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How England and FA have embraced Euro 2012

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Phil McNulty | 15:14 UK time, Thursday, 21 June 2012

Euro 2012: Krakow
England's objective of winning Euro 2012 will face its toughest examination when they confront Italy in Kiev on Sunday - but one mission has been successfully accomplished irrespective of the outcome.

After the unfulfilling 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when misery arrived in equal measure on and off the pitch, the Football Association made the decision to warmly embrace the experience here in Poland and Ukraine should England qualify.

And as expectations rise around Roy Hodgson's team ahead of the quarter-final meeting in the Olympic Stadium, the decisions put in place by the FA to provide a framework for the tournament have been well rewarded.

The pieces started to be assembled in talks with Krakow's local authorities stretching back 18 months and the result is England's party has become, for a few weeks at least, a key component of the community and culture, making them popular with the locals who have appreciated their inclusive approach.


England have travelled hundred of miles from Krakow to Kiew to play their group games. Photo: Getty

The decision to make a base in Krakow when England's early games would be played in Ukraine also came under heavy scrutiny, but an emphatic answer is provided by a glance at the Group D table, which they topped ahead of France.

It is all in sharp contrast to the austere, distant environment of "Camp Capello" in Rustenburg two years ago and is understandably a source of satisfaction to the FA hierarchy.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington told BBC Sport: "We made it clear it when we got back from South Africa that here we would look to fully embrace the tournament and be seen as active participants and seek, however we performed on the pitch, to take something away from the tournament.

"The objective with the media team, with the chairman David Bernstein and the FA board was very clear. We wanted to leave a legacy.

"We entered into partnership with the Holocaust Education Trust and we wanted to talk to the players about what we could take from the tournament. We had the visit to Schindler's Factory museum and the visit to Auschwitz was one of the principle objectives from the outset from an educative point of view.

"We met many times, going back 18 months, with the authorities here. The Mayoral reception was organised nine months out. We had the players walking across the square, showing a commitment to being here and embracing where we are. We have tried to create an environment where the players can thrive while enjoying the experience."

Bevington added: "What Krakow has provided for us is a very vibrant city but not a venue city. It has been wonderful because we have had passing England fans.

"We have people outside the hotel and the square itself is always very busy but what the players are taking from it is that they can go out if they want but they can also stay in a very nice hotel that is quiet, it's a sanctuary.

"We have had e-mails from Uefa thanking us for our accessibility - we did 25 flash interviews after the Ukraine game. The city of Krakow wrote a letter to us saying how delighted they had been with the approach of the English.

"We have attended charity events, and there has been a cemetery visit where we visited the Commonwealth soldiers' cemetery and laid flowers as a mark of respect. This sort of thing doesn't guarantee you winning a tournament but I think every player and member of staff will take memories away from Euro 2012."

It is all in sharp contrast to England's isolation in South Africa, but Bevington explained: "I have to say this in support of Fabio Capello and Franco Baldini. Their preferred option was to have a training base that had a pitch around 20 minutes from the hotel so that it would break the days up.

"They didn't want to just walk from the base to the pitch and back but you are up against other countries and you can't always get what you want."

The current approach has been welcomed by England's players as well as manager Hodgson, a relative latecomer to the plans for Euro 2012 after only taking over in early May.

"Steven Gerrard has made it clear how professional the set-up is," said Bevington. "We've got to allow the players, where appropriate, to have some freedom. That has been a learning curve for all of us involved, including Roy, who has come in only a few weeks ahead of the tournament.

"He has fully supported that objective. We spoke at length with the senior players when we first gathered the squad and then spoke with the whole group as well as coaching and backroom staff. We told them this was what we wanted to do and when we asked if there were any objections there was only unanimous support."

And it is clear any discussion about England being in a different country to their match venues has been removed by results as Bevington said: "You have to pick your base camp prior to knowing the draw. Every country is in that situation and, as is commonly known, 13 of the nations chose Polish bases.

"You have the opportunity, once the draw is made, to in effect switch your base with a country that has been drawn on the other side but we were of the view that we were very happy with the hotel we selected.

"We knew the training ground, despite some scare stories before Christmas, would be the perfect for us and that is how it has turned out.

"We went out and found a very nice plane that could take 60 of us so travel times were at a minimum. It took us - door to door - two hours to get to Kiev. We were in the air for one hour and for the flight to Donetsk it was one hour 45 minutes.

