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Euro 2016 Diary: Alderweireld ´dares´ to poke the beast, Kiraly´s tracksuit tekkers

Pyjama bottoms de rigueur for Kiraly, come rain or shine

For those of us who have never seen Gabor Kiraly training before, there was one question of everyone’s lips (well, two of us anyway): Does the veteran goalkeeper even go so far as to train in his lucky grey tracksuit bottoms?

And the answer was confirmed as a resounding yes, despite it being a hot, humid afternoon in Lyon.

The 40-year-old former Crystal Palace player, now back with Szombathelyi Haladas, the club where it all started for him in 1993, even showed off some surprisingly silky skills in training near Stade de Gerland ahead of the Group F showdown with Portugal at Parc OL on Wednesday.


Wrong turns leads across the Atlantic

As with every match at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome – even England v Russia – the scene immediately outside the ground beforehand was one of fans mixing, with plenty of colour on show.

On Tuesday it was the turn of Poland and Ukraine to revel in the sunshine.

The red and white of Poland was particularly prominent with the yellow and blue-clad Ukraine fans heavily outnumbered.

But in the middle of it all was one chap who clearly needs to invest in a sat-nav.

And you’d have thought he’d be keeping his head down after Mexico’s 7-0 thrashing by Chile at the Copa America!


Northern Ireland push loved ones out of the picture 

When the roars of the crowd subside and the reports are filed, some elements of covering Euro 2016 are less glamorous. There’s the long hours, the travelling and the days spent in isolation from family and loved ones back home.

One of our reporters was somewhat surprised, therefore, when he happened upon an old colleague while covering Northern Ireland v Germany in Paris. This man took in their historic qualifying campaign and unquestionably took Michael O’Neill’s heroes to his heart.

He also has a wife and two wonderful young children back home. The pictorial contents of his wallet? Official Euro 2016 stickers of Roy Carroll, Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley, Conor McLaughlin, Chris Baird, Craig Cathcart, Paddy McNair, Steven Davis and Jamie Ward.

The keen observers of shock team selections in this tournament will surely have noticed Kyle Lafferty also failed to make his cut – along with the wife and kids.


Vertonghen dares to Zlatan 

Tuesday’s press conferences at the Stade de Nice ahead of Wednesday’s match between Sweden and Belgium were all about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s announcement that he would retire from international football after Euro 2016.

Sweden will be desperate to extend the talismanic attacker’s career by at least one game and they would need to beat Belgium in order to achieve that.

Jan Vertonghen has no intention of playing ball, though.

“I hope it will be Ibra’s last game for Sweden,” the Spurs defender said when asked about potentially sending Zlatan home. “He has had a big career, but I am selfish now and won’t think about his Sweden career.”

‘Dare to Zlatan’ was the name of an advertising campaign from a well-known sports equipment manufacturer not too long ago, celebrating the fearless attitude of one of the world’s most iconic players.

If sending the big man himself packing is not ‘daring to Zlatan’, then nothing is!


Sticking out like a sore thumb in Lyon

Fancy going that extra mile to have some fun during your trip to Euro 2016?

These brave lads went out and bought each other the worst kits imaginable.

Discovered by Omnisport in the ever-lively Rue Merciere – taken over on Tuesday night by Turkey fans clogging the street with cars draped in national flags and honking their horns repeatedly to celebrate possible qualification for the round of 16 – they had dutifully donned dreadful uniforms and were seeking feedback on the best and worst.

A real train-wreck of a Scotland away kit took the wooden spoon, with Norway’s mid-90s effort probably the most survivable.

As for the lad in a Marseille kit deep in enemy territory in Lyon, let’s hope he made it out alive.

Tue 21 Jun, 2016
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