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Euro 2012 proves a treat, on and off the pitch

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Phil McNulty | 16:19 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2012

The conclusion of Euro 2012 was marked by Spain's magnificent victory against Italy and a noisy party that was still in full swing as dawn broke behind the vast bowl of Kiev's Olympic Stadium.

And after a tournament that started amid fears of hooliganism and racism, both Ukraine and Poland had every right to celebrate an event that did both countries great credit.

Logistical problems and prohibitive travel prices meant empty seats at many games - including the final that brought Spain's 4-0 masterclass. This was a real shame as every unoccupied yellow and blue seat at that final represented a missed opportunity to witness something special.

This was, however, a wonderfully enjoyable tournament, on and off the pitch. From the searing heat of Donetsk's Donbass Arena, through Warsaw and on to exciting, edgy Kiev for the final, the people of Poland and Ukraine were friendly, welcoming and unfailingly polite and helpful.

Fireworks in Kiev

Fireworks mark the end of Euro 2012 in Kiev. Photo: Reuters

Volunteers in fanzones and at venues were keen to seek views and approval of their cities and such was their enthusiasm and determination to ensure Euro 2012 ran smoothly that approval was always given. So often the conversation went: "What do you think of our city? Please come back." Perfect hosts.

On long travels through both countries, opposition fans were welcomed and even the early exit of co-hosts Ukraine, witnessed at close quarters when England won at the beautiful and modern Donbass, was accepted with sportsmanship and good grace.

One of the most memorable scenes was played out while waiting to watch Poland's pivotal qualifier against the Czech Republic. Everyone in the small restaurant stood, some close to tears, as the national anthem was played. It was an intoxicating mixture of passion and national pride.

It was a chance for all of us to embrace history, and the visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau was something that will leave an impression forever on all of us who took the emotional trip. Unforgettable.

And to be based with England in Krakow was to see the benefit of being in the city centre and being prepared to engage with the local community. England were good tourists and Poland welcomed them.

This was a more relaxed England, helped by manager Roy Hodgson's urbane, mature approach and perhaps by the acceptance that a place in the last eight, and an almost inevitable loss on penalties to Italy, was par for the course.

Low points were few and far between, although they included the moment BBC Sport's chief football writer almost fell foul of the (very large-hatted) forces of law in Kiev while trying to defend the honour of veteran comedian and England brass band member Bernie Clifton. The potential loss of liberty might not have been a price worth paying, sacrificed for a former "Crackerjack" host, best known for his attachment to a fake ostrich.

Phil McNulty and TV veteran Bernie Clifton fall foul of the Ukranian police. Photo: George Riley

The quality of football produced by the 16 teams made a nonsense of the planned extension to 24 countries in 2016. The beauty of the Euros is the absence of easy fixtures - there is no bedding in, no chance to make slips and still have plenty of time to make up for them.

Spain were the right winners while Italy's renaissance under coach Cesare Prandelli offered the promise of one of the old powers returning. Germany looked formidable only to slip in the semi-final, while the Netherlands' dismal failure to advance from the group stage was a major surprise.

Of course, players make tournaments and Euro 2012 will be remembered for stellar performances from the likes of Italy keeper Gigi Buffon and Spain's Jordi Alba, who showed in every game why Barcelona were so keen to bring the graduate of their famous La Masia youth academy back from Valencia.

And then we had the wonder of the elder statesman of Italy, Andrea Pirlo, controlling against England then delivering a performance of such majesty in the semi-final win over Germany that man-of-the-match adjudicator Peter Schmeichel handed over the award with the words: "Tonight we have seen a piece of art."

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to make this his tournament only for it to end in the bitterness of seeing the penalty shoot-out lost against Spain without him even able to take a kick. This was one of the great miscalculations of Euro 2012 and could haunt player and country for years to come.

The Spain team celebrate

The greatest ever? This Spain team will go down in the history books. Photo: Getty

The last bouquets, however, must go to the winners. Spain's display in the final will ensure, above anything, that Euro 2012 lives forever in the memory.

Euro 2012 will be remembered for Andrea Iniesta, Xavi, Alba and their colleagues - for the so-called "boring" Spain side that produced a performance that will warm everyone when they cast their mind back to this tournament.

The people of Poland and Ukraine deserved their tournament to have that finale - fine people who staged a fine tournament won by arguably the greatest international team the game has ever seen.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Its very interesting that the much hyped racism and hooliganism didn't materialise from the host countries.

    Was this yet another instance of the English press whipping up the usual sideshow hysteria?

    Spain were excellent. An absolute joy to watch.

  • Comment number 2.

    "a tournament that started amid fears of hooliganism and racism"

    in whose eyes???

    It was only from the short-sightedness and the pettiness of the English Media !

    End of....

  • Comment number 3.

    Any chance of a public apology from the BBC 'Panorama' regarding it's comments on racism in the Ukraine and Poland?

    What about the comments made about the world cup in South Africa?

    What next...crime in Brazil?

    I'm afraid but the BBC is losing it's credibility, any chance Phil you can communicate that to your superiors?

  • Comment number 4.

    No public apologies from the BBC and Campbell, then?

  • Comment number 5.

