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Euro 2016 diary: A referendum Rioja for the Pogman, please

Day five at Euro 2016 was one for the underdog, with Hungary stunning neighbours Austria 2-0 and minnows Iceland securing a 1-1 draw – somewhat remarkable given Cristiano Ronaldo’s assertion that they failed to attack during the game.

If you’re in a funk of CR7 proportions, hopefully these nuggets from our daily diary will help bring some joy to your almost certainly similarly chiselled features.


Russia boss Leonid Slutsky urged fans to behave within “the legal framework” in Lille this week – but he seems to have other ideas when it comes to his team’s approach.

A looping header proved enough for a dramatic point against England, and they began preparations for their game versus Slovakia with the novel idea of not using their feet at all.

Instead, a strange form of handball – in which the scorer had to use their head – was on the agenda as they trained on the Stade Pierre-Mauroy pitch on Tuesday.

Granted, the turf was looking a bit threadbare, but that seemed a poor excuse for flouting the basic rule of the game.


The translators at the UEFA press conferences do a wonderful job, ensuring journalists can relay the thoughts of the world’s best players and coaches in numerous languages.

The quotes are sent to the press pack using headsets with different channels for different languages.

One thing the translators can’t always be on top of, however, are player names. They aren’t in the dictionary, or taught at school.

That said, Paul Pogba is one name you would expect everyone in France to know.

Not the Albanian translator at Tuesday’s press conference. The world renowned Juventus star was referred to as Paul Pogman throughout.


It’s the political issue that is sweeping the continent – will British voters decide to remain with or leave the European Union later this month.

The debate has reached across many forums, but it’s appearance at Tuesday’s Romania v Switzerland pre-match news conference was about as welcome as Boris Johnson dangling haphazardly between Olympic venues.

A concerned English journalist wanted to know how worried Watford midfielder Valon Behrami and ex-Arsenal defender Johan Djourou were over the future employment prospects of themselves and others in a potentially non-EU Britain.

“To be honest, we are lucky to think about football and not other things,” Behrami mused. “I don’t think it’s our problem at the moment – especially during the Euros.” His honourable friend Djourou added: “We don’t really talk about that. We concentrate on the Swiss team and not what is happening in England.”

Thanks for clearing that one up, lads.


Saint-Etienne is famous for Les Verts of ASSE, but the ‘Green Cauldron’ of the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, or at least half of it, was turned blue on Tuesday, as Iceland’s fans came out in force to cheer on the national team in their major tournament debut.

They were not disappointed, as Birkir Bjarnason’s equaliser earned a point and left Portugal’s star man considerably less than gruntled.

Wed 15 Jun, 2016
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