"People need to understand that if we were drawn to play in Gdansk and Warsaw we would still be flying. We weighed all that up."

England must now take the next step amid a shift in expectations and a rise in optimism. There is no mistaking the strong spirit around the camp.

"The players are very tight," said Bevington. "They are blasting the anthem out and I think there is a connection with the supporters. I sense there is a real feeling of respect from the public for these players and how they have gone about things. They respect their honesty as a team."

And in 64-year-old Hodgson, the FA has a manager it firmly believes has shown signs of filling all the criteria they set out when they chose him to succeed Capello.

Bevington added: "We said at the very outset when we appointed Roy that one of the strongest attributes we were looking for was his international experience. He's had a very limited time in the build-up but it is very clear he has been an international manager before.

"I am absolutely sure our mission of leaving a legacy here has been successful and hopefully we will have another week to ingrain ourselves into Krakow."

If England can then get that extension this Euro 2012 campaign could become even more memorable.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    "England feeling at home at Krakow training base"


    you mean the training base and what not that was a huge mistake because of the travelling, and should have been changed the very second the previous manager resigned ?

  • Comment number 2.

    Whats the point of this blog?

    Any chance we can have a blog on the opposition that England face as the media don't appear to have given consideration to the fact were playing a good team in the QFs, most are talking about the prospect of a SF v Germany

  • Comment number 3.

    @ no.1 That's your opinion....the England players and Coaches seem to have formed a different one.... Now I wonder which of the 2 opposing viewpoints actually has any validity...I'm guessing the former. :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Did no1 read the article? or just the headline

  • Comment number 5.

    Sorry maybe I was not clear, the internet could use a sarcasm font.

    When Capello and his team said where England would be based and the draw was made it was met with countless pages both online and offline of how it was a completely moronic decision to be based there, and all the travelling will be completely detrimental to the England team.

    Now we have had (IMO) three fantastic results and topped the group, the training base is the best thing since sliced bread and a master stroke.

  • Comment number 6.

    #5 I totally agree, it appears to be another bit of revisionist journalism to completely forget that it was Capello who chose this team base. Oddly now it's been proven not to be a hindrance, people are falling over themselves to praise it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Is it me or does there seem to be a new blog put out pretty soon after the last one gets over 1000 posts?

    HAHA "Eddie" Charade - I see you have dominated the end of the last blog with all those deliberate wind ups. Remember that I had to punish you and Soul "Tyler Durden" Patch last time you insisted on ruining it for everyone and we all know how that ended - you ranting about killing lion cubs and taming lionesses!

  • Comment number 8.

    A very interesting approach by the FA. It would appear it has been a success in stark contrast to WC10 and the England WC11 rugby team debacle in NZ. It makes a positive change for England & the English to be viewed positevly. A thonk stating we have left a legacy is perhaps the only over bold statement but the England team & the FA will ultimately judged by results on the pitch. So far so good but we are at the business end of the tournament now. So we will see.......

  • Comment number 9.

    ...and banning the band would make it all perfect!

  • Comment number 10.

    It can not be overstated that the reason we have done well is that Frank Lampard is not playing in the centre with Gerrard. It is amazing to me that Hodgson is the only manager who has realised this. Thank goodness for him!

  • Comment number 11.

    As always the most predictable thing about football is its unpredictability.
    When it was announced the base was to be in Krakow and our group games were in Ukraine it was predicted by many to be a mistake.
    Many said we'd struggle against the French and never beat the Swedes and fail to get out of our group.
    We were told that Johnson was a liability and if we couldn't have Walker, who, if his Spurs form is anything to go by, is a bigger liabilty, Hodgson should be taking Richards. Johnson has arguably been our best defender and generally one of our better players.
    Russia were considered a real threat, not just outsiders, and so were the Dutch. Spain were going to have it all their own way.
    Young and Wellbeck were predicted to shine but so far there has been little glossy about either. Parker and Gerrard were both too old and would struggle with the pace of the opposition. Carroll was a waste of a shirt, wouldn't even get a start, and certainly no goals - yet the one match and few minutes he has had, has been a star performer. And then there was Rooney, who was going to beat the Ukraine single handedly with one leg tied behind his back, but if it hadn't been for a magnificant finish from all of 12" (300mm for the Europeans on here) would have been largely ignored.
    So for anyone saying we won't get past Italy, or the Germans, or Spain, or win a penalty shoot out, or this or that, just think again!