    It remains to be seen whether the billions borrowed and spent on infrastructure will bear any benefit in the long term, or whether Ukraine - with its widespread corruption - will fall inside the same pothole as Greece with the 2004 Olympics.

  • Comment number 6.

    Phil
    Whilst i think its fair to admit the pre tournament fears concerning racism and hooligans were never truly met, it is naive to suggest these problems were not on display.
    Just because Ukranian and Polish cameras refrained from showing the right wing banners and bananas which were hurled, doesn't mean they never happened.
    Whilst credit is due, we should realise that the racism witnessed was the worst in generations and certaonly the worst at a major tournament that I've ever seen. Local cameras can cut to attractive woman and happy families all they want but it cannot hide the problems on display, and nor should you underplay them Phil.

    On a footballing note, a fantastic advert for technique and ball retention.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Given the recent killing in Olympic Park no doubt the BBC Panorma team will now be producing a documentary advising everyone in Britain to stay away from the London for fear of 'coming home in a box' as silly Sol Campbell was poorly advised to say. The whole BBC team involved in that Panorama programme should be fired immediately for producing such an inaccurate and biased report.
    On the standard of the tournament I still maintain that putting the 8 qualifiers from the group stages, into 2 groups of 4 and playing each other over normal 90' with the respective group winners contesting the final would have produced more exciting football than the knockout system which leads to negative and defensive play as too many teams are happy to take extra time and penalties and then demand sympathy when they lose for being 'unlucky' in the shoot-out. Two groups of 4, as opposed to quarter-finals, means that teams have to go for a win in 90' to secure 3 points and try and top the group and more exciting and positive football would be produced as a result of this system.

  • Comment number 10.

    Having been to Poland twice and being from a mixed ethnic background, I did get the occasional strange look but nothing more, the problems of racism should never have been brought up just before the tournament start.

    #6 the banners and banana's were displayed by neither of the host nations, it's hardly their fault. And when Balotelli makes statements that he'll walk off if abused, and most of the racism was in matches he was involved, were the supporters being abusive or simply trying to rile up the striker.

    If racism should be a concern, it should be for Russia 2018 who caused huge problems throughout the tournament

  • Comment number 11.

    It was certainly one of the best tournaments I can remember and easily the best tournament since '96.

    Plenty of drama: England v Sweden probably being the match of the tournament on sheer drama alone.

    Great goals: Carrol's and Ibrahimovic's being the two best.

    Surprises: a Dutch squad (who were slightly overrated anyway, a WC 2010 final appearance flattered them) absolutely failing to deliver.

    Performances: Pirlo against England and Germany were two of the best individual performances I've seen in a long, long time. Balotelli against the Germans finally showed what he's capable of.

    Great team play: Germany, Spain and Italy. Need I say more?

    Misery: England losing on penalties again. Credit to the boys, we weren't great but with a manager 5 minutes into the job they utterly exceeded my expectations. Wiltshere in that side to actually hold and pass the ball... Maybe, just maybe.

    Worthy winners and final: I'm Spain's harshest critic, and yes, I do find them boring. But only boring because as they proved in the final, they can play exactly how we know they can, but 95% of the time, don't. Perform like that in most matches and I will never criticise them again. A magnificent final performance.

    All in all a great tournament. Poland and Ukraine can be very proud.

  • Comment number 12.

    @8 The word you are looking for is alleged but don't worry it's sometimes hard to see in them tinted specs

    @6 agreed and as for all the people saying the bbc should offer an apology can you honestly say there has been no "high profile" racist incidents at this tournament.

  • Comment number 13.

    Awful tournament.

    Miserable crowds more interested in jeering and whistling the opposition than cheering their own teams.

    Virtually no side and no game stood out.

    Football has become a game of defend, hoof and then belt a shot into row X.

    No wonder a team who can pass (ie. Spain) won!

  • Comment number 14.

    will the BBC - and other news outlets - apologise for the almost libellous statements made about Ukraine/Poland's prospects as hosts prior to the tournament?

    Probably not but, either way, they were resoundly proved wrong!

    Well done to both

  • Comment number 15.

    If racism should be a concern, it should be for Russia 2018 who caused huge problems throughout the tournament
    --------------------------------------
    Russia were fined on four occasions, two of which were for banners of the Russian flag prior to 1918 and another with picture of the leader military leader from 1612. How are these 'racist?' Also Russian fans being set upon on the way to the ground by mobs of Polish fans on Poniatowski bridge. There were also attacks on Croatia fans.

  • Comment number 16.

    @qualityreading

    Russia were fined on four occasions, two of which were for banners of the Russian flag prior to 1918 and another with picture of the leader military leader from 1612. How are these 'racist?'

    -----

    At a guess maybe because they are the banners of an extreme-right wing political party which wants to do to blacks, socialists, asians, jews, gays, the mentally ill, non-white Russians and the disabled what Hitler did to them.

    I think most sane people would call that racist. Wouldnt you?

  • Comment number 17.

    Enjoyable read Phil !

    I agree with most apart from the fact we now learn, it was you, single handily, who appears to be responsible for everyones ears being subjected to that drone from the Brass Band, by failing in your duty to assist the Ukrainian chap in the big hat, in his duty to Keep The Peace on the streets.

