Sadly the football violence continues to make the headlines with the behaviour of some Russian fans being little more than psychopathic thugs together with the ridiculously named Marseilles Ultras. The independent evidence from football supporters there ( videos, photos and observations) supports organised groups of black balaclava clothed groups descending on defenceless England football fans. I have zero doubt that there are some troublesome England fans too who are no angels, but evidence supports they are not the root cause. Two fans remain critically ill. The players may also not be as protected as they might wish with Turkish fans throwing bottles at Croatian substitutes warming up. UEFA have said that ” security will be stepped up”. That might not be difficult if fans can bring firecrackers into a stadium.
Turkish football is not a style that appeals to me. Far too much unnecessary fouling and elbows all over the place. Within 5 minutes of the start of the game I had become an avid Croatia fan, although they were no angels either. In fact the physicality has surprised me in all the games to date. Some very strange outfits in the crowd
To be in the Croatian team your name has to end in either IC or A (Badelj being the exception, so he must be good). You can be Sic, Nic, Kic, Ric, Vic or Tic.
Why is Glenn Hoddle there? Apparently the mumblings and mutterings of Hoddle on Day 1 would have cost around 25,000£. The unanimous views on Twitter were that Hoddle was great at stating the obvious but little more. ITV have been robbed.
The football so far has been good with the games being competitive to the end and few games are likely to find teams separated by more than a single goal, with some superb goals.
A thought for the photographers there. At the start of the second half of Turkey v Croatia a firecracker was thrown at some photographers. The loud explosion sound was captured loudly on ITV.
What might not be reported? England fans who were attacked in an unproked manner in a bar returned there today to help the owner clear up the mess. That is class.
Best team so far? Germany. My early prediction is that they are the team to beat.
We have not seen the winner of EURO 2016. Opening games can be notoriously unpredictable but none of the teams so far seem to have the ability to go and win. A few decent goals, Bale and Payet as examples, but the overall play has in many games been a little scrappy.
The refereeing is poor. Any number of poor decisions have been made, mostly failure to give penalties or free kicks. The value of the official behind the goal is zero. In the Wales V Slovakia game the official was 2 yards away and missed an elbow to the upper shoulder from Skrtel. Albania can feel aggrieved not to have had at least one penalty in their game.
The riots/disturbances seem to be initiated by Russian and French “ultras” ( whatever they are, I prefer the term psychopath). There are clear unbiased reports of fans sitting drinking peacefully and being attacked by groups of men in balaclavas, clearly premeditated. The reports are that the French police seem not to be effective and are ignoring a lot of violence.
There are some truly ridiculous hairstyles, and in the main the perpetrators of bad hair should be spending more time on football practice and less time in the barbers chair. Slovakia are the winners of the bad hairstyle Euro 2016 currently. The worst one? Easy. Kuco from Slovakia.
There have been a fair amount of hard/dangerous tackles. Many of these in the Albania v Switzerland game. The first serious injury awaits, and referees have been poor in recognising the dangerous from the simply bad tackles. A number of two footed tackles have gone seemingly unseen and certainly unpunished.
The best team performance? Another easy one. Wales. A real team reminding me of Leicester City. The sum of the parts are greater than the individual components.
Fans are determined to enjoy themselves whatever.
Street Art now recognises football. Thierry Henry. Just superb.
England are going to give their fans a rollercoaster ride. They played well but did they really look like a great side? Not really. Maybe quarter-final material, and maybe not.