  • Comment number 12.

    The location of the training base to where they play their matches is surely irrelevant? All these players are used to travelling long distances to play European games for their clubs throughout the season so if that were to be used as an excuse then it'd be a pretty poor one. Besides, it's not like they cram the entire squad into a minibus, I'm pretty sure the first class section on an airliner is slightly more comfortable than that......

  • Comment number 13.

    2.
    At 16:53 21st Jun 2012, don_the_mon_81 wrote:

    Whats the point of this blog?

    Any chance we can have a blog on the opposition that England face as the media don't appear to have given consideration to the fact were playing a good team in the QFs, most are talking about the prospect of a SF v Germany
    _______________________________________________
    As a piece of journalism this is embarrassing, all the more so because quite a lot of work seems to have gone into it, with one source telling us in detail all about...um... you know what, I've already forgotten.
    Someone let these people know there are other teams in this tournament that people want to talk about. Even if it's from the perespective of 'How should England approach ... Italy/Spain/Germany/Portugal?' I appreciate this is the BBC and the focus inevitably on England, but that doesn't mean we have to know every single piece of information about them. They'll be blogging about what Scott Parker had for lunch if this one is anything to go by.

  • Comment number 14.

    What legacy will the team leave in Poland? It's not as if they have built a new local school or something. That they have managed to win over the locals and generate good press, is a good thing, but that isn't a legacy.

    Personally I am not surprised that we are where we are. There was huge weight of expectation on the team at WC2010 and it seems that became a huge burden. No-one really expected much this time so the players have been able to just get on with their jobs.

    And although Frank Lampard will almost certainly not agree, his pre-tournament injury was just what Gerrard and Parker needed. They now just need to play slightly higher up the pitch.

    I think we have a chance against Italy but that's all. Never write off Italy in any tournament. A lot did in 2006 and look what happened!

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh my God, that band. I used to love the Great Escape, now? I grimace everytime I hear that tune.

  • Comment number 16.

    Blogging about base & location.... Phil, have you forgotten we have QF against Italy? Maybe, just maybe we could blog about how to send the Italians packing or look to the possibility of meeting Germany in the semis... Maybe I am just bored.

  • Comment number 17.

    lol@at all the cynics.

    Sheesh folks, lighten up, get a life.

    I'm very pleased the base worked out, because I certainly had my doubts.

    Not often the FA deserves some praise, but bringing in Hodgson turns out to be a brilliant move.

  • Comment number 18.

    Phil. It is welcome news that the England team are good ambassadors for our country at last. Winning the Euros is an outside bet, but the sour faces of England in tournaments was worse than the stuff they played on the pitch. Maybe Mr Hodgson has more depth than the Press who criticise him.

    They would be even more popular if they lost dirges of the Brass band that has attached themselves to England. #15 I agree .....Sack the band

  • Comment number 19.

    @13

    I believe he had a nice curry

  • Comment number 20.

    Good God, some of you lot are miserable. Seems like for once England have tried to be inclusive in their chosen base. By all accounts, the Poles are thrilled we are there. And you never know, we may end up getting a few Poles to support us should we end up playing ze Germans in the semis.

  • Comment number 21.

    How do we know it was a nice curry?

  • Comment number 22.

    Find some of the negative responses bit puzzling. The FA & England players/staff have made a real effort to integrate with the community here in Krakow and they deserve credit for that.

    And for those asking about what legacy they will leave it is worth noting that the FA spent 100,000 Euros on the pitch at Hutnik - which is quite a legacy for Polish third division team.

    The atmosphere around the squad is completely different to South Africa and lends itself to improved performance.

    Also quite refreshing to hear the media criticised for their positive approach to England here in Poland/Ukraine. It is absolute proof that we can't win.

  • Comment number 23.

    Actually, scrub that. If we play Germany we'll have all the Poles behind us....well, except for Podolski and Klose of course.

  • Comment number 24.

    Quite right Phil, give em some stick back. I really do wonder why some of them bother a) reading the blogs, as they have already made up their minds they won't like it, and b) posting all these dreary, negative comments. The constant whingeing from Manchester United fans during the course of last season, especially when you dared to write a positive article about the champions was laughable.