  • Comment number 18.

    It simply isn't possible to defend the honour of someone who plays the trombone.
    :-)

  • Comment number 19.

    And as usual the organisers are quick to announce the tournament a resounding success. Same thing happened after the WC in SA. How can a tournament with so many empty seats be a 'resounding success'. It's a travesty.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 6

    IMO its perfectly correct not to give criminals any sort of platform to showcase their work to the public.

    unlike in engerland of course, where crime is seen to pay, by giving such low lives, their own tv shows, films etc, interviews about their life history.

    had there have been any " serious " incidents I am sure the authorities would have filmed them, for the viewers warped fascination for such events, perhaps a few banners and bananas are not as interesting as the actual Football ?

    after all there were plenty of banners and bananas on display during the recent yawn fest jubilee i dare say also the odd banner and banana will be on display at the upcoming yawnfest olympic games many have already been seen at wombledon to.

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm disappointed in this article.......I was expecting to see an enlarged picture of the local girl with the "Polska" sign. Where is she?

    Also nice to see Phil praising the tournament hosts. NO apology from him or the BBC for attempting to incite fear and scare-mongering. Still, this is more of an apology than Panorama will ever provide.

    I must say it was a bit of a strange tournament. Germany looked imperious until the semis, Italy were a surprise, Spain in 2nd gear until the final. Even more strange, Iniesta was player of the tournament despite having 0 goals and 0 assists, and Torres wins the golden boot!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Logistics, travel problems, racism (not nececarily by the hosts), violence, empty seats and boring football on the whole makes for a succesful tournament! Can't wait for the world cup then!

    How can a tournament with these problems be a good one. I've enjoyed the odd moment of football (Germany were good but dissapointing in the end, Portugal in the semi were good and the 1st half of the final was spectacular), but apart from that, the football has been dire! That works out at about 8 halves of good entertaining football.

    Can I also say, please BBC, change your pundits! Never before have I heard such un-qualified, oppinionated and fickle comments outside of ITV! One minute, Balotelli will never do any good because of his attitude, then after the semi he's potentially the best on the planet. Again, Spain and especially Iniesta were mentioned several times as being struggling and 'can't seem to get going', the next Iniesta is the player of the tournament and Spain the best ever. To have a Scottish international (who could only get 26 caps!) commenting on England performances is an insult. An ex Newcastle manager who turned and entertaining club in a boring one and failed to stop them being relegated commenting on tactical awareness is bizare and then to have an Irishman in the commentary box that you can hear straining to get something positive out of his mouth (if he's not sounding like he's falling asleep!) is rediculous! As a non-Arsenal fan it pains me slightly to say that Dixon and Keown are great, seem to have a real insight into how and why football should be played and are not afraid to stick to their guns!

    So, was the tournament a success.... not really, and a lot of work by the teams and the bbc to get it sorted for Brazil.

  • Comment number 23.

    19.At 08:28 3rd Jul 2012, SwissColony wrote:
    And as usual the organisers are quick to announce the tournament a resounding success. Same thing happened after the WC in SA. How can a tournament with so many empty seats be a 'resounding success'. It's a travesty.
    _____________________________

    Perhaps if there wasn't a propaganda war from certain quarters of the media, more people would have elected to go?

  • Comment number 24.

    In response to the racismn issue i would just say it is very easy to stop these things happening when the whole of europe is watching you? Tis easy to still from a one man corner shop less so to steal from a cctv filled superstore with security guards no?

    On a lighter note the Female used for the picture of this blog is quite sublime and therefore clearly foreign! She is a sight to behold

  • Comment number 25.

    Would Ronaldo not play to expectations during the Portugal/Spain game due to his bread being buttered in Spain?
    Maybe he did not want a repeat of the England/Portugal problems that caused him disconfort?

  • Comment number 26.

    A good overall tournament, although most of the excitement was in the group stages and in the drama of penalties in the middle stages. Unforutunately I think there is a huge gulf between Spain and the rest, that does not bode well for any real competition (Italy & Germany may prove me wrong).

    As for the potential crime issues does no one think that the local law enforcement and security were not ready to stamp on this without fear of being seen as coming on too strong.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    10.At 08:01 3rd Jul 2012, Roguedfr wrote:
    If racism should be a concern, it should be for Russia 2018 who caused huge problems throughout the tournament
    _______________________

    Please explain?

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Have to agree, a brilliant tournament. Fans, locals all from our point of view very friendly. When England beat Ukraine outside the stadium they all just wanted to wish us luck and have a picture taken. The only downside was the 40 degree heat in the train on the way down to Donetsk but that was laughed off with some local fans sharing their beer with us. Nothing but happy memories! Well done. Oh yea and the beer was great. What was it the local drop called again?

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    As many people have commented already bar a few incidents, notably during Polish extremists' clashing with Russians during their march through Warsaw, there has been very little hooliganism/racism at this tournament and I am certain that Panorama overhyped the problem and there were many obvious examples of poor journalism in the show. Before the final in the Warsaw fanzone, in response to Sol Campbell's comments that you "may come back in a comment", the Poles had a couple of coffins they'd made and then asked people to put in there comments on how much they'd enjoyed there time at the Euros (they needed a second coffin to cover it) and then addressed it to the BBC and Campbell.

