Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A trip to the Euros in Warsaw

Last week I was lucky enough to get sent to Warsaw in Poland to meet up with UEFA and talk technology before heading to the stadium to see Poland v Czech Republic in the quarter-final of the European Championships.

While there I sat on the seats reserved for the coaching staff and the substitutes, so of course I took the opportunity to sit there and gesticulate wildly at the imaginary players on the pitch in front of me. It was fun.

During the match the crowd was dominated by Polish fans who had either pre-bought tickets for the quarter-final assuming their team would make it through, or just wanted to see some more football as it's taking place in their city. This meant chants of "Polski!" were far louder than anything the Czech or Portuguese fans (of which there were about 12) could muster during the game.

Ronaldo won it for his country, after numerous misses, and seeing him in action for the first time - the preening Portuguese winker - it was easy to see why he's so much better than most other players. Firstly, he just looks bigger, and is clearly so much faster than everyone around him. As Hansen loves to say, "it's all about pace and power, if you haven't got that in the modern game, you're toast".

Also, why does Mark Lawrenson hate football so much? To hear him commentate on the BBC you'd think he'd been ordered to serve a lifetime's sentence carrying out a task that brings him as much ennui as possible, with the judge concluding spending all his time being paid to watch football the worst punishment he could imagine.

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