  • Comment number 25.

    People are critical of the media's continuous change in attitude. One minute the base involves too much traveling, the next its fantastic.

    Its far easier to respect someone's opinions when they are consistent.

  • Comment number 26.

    In addition to post 25.

    When they are consistent, or can atleast admit they had made a mistake.

  • Comment number 27.

    This blog is about the england team at euro2012. The base plays quite an important role. i found it interesting to read about the organisation.

    Or maybe you want Mr McNulty to perform what I have decided is the most pointless exercise ever - trying predict the score. why oh why do people do that? does anyone give a damn if "englandfan" (or similar) thinks it will be 2:1 aet?

  • Comment number 28.

    "Whats the point of this blog?

    Any chance we can have a blog on the opposition that England face as the media don't appear to have given consideration to the fact were playing a good team in the QFs, most are talking about the prospect of a SF v Germany"

    You won't read a blog about England's opponents or tactical ways to play against them etc. as a very slim percentage of the British press know ANYTHING about football outside the Premier League and Madrid/Barca. If you read anything about the Italians it will be about Balotelli, as along with Pirlo & Buffon, he's the only player the Little Englander press have heard of.

  • Comment number 29.

    All these blogs, all these intricate comments and analyses. For what, 2 scraped, lucky wins and -ve football for half the Tournament?

    The story of this Tournament has been the perplexing underperformances by the biggies and how the NeuenBundesligeProgrammenBund keep on delivering. But even we have underperformed, the Danish result was too close for comfort.

    Lack of stellar goals, with some hope courtesy of Ibrahimovic and Wooney's stunning 2 inch header (*COUGH) and the said underperformances have soured the Tournament. Naturally, Engerlund would thrive on this then.

    Here's hoping the Czechs and Portuguese really have a go- what's the point of being -ve? Wooney who? It's more a case of R7 coming good this Tournament, but where was the blog?

    Someone's gotto eventually win, so hey-ho have a real go and on with the show!

  • Comment number 30.

    As a typical English pessimist. I still feel that the squad we have taken isn't the best England has to offer. The inclusion of Downing (no matter how little he has played so far) bemuses me. A player who hasn't created or scored a goal all season is seen as an ideal candidate to take over Lennon (yes been injured but was fit at the end of the season) or Adam Johnson (yes not played much but when he did he scored or made assists). The same with Glen Johnson really,

    My point is, great that they are integrating with the culture of Poland and Ukraine, but more talk about the football please. Not stuff that most of us have experienced in school trips.

    p.s. SACK THE BAND! Atmosphere killers!

  • Comment number 31.

    Phil.

    It's interesting to note the positive impact of the base and how the travelling didn't casuse too much problems.

    But I agree with Gooner about the legacy. And 100'000 euros for a pitch for a third division club is not particularly convincing as a legacy - the prize money redistributed through the FA Cup each year to non-league clubs far outwieghs that.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think it's fantastic that the players seem to have enjoyed being in Krakow. Its seems to be working and they're playing reasonably well.

    The overall performances haven't been exciting and full of class, but Hodgson has got them playing for each other and they seem determined to do well. If only the 'Golden Generation' had played with the same passion and determination that has been shown this last 7-10 days!

    The distance travelled is obviously not ideal but it doesn't seem to have affected the players and they must be given massive credit for their attitudes. Well done lads and keep it going!

  • Comment number 33.

    29 what do you think the punishment should be for ze Germans now that they have been charged with a second offence in three matches? This one because ze Germans were waving Swastikas?

  • Comment number 34.

    5euro fine :D

  • Comment number 35.

    #5 people who don't get sarcasm in writing probably live their life in a state of perpetual bewilderment as well, sot he sarcasm font isn't needed - i knew what you meant and completely agree with #6 as well - it is either classic revisionism to big up the training camp now, or it was just typical dumb pointless media hysteria to slate it before. It can't be both.

  • Comment number 36.

    Pfft, nice try trying to bring up the subject of discrimination yet again- but that was a minority DummGruppen that every crowd contains to some varying degree.

    They'll be promptly dealt with, ze Real Germans know how to run a welcome show for all- I'm sure you as a footy fan would concur from the bumper festives we offered 6 years ago?