  • Comment number 33.

    *coffin

  • Comment number 34.

    "Panorama" is one thing. Lets not forget that instead of showing opening of EURO, BBC did show Holland team, complaining about monkey chants - TO PROVE POINT SHOWN IN PANORAMA. After BBC whole world picked up that EURO did not tart yet and racism incidents has already started.
    TRUTH is that Dutch newspaper (known for fighting polish in Holland for long time) fabricated/reported this incident and BBC picked that up, dutch team found out about that from newspapers!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT.
    AND THIS IS THE SORT OF NEWS THAT BBC IS REPORTING.
    regards

  • Comment number 35.

    16 -

    I think we are looking for some level of consistancy. Getting fined for some banners is less serious than groups of thugs roaming the streets actually attacking Russians yet no sanctions are made, if that were England they would come down on them like a ton of bricks.

  • Comment number 36.

    "On a lighter note the Female used for the picture of this blog is quite sublime and therefore clearly foreign! She is a sight to behold "

    somethings wrong ! i see no picture of this female ? I see 6 pairs of nobly knees,three baled headed blokes and some pillock with a trombone in his hand.

  • Comment number 37.

    @20 HAHA

    Normally you spout such anglophobic bile that I thought I would never agree with you but after reading the first three paragraphs I'm starting to think for once you're talking sense

    Then comes the usual hatred

  • Comment number 38.

    23.At 08:38 3rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    I think it was more the prices the put people off not the reports. Ukraine tried to make a quick buck by jacking up their hotel prices instead of looking at the long term possible repeat business which backfired as fewer people visited.

    White fans wouldn't be put off by these reports as they aren't the target of the racists...

  • Comment number 39.

    32.At 08:43 3rd Jul 2012, rossgellar wrote:
    As many people have commented already bar a few incidents, notably during Polish extremists' clashing with Russians during their march through Warsaw
    _________________________

    That was bound to happen. The game happened to occur on "Russia Day". Russian fans were granted the right to march through Warsaw. Stupid idea really, as it's the equivalent of leaving a light near a powder keg.

  • Comment number 40.

    36.At 08:47 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    "On a lighter note the Female used for the picture of this blog is quite sublime and therefore clearly foreign! She is a sight to behold "

    somethings wrong ! i see no picture of this female ? I see 6 pairs of nobly knees,three baled headed blokes and some pillock with a trombone in his hand.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    On the home page you will find the delectable young lady :)

  • Comment number 41.

    36.At 08:47 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    "On a lighter note the Female used for the picture of this blog is quite sublime and therefore clearly foreign! She is a sight to behold "

    somethings wrong ! i see no picture of this female ? I see 6 pairs of nobly knees,three baled headed blokes and some pillock with a trombone in his hand.
    ______________________

    She's on the BBC football homepage, under blogs. Well worth the look. ;)

    Top marks to Phil for spottign that one!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Some of you people are massively deluded.
    I agree with the comment regarding the british media overhyping everything, none more so than your own football team. "Wiltshire, maybe just maybe..." ,maybe what? When will English football fans understand that you have a team on par with the likes of Sweden and Croatia, you may qualify from your group but there will be snow drops in the Sahara before you win major tournament. This is a FACT, accept it, stop buying foreign footballers as a media attraction to the premiership, endorse home grown talent and re-evaluate. All the successful countries in Europe have established a tradition, a style of football that kids see in adults and learn from. this takes years to do. England have a tradition of talking themselves up and failing, this is the only tradition you have. maybe, just maybe...." in 20 odd years...
    On top of this racism is easily hidden...cut to a pretty girl in the crowd instead of monkey chants, and only those present in the stadium can tell the true story.

  • Comment number 43.

    38.At 08:51 3rd Jul 2012, SwissColony wrote:
    23.At 08:38 3rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    I think it was more the prices the put people off not the reports. Ukraine tried to make a quick buck by jacking up their hotel prices instead of looking at the long term possible repeat business which backfired as fewer people visited.

    White fans wouldn't be put off by these reports as they aren't the target of the racists...
    ___________________________

    Well in that case, expect to see empty seats in the Olympics yet read that it was a "resounding success"!!

  • Comment number 44.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned much is the better standard of refereeing in this tournament. By and large, referees ignored theatrics and diving and allowed the game to continue. Once referees showed they weren't willing to indulge theatrics, most players just got on with the football.

  • Comment number 45.

    What a misleading article. Did anyone else click on this just to check out the babes in the crowd?

  • Comment number 46.

    @43 - I fully expect the organisers of the Olympics to publicly announce the games a resounding success immediately after, it's what organisers do.

  • Comment number 47.

    Good job by the BBC having a picture of a good-looking woman to lead this article. classy in the modern era.

  • Comment number 48.

    Favourite girl of the tournament?

    For me the opening game had a delightfull greek goddess with flowing brunette locks and a spectacularly pert boosom....she was not bested in my eye!

    Opinions?

  • Comment number 49.

