©INPHO/Donall Farmer
As it happened: Euro 2012, day 4
We know what you’re thinking, but no: it’s not even close to being over 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… Kind of.

Okay, so Mario Mandzukic may have put a serious downer on our hopes of escaping the group. But on the bright side, there’s still lots more football from other countries to enjoy before we take on Spain.

If you haven’t already gone over the post-mortem a thousand times in your head, let Miguel Delaney dissect the remains of the game for you.

Do you still hold hope that Ireland will escape the group? You’re in the minority at the moment according to our poll, redress the balance by giving a big green thumbs up here.

While many of Ireland’s heroes are laying low in Poland and New Zealand another was watching on with great concern at our elementary mistakes.

Elsewhere on Twitter, the ‘he’ Gus is referring to is the Irish coach.

Morning, everyone. Conor Nagle here. Seán has more important things to be doing than constantly scanning Twitter for Euros gossip, apparently… like watching amusing cat videos and looking at pictures of a sweaty (so sweaty) Rafael Nadal.

This blog’s all business, though – check out John Ashdown’s European paper review in this morning’s Guardian. Highlights include:

La Republica managing to find fault with Italy’s performance against the world champions:

“Bravo Italy, but we focus on Pirlo… It has no meaning to have one of the best playmakers in the world, one who bares direct comparison with Xavi, and then relegate him to a role of second fiddle.”

And Croatia’s Glas Slavonije losing the run of itself entirely:

“After last night’s victory over Ireland, anything is possible … Ireland is not Germany, but the way in which Croatia has opened the tournament in Poland indicates that the order of European football may again be greatly threatened.”

Spanish whizz Cesc Fabregas had a good moan about the pitch following his side’s 1-all draw with Italy yesterday evening.

Quotage via the Daily Mail:

“I don’t want to complain [and yet...], but we deserve much more. It is lamentable that we have to play on a pitch like this.

“It has been a difficult match, the most difficult one we have in the group against a very strong rival. After going behind it is not a bad result. We are still dependent on ourselves. We have shown character and played well.”

In case you missed it: Irish fans in Poznan intervening on behalf of law & order (via Paddy Power):

Do us proud, lads…

Petr Cech isn’t a terrible drummer. Don’t take me at my word, video evidence can be found here.

He tends goal in a helmet and drums wearing gloves. SAFETY FIRST.

Is the presence of a semi-fit Bastian Schweinsteiger at the base of Germany’s midfield more of a hindrance than a boon to the joint-favourites’ efforts?

The sporadically reliable suggests Joachim Loew is toying with idea of replacing his once-talismanic playmaker with Bayern teammate Toni Kroos for Wednesday’s clash with the Netherlands:

“Doubts have been raised over whether Schweinsteiger is now fit enough to play two games within the space of four days, and if he fails to pass a fitness test, Low could opt for Kroos instead in the centre of midfield.”

Another classic added to the repertoire: Ireland fans counter some Croatian exuberance by belting out the theme song to Home & Away. (via

Godspeed, men.

You work hard – you research, write, publish and tweet – only to watch as this little nugget of banality is retweeted by five times as many people as you have followers!

Damn you, Olly Murs; damn you.

More than deserving of… this (hit the red button).

Fact (until JT nods home from a Steven Gerrard delivery later this afternoon):

The Guardian’s chief football correspondent, Daniel Taylor, is about to conduct a live webchat. Feel free to crash the party and troll the assmebled England fans. Don’t tell them I sent you.


Speaking of England fans, the head of Britain’s Euro 2012 police contingent, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt, has voiced concern at the possibility of riotous foreign supporters pledging false allegiance to the Three Lions:

“We have seen quite a lot of Russians with England shirts on – that’s great if they are supporting England of course. But if there is some disorder and it appears they are wearing an England shirt, I want my officers to go in there and establish what we’re dealing with so we’ve got it first hand, so we know whether it’s an English fan and we have a problem or whether actually it’s somebody from another nation who supports another team who just happens to have an England shirt on.”


What impact does televised international have on the incidence and severity of domestic violence? Rebecca Cafe of the BBC has filed the Freedom of Information requests and worked statistical wonders to come up with the/an answer:

“Figures obtained from police forces across England under the Freedom of Information Act show that when England beat Slovenia, nationally the rate per 1,000 people of domestic violence reports increased by 27%.

“And when England lost 4-2 to Germany, domestic violence increased by 29% – however on the two games in the tournament that they drew, there was no noticeable impact overall.”

Those who wandered the streets of Dublin last night following Ireland’s comprehensive defeat to Croatia will hardly be surprised.

More fan ingenuity, this time courtesy of last night’s RTÉ news. Enough to melt the heart of a steely-eyed newsmaiden:

How do you stifle Spain’s creativity? Like this:

A friend — obviously busy at work — sends this strategic plan for the game on Thursday.

And, in the third Fr Ted reference of the day, it reminds me of this beauty:

H/T David O’Malley

Pictures are starting to drop in from Donetsk ahead of England’s meeting with France (which we’ll be liveblogging later, of course).

It’s a stag do, innit?

Feeling blue after last night’s let-down? Us too. So we asked Miguel Delaney to give five reasons to be cheerful ahead of the Spanish game.

For once, all the old lines about Spain were true. Having passed their way up the Italian box on Sunday, they then passed their way back out of it. This happened a number of times, particularly in the first half. In one notable moment, David Silva only had to turn inside and shoot but, instead, incredibly opted to turn back and play it back out. Remarkable. And, even when Fernando Torres came on to make them a bit more direct, he illustrated he still hasn’t returned to his best either. What’s more, Ireland are likely to make that box very congested on Thursday. The Gdansk pitch is nowhere near as slick as the Poznan one. There is potential for Spain frustration here.

Read the rest here.

Miguel has just filed from Trap’s press conference in Gdynia, but the news from the camp today is that Richard Dunne sat out training.

France looked by far the more impressive outfit and, as such, will leave Donetsk harbouring a few regrets. For all their offensive dominance and slick passing, Les Bleus – with the exception of Benzema – occasionally looked lightweight in attack, too flimsy and noncommital to genuinely trouble Terry and Lescott. Their goal – like a further 14 of their attempts  – came from outside the box.

England, by contrast, will feel emboldened by their defensive effort. They could yet grow into this tournament, provided their fanbase keeps the hyperbolic nonsense to a minimum.

Okay, that’s your lot for the day. If there’s a Ukraine v Sweden shaped hole in your life, we’ll fill it shortly. In the meantime, here’s all the Group C  permutations you need to know to impress your friends and family.

Fight through the pain, the rest of our Euro 2012 coverage is over here >

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