    Anyhow, onwards with the Greece Boot-job *cracks knuckles*.

    Oh, and good luck to all for this evening- I am completely neutral for the part here. 2 good continental teams, but I'm guessing 3-1 to Portugal if R7 continues his parade.

  • Comment number 37.

    highly amusing,
    I don't really see the point of the article, as many have suggested, and unfortunately there aren't any real information on other teams unlike eurosport for instance. But, if I don't like it I move on...
    What I do find amusing, is the credibility of the article which is surely embarrassing. Missing the 'this was Capello's decision, and an unpopular one...' is not journalism, as some of the facts are hidden to prove an author's point. Hence the article has no intention of informing readers or presenting facts rather than seducing readers in believing what you want them to.
    And if this error wasn't bad enough, to come back and respond to your readers is decent, and should be done more, but yet again fail to address the point that so many other bloggers are making.

  • Comment number 38.

    @36 why spoil your comment with a prediction? i can understand you think Portugal will win, but your precision over the scoreline will be your undoing.

    Or are you looking for an argument with someone who thinks it will be 4-1?

  • Comment number 39.

    Heh, that said- you lot should make a blog on the fantastic crisps your Nation makes.

    Walkers Sensations- World Class. Beats Germany's efforts any day of the time!

  • Comment number 40.

    Maybe in the faint hope the game's managers will read it and not play negatively? =]

  • Comment number 41.

    7. At 17:54 21st Jun 2012, Drastic wrote:

    Is it me or does there seem to be a new blog put out pretty soon after the last one gets over 1000 posts?
    _______________________________________________

    Maybe if there are more than 1,200 posts the system can't cope and it self-destructs?

    What I can tell you is that a blog is closed to comments from midnight on the third day after it is posted - so this one would be at 00:00 on Sunday 24 June.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ Avonns,

    Just wondering if you have actually seen Cristiano Ronaldo play in the Euros this year or just been listening to a few people?!

    He has played 3 games so far, played well in one of them and done next to nothing in the others.

    I wouldn't say that is "coming good"

  • Comment number 43.

    40 I simply asked you what the punishment will/should be for ze Germans.

  • Comment number 44.

    22.
    At 18:41 21st Jun 2012, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    "Find some of the negative responses bit puzzling."

    Glad to see you do read some of these comments. Just wait until HaHa Charade and Soul Patch get started when you mention " negative responses "

    The England squad are of course our ambassadors and delighted to see that no feathers have been ruffled. Hodgson seems to have struck a very natural balance both on and off the pitch and this will probably go down, with the squad, as a better tournament experience. Hope we can keep progressing as their overall attitude deserves some payback.

  • Comment number 45.

    @31

    May I just make it crystal clear that the England football team didn't go to Poland to build schools or hospitals.

    But I'm sure as some of the folks here care so much about it they will be volunteering over there for the rest of the summer.

  • Comment number 46.

    Roy has been fantastic...... and then England crash out miserably against Italy.... it will be how Roy and the troops have disappointed the English public and cries for Redknapp to be manager all over again...... I hate it when people are so fickle and cant have a strong opinion

  • Comment number 47.

    Tonight's Prediction.....Czech Rep 2 v Portugal 1
    The sublime Jiracek, the classy Baros and the silky Darida to dominate the Portuguese Plodders.......

  • Comment number 48.

    The location of the team and how the outside world perceives us is very important. I think Phil is right to highlight this. There are so many ignorant Englishmen that don't care about other cultures.
    I'm enjoying this tournament and every detail that goes with it. Good luck boys!

  • Comment number 49.

    2. At 16:53 21st Jun 2012, don_the_mon_81 wrote:

    Whats the point of this blog?
    ____________________________________________

    The blogs from McNulty tend to follow a pattern of pre match blog from stadium, post match blog from stadium, interim blog(s) from base camp, pre match blog from stadium etc.

    This is one of his blogs between games. I expect (I may be wrong) that another blog will be written from Kiev at some point on Saturday. It will probably mention England playing Italy at some point...

  • Comment number 50.

    Let's not deny the talent up on show tonight, quite 'Media-like' of me to just mention you know who of Portugal.

    Nani can be sometimes as breathtaking as the bigbadboy himself from the wings. Eduardo is just good, great on his day. And Postiga along with a swift midfield make one of the better counter set-ups.