    ESG @ 31


    " the Polish police found my sack " ????

    I assume you mean your " home "

    your english is extremely good but I would like to point out referring to your " sack " and some very nice Polska girl can be mis-interpreted and after all we have not reached the watershed yet, how you can have such things on your mind at such an hour i do not know, but i like your thought process very much.

  • Comment number 50.

    I wouldnt mind that lady in the article pic holding my polska! Phil did you manage to treat yourslef to any of the local delights while out there? ;)

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    @ 41

    ESG

    thank you, I am now looking at the said picture and I am not sure all is what it might 1st appear to be as you say an enlargement would be helpfully just to ensure we are not all looking at another sack.

    In fact looking at the complete picture, do you notice the expression on the guys face behind ? he looks disappointed to me, perhaps he has clocked something we have not.

    oh well, not to worry, the hair looks nice.

  • Comment number 53.

    I am delighted that the tournament went very well with the right team winning at the end of it all. Poland and Ukraine did a fine job and now it is up to Russia to follow this example in 2018.

    It would be naive in the extreme to claim that there is no racism or violence in eastern Europe at all. Just like any where really you could blunder into the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time and suddenly it is a very different story. On the whole though things were well dealt with and there were no problems at all at the Donbass Arena for the England/Ukraine match I was able to attend.

    Where Ukraine football will be after the tournament is interesting: maybe attendances will improve, but I doubt it in the long term. The Ukraine league is dominated by Shaktar and Dynamo and I do not really see this tournament significantly raising interest in a two horse race every year.

  • Comment number 54.

    #44, HKPhil,

    I'm glad you mentioned the excellent refereeing.
    This time they ensured "accidents" couldn't happen.
    The small-country culprit how dared win 2004 had some cute decisions from day one which influenced their team until they went out to Germany. Also, Germans were protected when Bendtner was pulled down with only Neuer to beat, rather legally and in accordance to football rules.

    This time round, referees ensured that the right clubs reached the semis.

  • Comment number 55.

    It is mildly humorous how everyone has conveniently forgotten that several countries were investigated and indeed fined for the behaviour of their fans, which included making monkey noises towards black players. Racism is not limited to the host countries.

    The Panorama programme before the tournament was looking at the lower end of the football in Poland and Ukraine where they clearly have a huge problem with racism. Personally I like the fact England has a media that actually investigates things. Many countries don't have that pillar of democracy.

    Overall it seemed like a well run tournament. UEFA didn't think about the fans at all given how hard and expensive it is to travel in that part of the world, but that is hardly a surprise. The stadiums were good, the pitches could have been better and the officials were as good as I can remember bar the odd decision.

    The tournament had many exciting games and that is all anyone can really ask. I hate the fact strong tackles and headers are being eroded from the game, for me you lose a large part of the competitive edge. This was a good tournament overall and with Brazil 2014 to look forward to, international football is in a good place.

  • Comment number 56.

    I speak as one of Polish people - from Warsaw. It was great joy for us & special June 2012. Thanks to all guests who visited us - it was pleasure to be a part of football world. We really feel it was a great tournament and we did well as a hosts.

    Up to the racism - I didn't saw it directly - neither on the match (I saw live cze - por and ita - ger) nor in the city. It was clearly overhyped. But I KNOW that deep there the problem (smaller or bigger) is present. But to tell You the truth - it's not only problem of Poland or Ukraine. It's problem of Europe in general...

    I'm happy that we all proved BBC Panorama was wrong but it wasn't fairplay from them to air it just before games.
    Can You imagine what would happen if any non-british TV just before London olympics aired material showing that London is VERY dangerous place (London riots August 2011) and English football is full of racist accidents (Suarez, Terry, etc)?
    I think You wouldn't be happy and You would think it's not fair. That's how we felt...

    For me personally - watching Pirlo in semifinal live was a show to remember.

  • Comment number 57.

    'And after a tournament that started amid fears of hooliganism and racism, both Ukraine and Poland had every right to celebrate an event that did both countries great credit.'

    who created those fears? Phil 'Back Track' McN umpty strikes again

  • Comment number 58.

    I enjoyed the tournament. For me the highlight will be the good refereeing and the total lack of play-acting. Only 3 red cards, two of which were in one game, no player missing the final through suspension and a great final to boot. I know the stadiums weren't always full but lets look on the bright side, everyone was doom and gloom. SKY dedicated a whole programme to how dangerous it was, nothing really materialised.

    Heres to 2014.

  • Comment number 59.

    ''a tournament that started amid fears of hooliganism and racism"

    in whose eyes??? thats why there might been some empty seats ,as the British Media and BBC in particular were brainwashing british people !

  • Comment number 60.

    Poland and Ukraine must be congratulated for a beautiful tournament. The main stadia in both countries were a joy to watch. They've taken a design page of Allianz Arena and are a jewel on their location rather than a concrete block. Especially in the evenings, when simple citizens go for a walk, those lights on the sides of the stadia add aesthetic quality to well structured buildings and turn them into something you love to keep watching. Congratulations. Let's hope those lighting effects will reach England too.

  • Comment number 61.

