the rest of his thoughts here.

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