  • Comment number 51.

    For the postings regarding the training camp.

    It was chosen as a direct result of the failure in 2010, then the players were unhappy with the surroundings and 24 hour reminder of football because that was all there was there.

    Common sense really, we all need a break from our daily routine.

  • Comment number 52.

    @47

    SoulPatch, they're only plodders in '-ve mode'. A good team, but well beaten when the opposition is of proven quality.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hard to call tonight, totally dependent on which Portugal turn up. The Czechs are a basic team but the opposition drive me round the bend at times they are breathtaking and then they will go into their shell.

    Oh well here we go game on.

  • Comment number 54.

    You think a win? Pilar and Selassie also are notable talents, but mm, not sure. Portugal may attack from the offset, then they'd be in trouble as they don't seem to handle pace too well.

  • Comment number 55.

    Should be a good game tonight by the way. I'll be interested to see how Portugal approach the match.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think is a good blog and worth the review and Cappello should take some credit for changing what mess he created in the training camp at SA.

    But Roy has perfected it and its good to England and the players as approachable relaxed and open to the public. The public always responds and it will win us alot of fans as we are a bit low at this tournament.

    @46 i just hope HR gets a job soon, and then Roy can do his job, but even if the media call out for HR i cant see the FA changing their minds and spending again.

    One question i have is does anyone know what the wage RH has been delegated by the FA.

  • Comment number 57.

    Well, gg for all until 2000hrs!

  • Comment number 58.

    We need more Phil McNulty types in football journalism. He plods his way through many of these exciting blog posts. They are never sparse and contain juicy, fresh and delicious content.
    Mr McNulty, you are a legend! Thank you again for plodding your way to another concise, relevant and interesting post!

  • Comment number 59.

    @43forrest gump

    "40 I simply asked you what the punishment will/should be for ze Germans."

    Playing in the semi final against England which is defending with 11 players at its own half like they did before. Anti football . . . .

  • Comment number 60.

    Soul Patch why do you even bother reading and commenting if you have nothing interesting to say yourself. You're all boring us.

  • Comment number 61.

    You're boring us*

  • Comment number 62.

    60. At 20:12 21st Jun 2012, SparkysDream wrote:
    Soul Patch why do you even bother reading and commenting if you have nothing interesting to say yourself. You're all boring us.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Oh behave!

  • Comment number 63.

    @58 - sarcasm? Surely not.....

    On another point I'm "watching" tonight's game and it looks like England/Italy have serious competition for most boring game of Euro 2012. zzzzzzzzzzzz.......

  • Comment number 64.

    It's not soul_patch, he has underscores in his username, whereas this impostor has hyphens.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well the Czechs have a clear gameplan, mark Ronaldo out of the game. I need a strong coffee before the 2nd half kicks off!

  • Comment number 66.

    35.
    At 19:04 21st Jun 2012, The Trawler wrote:

    #5 people who don't get sarcasm in writing probably live their life in a state of perpetual bewilderment as well, sot he sarcasm font isn't needed - i knew what you meant and completely agree with #6 as well - it is either classic revisionism to big up the training camp now, or it was just typical dumb pointless media hysteria to slate it before. It can't be both.

    --------------------------------

    Yes it can.

  • Comment number 67.

    rememberscarborough @63
    On another point I'm "watching" tonight's game and it looks like England/Italy have serious competition for most boring game of Euro 2012.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    yep, take out Ronaldo and this is not a good game.

    At times, even though he is so far and above the rest of the Portugal team, it may be more beneficial to alter their routine. Every attack looks for Ronaldo and that is a weakness.

  • Comment number 68.

    Avonns

    I have suspected for a while that you are a troll of some sort and you have given the game away for sure now. Despite trying to give the impression that you are German or of German extraction you described Czech Rep. and Portugal as two continental European teams.

    About two third's of European nations could be described as continental and that is a perculiarly English/British way of describing Europe given our island geographical location. No way would a German describe these countries in those terms.

    ALERT. We have a new member of the paTroll.

  • Comment number 69.

    Second half of this game has picked up pace and chances, but I think if Ronaldo misses another effort his head will explode, probably from the tubs of hair product he has used!

  • Comment number 70.