    39. Eduard

    I think the Polish authorities gave Russia permission to march through Warsaw because they thought all Russian fans would be in one place and therefore easier to keep an eye on: although this back-fired completely. "Russia Day" is a moronic concept in the first place and nobody of my immediate family and friends would take it seriously.

  • Comment number 62.

    Excellent hosts and an excellent tournament, but surely it is about time there was an official apology from Campbell and the BBC? You can't take a minority of violent/racism and apply that stigma to a whole country, as these minorities exist in all countries. Campbell's 'coffin' comment was also scaremongering at it's best. When was the last time he even visited Poland or Ukraine? He should keep his ill informed opinions to himself next time, instead of making provocative comments about countries he knows nothing about.

  • Comment number 63.

    48.At 08:59 3rd Jul 2012, Ronaldosrightboot wrote:
    Favourite girl of the tournament?

    For me the opening game had a delightfull greek goddess with flowing brunette locks and a spectacularly pert boosom....she was not bested in my eye!

    Opinions?
    ________________________

    The girl in the blog looks pretty sublime...........plus you can pretty much just watch any Ukraine match to see a bevvy of beauties....

  • Comment number 64.

    A great tournament. Brilliantly organised. BBC and the other media got the tone so wrong to introduce too much politics into their coverage.
    Roy Hodgson has gone from being in the wrong box(so to speak) into Mr Urbane, and quite rightly.
    When will you all stop the hype of Rooney and the rest. This relentless search for a headline and an angle is wearing so thin now that its become a joke to the readers and viewers.

    The Irish have a realistic view and therefore have a healthy perspective and enjoyment of their sport. I wish the BBC would adopt their approach.

    BBC TV presentation was stale with woeful predictions (Italy no chance v. Germany even if on top form and Germans play badly.. Mr Lawro??).

    At least a decent summary as an epitaph to a fine tournament Phil.

  • Comment number 65.

    #56, marcin_bl,

    You're spot on.
    I'd just like to tell you that English people are well aware of the soup media aces are serving us in this country and most of us are ignoring it. I can't write more on racism because in this space it's not allowed to mention racism in England.

  • Comment number 66.

    49.At 08:59 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    ESG @ 31


    " the Polish police found my sack " ????

    I assume you mean your " home "
    ____________________

    Hahahahahaha!! I was implying more that it was similar to a scene from Borat and the infamous "marriage sack". This was my "housemaid" sack.

  • Comment number 67.

    Quote of the tournament: "His hand was offside" (Gordon Strachan) !!

  • Comment number 68.

    The lovely lass to which you are all referring is Polish model Natalię "Nataliyah" Siwiec. I believe she lives and works in London when she's not back in the old country. She doesn't much like Mr. Campbell.

  • Comment number 69.

    52.At 09:06 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote
    In fact looking at the complete picture, do you notice the expression on the guys face behind ? he looks disappointed to me, perhaps he has clocked something we have not.
    ________________________

    He's clocked a mischevious Iniesta lookalike (myself) getting my sack ready.......

  • Comment number 70.

    So, is the brunette Greek or Polish?
    Be quick to respond!
    I'm ready to click "Buy" on a package holiday!

  • Comment number 71.

    @66

    ESG

    moving swiftly on, as one does
    minors could be reading this :) :) :)

  • Comment number 72.

    55.At 09:08 3rd Jul 2012, Barca500 wrote:
    The Panorama programme before the tournament was looking at the lower end of the football in Poland and Ukraine where they clearly have a huge problem with racism. Personally I like the fact England has a media that actually investigates things. Many countries don't have that pillar of democracy.
    _____________________________

    Or they just edit and misquote people they interviewed!! The Jewish rabbi has come out and said that they edited his hour long interview to suggest that there is constant anti semitic chanting, which is not the case.

    There were racist chanting & banners from Spain & Germany as well. Would Panorama have produced such a programme if the Euros were held there?

  • Comment number 73.

    I wonder how many other people just came here because of the thumbnail...

  • Comment number 74.

    61.At 09:15 3rd Jul 2012, Andreikarolevskyrog wrote:
    39. Eduard

    I think the Polish authorities gave Russia permission to march through Warsaw because they thought all Russian fans would be in one place and therefore easier to keep an eye on: although this back-fired completely. "Russia Day" is a moronic concept in the first place and nobody of my immediate family and friends would take it seriously.
    _______________________

    Which was my point. It backfired completely and you have to place more blame on the authorities and organisers more than anyone else.

    As for "Russia Day", is it anymore moronic than other days that celebrate countries? "Independance Day", "Bastille Day", "St Patrick's Day", "St George's Day" etc etc?

  • Comment number 75.

    Before everybody says 'where was the racism' or 'bad BBC'. THERE WAS PLENTY, just not shown by local, broadcast / editors. The same fears raised by English media was also raised in France and Germany.
    Also the level of violence, especialy surrounding Russia was shocking, imagine what would have been said had they been English fans.

    Having said that, all in all, it was a great tournament with great stadia and won by a great team.

    P.S England were awfull.

  • Comment number 76.

    #73, grandmasterbirch,

    "I wonder how many other people just came here because of the thumbnail..."

    Until now, the BBC has been using as bait titles like "Rooney and breakfast at Tiffany". Is this the first time they use a brunette?

    A step in the right direction, I'd say!
    I prefer brunettes to bite the bait!

  • Comment number 77.

    @69

    ESG

    chuckling away here !

  • Comment number 78.

    #7 You imply the racism was from the locals, it was not, it was from the guests.
    For example Spanish fans have admitted their racist chants and still to be punished...strange that eh.

    #15 Russian fans were attacked but they were also doing plenty of the attacking themselves. They had long arranged appointments to fight Polish fans and did everything possible to keep those dates.
    Croatia fans were not attacked, they were the ones doing the attacking.
    I had great fun with the Croatian fans in Poznan but there is a small element that causes trouble.

    I was injured in one mini riot when rival Croatian fans had a pre-arranged fight in Poznan's main square. There were other incidents of them fighting with police.


    But besides that, the Poles did an excellent job, they were very professional, friendly and welcoming.


    More importantly, one of the reasons for the empty seats was that local fans could not afford the tickets prices, no effort was made to include them.
    For example here in Poznan, locals only got 1.5% of the tickets.

    Euro 2012 was something which happened on the streets, in the fan zones but few locals got the chance to experience the matches themselves.

  • Comment number 79.

    68.At 09:20 3rd Jul 2012, forinfan wrote:
    The lovely lass to which you are all referring is Polish model Natalię "Nataliyah" Siwiec. I believe she lives and works in London when she's not back in the old country. She doesn't much like Mr. Campbell.
    ___________________________

    Oh yeah!! She was wearing that t-shirt, BBC "Bad Boy Campbell". London you say.....

    I'll get my "sack" ready.

  • Comment number 80.

    74. Eduard

    Point taken about Russia Day. St Patricks seems to mean a lot to the Irish. Would the English use St Georges day as an excuse for a march? It seems pretty low key to me. I think nothing about Russia Day...I must admit I had completely forgotten when it was until reminded of it in fairly depressing circumstances in Warsaw.

  • Comment number 81.

    i think we can safely say based on the last few weeks that the Euro's is a better standard of football, played & officiated in a better spirit the the World Cup.
    Time to give Blatter the boot.....

  • Comment number 82.

    71.At 09:23 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    @66

    ESG

    moving swiftly on, as one does
    minors could be reading this :) :) :)
    _____________________________

    As Denzel Washington says in Training Day (in relation to college kids he finds buying illicit items)....

    "They're about to get some education today" ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    Why on earth are people saying the BBC should 'apologise' for reporting the problem of racism in Poland and Ukraine? Is anything that happened in the documentary untrue? No. Instead of misguidedly getting annoyed at the BBC whose job it is to report incidents and issues like this why don't people just pay tribute to the behaviour of the Poland and Ukraine fans who did their country proud

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 76 MTG

    I am with you, I also prefer Brunettes

    No offence to Poland, I think the Greek Islands would be better.

  • Comment number 85.

    @58

    Good call - the relative lack of cheating and diving was refreshing.

    Decent tournament for England who can leave with their heads held high despite the pens defeat.

    As for logistics - the expanse of the whole tournament proved detrimental to ticket sales, so this bonkers idea from Platini to hold a future one across a dozen countries is ridicilous - also I take it he doesn't care about the carbon footprint of such a scheme.

  • Comment number 86.

    When the camera panned to the many beautiful women it was almost as if they had been planted there...? Do they have cameras dedicated to scanning the crowd? or are the cameramen just having a little me time when the network switches onto their channel?

    I know nobody is perfect but if anyone listened to the interviews (on the BBC) with Shevchenko (not the footballer) it maybe puts it into perspective a little bit (obviously without knowing the full context).

    It's difficult to say anything about any country etc without sounding patronising / pious / hypocritical etc. But for people to watch the highly edited football / sporting images from different places and then to infer conclusions about the social issues in countries is a little naive. Similarly for the UK and the Olympics, the airbrushed edited images of sportspeople doing their thing in no way reflects any underlying issues of this country, it is pure theatre, not documentary. It's like watching WWE and assuming that all US people walk around the street in spangly pants whilst taking out the bad guys...?

  • Comment number 87.

    I have lived in the south of France for 10 years, I work with all nationalities. The Polish I work with were horrified at the noises coming out of England about Racism and found it hypocritical and rude. There was no such fear that I am aware of raised in the french media. Although my team Ireland were utter rubbish, everyone around me has said one of the most amazing things in this great tournament, was 4:0 down to Spain and the fans were singing. I had people texting me from all over saying how the hair on the back of their necks was standing up. I was told they were real fans. I was in Italy for the final. The italians were amazed at how good the Spanish were. I don't think losing a player for the last half an hour made a difference. A great tournament somewhat spoiled in the run up by the attitude of the English media scaremongeres. I would also say the only fans who seem to have found it too expensive to go were English fans...and perhaps their priorities are in the right place.

  • Comment number 88.