    How come England players enjoy the experience and embrace Polish hospitality if we, Poles are only bunch of racists, idiots, thugs and savage eastern Europeans according to BBC? Obviously Chris Rodgers, Sol Campbell, David Bond and the whole BBC won't apology for their xenophobic approach and all abuse we got from them. #lackofclass

  • Comment number 71.

    Name on the trophy?

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 67 Londoner

    An excellent observation.

    Ronaldo looks so pumped up for this competition. I believe Portugal could win the tournament. However, I think Ronaldo may have to adjust his game slightly if they are to do that.

    You could draw comparisons with Maradona and Argentina. Maradona was head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the Argentine team, as Ronaldo is for Portugal.

    I think the only weakness Ronaldo has is that he seems to want to do everything himself. The rest of the team seem almost in awe of him and always look to him for a moment of brilliance. Maradona was able to bring other players into a game and inspire them to perform better.

    The question is can Ronaldo sacrifice something in his game to perhaps help the rest of the team be more threatening? I'm not sure he can.

  • Comment number 73.

    Expectations have not risen, they've been exceeded. So when we lose don't start claiming that England failed.

    And all this 'quiet optimism' stuff is garbage, it's just been nice to see a side that seems to want it a bit. For that I give more credit to Roy Hodgson than I do to the hotel they're staying in.

  • Comment number 74.

    Well, as you Englisch sometime say; Wooney- 'ave iiit!

    That's how you plant one and that's how you run a show, signed CR7.

    Not a lil' 'crab header' feeding off one of the worst goal-keeper fumbles I've seen this year!

  • Comment number 75.

    @71

    'Name on the trophy?'

    That'll be Joachim Loew und Co. Has nice ring to it, ja?

  • Comment number 76.

    @ 74 Avonns

    Rooney was poor against Ukraine and scored header from 2 yards.

    Ronaldo was brilliant against the Czech Republic and scored with a powerful, well placed header.

    The score in both matches? 1-0.

  • Comment number 77.

    see your point phil about you saying the media cant win, BUT you could of said all this before the tourney started, we true fans knew the distances would of involved a plane wherever they were based, we also knew about the legacy the fa would leave, thats why not a lot of people have respect for the media cos they are always a month behind the rest of us.

    nows a good time for the blogs about why it was right to leave rio carrick richards at home, so i guess we'll see them in july.

  • Comment number 78.

    For those that think this blog is pointless, just don't read it or if you did find it dull move along and don't post. Telling everyone who is not interested that you are not interested is a little hypocritical.

    I like they way they have been in and around the town and country. Being part of the Euro is special and they should enjoy the experience, a few may never get that feeling again. There is nothing wrong with building bridges. Winning is important but only 1 team can win the other 15 may not win but they help to make the whole thing special.
    Thankfully tho many of the sour faces on here did not go over to spread their joy... Not all English men look inward.

  • Comment number 79.

    as for you trolls and wums in here moaning about another england blog, your the ones that comment most in them.

  • Comment number 80.

    72.At 21:52 21st Jun 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    I think the only weakness Ronaldo has is that he seems to want to do everything himself.
    _____________________________

    Are you surprised , have you seen the way Almeida and Nani are playing up front

  • Comment number 81.

    So I am here since very young and have citizenship, living in Britain and therefore referring to 'Continental' teams? Unusuals? I think not!

    Well, your perception can count me as Club Troll if you wish. So while I type football, you can type trolol?

  • Comment number 82.

    I should say, Englisch perception.

  • Comment number 83.

    63. At 20:23 21st Jun 2012, RememberScarborough wrote:

    On another point I'm "watching" tonight's game and it looks like England/Italy have serious competition for most boring game of Euro 2012. zzzzzzzzzzzz.......
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Try watching instead of posting on here in mid game. It actually turned out to be a good one for those with the required attention span.

    Trawler, I think you'll find Moutinho was almost, if not as good as Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 84.

    80.
    At 22:33 21st Jun 2012, repo wrote:


    72.At 21:52 21st Jun 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    I think the only weakness Ronaldo has is that he seems to want to do everything himself.
    _____________________________

    Are you surprised , have you seen the way Almeida and Nani are playing up front
    _____________________________

    No. Yes.

    It was clear after 15 minutes that Portugal were not going to lose that game. The problem they have is that it took them 80 minutes to break down a very poor Czech team.