    80.At 09:32 3rd Jul 2012, Andreikarolevskyrog wrote:
    74. Eduard

    Point taken about Russia Day. St Patricks seems to mean a lot to the Irish. Would the English use St Georges day as an excuse for a march? It seems pretty low key to me. I think nothing about Russia Day...I must admit I had completely forgotten when it was until reminded of it in fairly depressing circumstances in Warsaw.
    _______________________

    Likewise for me mate.......from memory, May day and the war memorial days bear much more importance. Then again I have not lived in Russia for 20 years, nor have I visited since 2008.

    As for the march, well there's the Orange March in Northern Ireland.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 82

    ESG

    Great Film ! Great actor as well

    he also mentions something about a " train "

    i am stopping now i don't want to get modded :) :) :)

    Man on Fire is quite special to.

  • Comment number 90.

    "Its very interesting that the much hyped racism and hooliganism didn't materialise from the host countries.

    Was this yet another instance of the English press whipping up the usual sideshow hysteria?"

    Couldn't agree more. The English press talk so much rubbish people don't believe them anymore. My worry is that they are in danger of becoming the boy who cried wolf with possibly tragic consequences for some individuals.

  • Comment number 91.

    I've enjoyed the tournament. Disappointed some of the kick offs were early which meant working I missed most of the first halves of the early games but there was a lot of good football on show.

    The empty seats happened at the World Cup but it isn't a new thing since our own Euro 96 had empty seats. I think some of the problem is pricing and the way tickets are sold, but I think playing smaller nations in big stadiums that don't have the demand is the major reason. Platinis idea of sharing the games among the major European cities may sound crazy but I've no doubt it would increase ticket sales.

    The racism thing was overhyped. There is no doubt it exists and needs to be dealt with, but the sad thing is there are anti-semitic chants at Spurs games in England and at Ajax games in Holland but no one questioned that such incidents should preclude these countries from hosting the tournament. There are racists in every country and the tribal nature of football means as a sport it is sadly cursed with more of them.

    The Russia v Poland match was always going to be a trouble fixture because of the history with maybe Holland v Germany the only other one likely to cause concern but overall fans mixed before and after the games and the people seemed really keen to show the best of their country to the visiting people.

    Overall this tournament proved once and again that UEFA (and by extension FIFA) are right to take the major tournaments to new locations.

  • Comment number 92.

    89.At 09:38 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    _________________________

    :):):)

    "All that jelly and no toast" is another favourite.....

    His recent films have been not so good. I was disappointed at the Book of Eli, then there was Deja Vu.

  • Comment number 93.

    I agree with the comments about the media coverage about Euro 2012. I went to the World Cup in South Africa and saw none of the problems highlighted by the media. Perhaps I was lucky. Before-hand I was really getting worried about security and organisation. Are the BBC going to produce a documentary on the problems in Inner City London ahead of the Olympics? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 94.

    70.At 09:23 3rd Jul 2012, Mind the gap wrote:
    So, is the brunette Greek or Polish?
    Be quick to respond!
    I'm ready to click "Buy" on a package holiday!

    _________________________________________________________

    She was Greek and possibly carved from Aprohditie herself....im looking at last minute holidays myself atm:)

  • Comment number 95.

    92.At 09:40 3rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    89.At 09:38 3rd Jul 2012, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:
    _________________________

    :):):)

    "All that jelly and no toast" is another favourite.....

    His recent films have been not so good. I was disappointed at the Book of Eli, then there was Deja Vu.

    ____________________________________________________________

    Book of Eli had a plot? I was just enjoying Mila Kunis....

  • Comment number 96.

    Nice summary Phil.

    A few points, if I may:-

    1) Wasn't it the BBC as much as, if not more than, anyone who prompted the fears of hooliganism and racism?

    2) What was it with the empty seats then? Some matches seemed to have relatively few fans from the participating countries. What is that a sign of? Sure, it's a chance for locals to get involved but that seems to have had a limited take up.

    3) Isn't the choice of England's location actually a legacy of Capello's time in charge?

    4) You mention Hodgson's approach. However, wasn't it you and your colleagues that celebrated Capello's more disciplined approach building up to the 2010 World Cup?

    5) Why is 24 teams conclusively a nonsense? This is how the World Cup used to be. Did you have any grievances at that time?

    6) Ronaldo's choice to take the 5th penalty is, I would suggest, an act of vanity. Save the glory for himself eh?

  • Comment number 97.

    "Euro 2012 proves a treat, on and off the pitch"

    Looking forward to the apology from the people who made that Panorama documentary then Phil...

  • Comment number 98.

    'It was a chance for all of us to embrace history, and the visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau was something that will leave an impression forever on all of us who took the emotional trip. Unforgettable.'

    It would a very good thing if the prices for fans went down and the Press were made to pay their way.

    All this 'we all' crap is just that. Crap.

    You journalists had a funded jolly and the empty seats show why.

    90% less journalists and 100% more fans, please.

  • Comment number 99.

    Similar story ESG. I have not been back to Yaroslavl since 2009 and my wife and I visit her parents in Gorlovka in Ukraine every summer: and apart from the odd holiday in Krim thats about it. Pretty much out of touch really.

    The Orange march is in a league of its own I suppose: I am not going to comment on this, too much trouble!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm still confused why the BBC should offer an apology over the Panorama programme. Were those Nazi saluting fans actors? Just good make up on the Asian students?

 

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