    What i'm saying is in their next game they will have to vary their tactics a bit. If Ronaldo can bring other players into a game more (tough ask I know) then they could pose different problems for their opponents. At the moment they are one dimensional - although that one dimension is amazing.

    I thought Moutinho and Coentrao were good tonight and the defence looks pretty solid although it wasn't really tested at all.

  • Comment number 85.

    @80

    While it is mostly true this match would've made or broken his international status (not for me), he took it like a Master and passed the test. And not with a crab-header.

    Congratulations- but let's not discount the rest, they did keep up the pressure on the drowsy Czechs. Drowsy after 30 minutes or so anyway.

  • Comment number 86.

    83.At 22:40 21st Jun 2012, Frank Black wrote:
    Try watching instead of posting on here in mid game. It actually turned out to be a good one for those with the required attention span.
    __________________________________________________

    Hi Frank
    Just got back from driving around the town in a convoy of about 50 cars blowing my Vuvuzela :)
    How many chances do Portugal need to score a goal ?
    Hope they are not as wasteful against France in the semis

  • Comment number 87.

    @83

    Thank you, thank you!

  • Comment number 88.

    An interesting insight and good to see that some careful thought has been put into a whole host of aspects. I know that the squad are free to leave the Hotel. Are you aware of whether any players have done this and and what the local reaction has been. I mean can they wander around freely without too much hinderence or are they mobbed by autograph hunters. No one seems to have covered this

  • Comment number 89.

    @86

    France v Portugal. I - cannot - waiiit. Thank you R7 an Co for make this possible!

  • Comment number 90.

    last minute of extra time @78

    Not all English men look inward.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your right they don't.

    Part of the FA's remit is exactly what it is doing, off the pitch and around the country, at the Euros. All organisations worth their salt do it.

    They are ambassadors for our country and for the first time in god knows how long, they seem to be making a damn good job of it.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Scotland fan my perception is a team that is less distracted and better set up than in the previous four or five tournaments. They should not win euro 2012 - but Denmark and Greece have shown that should and did are very different. Italy should hold as much concern for this England team as the current Belgium squad for Scotland in the upcoming 2014 qualifiers. After that who knows, a bit of luck and perseverance and finally 1966 could become the forgotten memory it now deserves to be.

    Although my preference will remain 'Allez le bleu' or a spot of 'Deutschland uber alles' I will not be upset should the 'Auld Enemy' provide the upset of the tournament

  • Comment number 92.

    @ 89 Avonns

    Never write off the Spanish - or is that the Germans...

  • Comment number 93.

    Spain v Portugal--- can't wait either!

  • Comment number 94.

    84.At 22:42 21st Jun 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    ______________________________________

    The problem is always the same with Portugal , they either score spectacular goals or the ball ends up in row Z , there is no middle ground.

  • Comment number 95.

    Germans? We don't like Spain anymore ,]

  • Comment number 96.

    @ 94 repo

    Unfortunately for them the ball spends a lot more time in row Z than in the net.

  • Comment number 97.

    repo

    I have got Spain to beat France but either way, Portugal would have a chance if they can reproduce tonight's performance. Yes wasteful, but at least positive.

    Oh, and I have drawn Portugal in office sweep.

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 87

    You're most welcome!

  • Comment number 99.

    baggiosponytail @84

    I do believe one of the problems Portugal face, is what they do with Ronaldo.

    I wrote this at half time @67-----At times, even though he is so far and above the rest of the Portugal team, it may be more beneficial to alter their routine. Every attack looks for Ronaldo and that is a weakness.

    The problem is they are doing it far too often, the goal was actually well worked and did not involve Ronaldo until the final ball, Ronaldo was a purely a striker at that point.

    For large parts of the first half almost every ball was played to him, no matter where he was on the pitch, he is an outstanding player but he is not superman. They need far more variation than what they showed tonight. They are infact creating pressure for themselves.

  • Comment number 100.

    96.At 22:56 21st Jun 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    @ 94 repo

    Unfortunately for them the ball spends a lot more time in row Z than in the net.
    _________________________________

    The problem is mate that against England they get it in the net, as in 1986 , 2000, 2004 , and 2006 :(
    It is hard being English and married to a Portuguese when they play football, I am dreading a Portugal vs England final !

 

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