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Euro 2016 Diary: Embolo quizzed, Puma apologise and Fatih goes nuts

Gareth Bale inspired Wales to a hugely-impressive 3-0 thrashing of Russia to ensure Chris Coleman’s men topped Group B while it was a night of frustration for England as they failed to find a way past a stubborn Slovakia defence.

As ever, we present the pick of the more seldom-seen moments of gold from the tournament in France, featuring a particularly difficult question for Switzerland striker Breel Embolo.


Tell us what you feel, Breel

As Q&As go, this one was a little different.

Swiss newspaper Schweizer Illustrierte fired a few questions at teenage sensation Breel Embolo, regarded as one of the most sought after young players in Europe.

The interview started by asking him what is the one thing he would change to improve the environment. Okay, fair enough.

It then meandered through his thoughts on which vegetable should be banned, how much a litre of petrol costs, to what background image he has on his phone.

But then things swiftly took an unexpectedly dark turn when the 19-year-old, who played 74 minutes of Switzerland’s 0-0 draw with France on Sunday, was asked for his thoughts on euthanasia.

For the record, his answer was: “I think we should use our time with family as long as possible.”

Thankfully, normal service was swiftly resumed with more banal questions about childhood crushes and his favourite song which was, interestingly, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Do not expect him to join Manchester United this summer then!


Fatih goes batty

Fatih Terim has had a colourful time in football – 46 years of it, he was keen to tell us all on Monday – but even by his standards, this was quite an afternoon.

The Turkey boss launched a softly spoken tirade against his detractors in his pre-match news conference before facing the Czech Republic in Lens, hitting out at his critics – including “a professor of history” on national TV – and, more pertinently, questioning the attitude of some of his players.

But Terim looked something of a relieved man after venting for close to half an hour, and decided to put on a united front for the cameras at the start of open training, ushering his players together for a beaming photo before the rondos got underway.

It was not entirely convincing, but with two defeats from two and a lot of angry fans back at home, he had to try something.


UEFA ignore the walrus

It has been a hectic Euro 2016 for UEFA so far. It all started with England fans misbehaving in Marseille, then the Russians joined in, with several sets of supporters also causing consternation with their liberal use of flares and fireworks.

European football’s governing body has, therefore, been busy issuing disciplinary updates on a daily basis, but that does not mean fan violence is the only thing on their mind.

There are always other, important matters going on at a major tournament and UEFA is well aware of what the people really want.

Hashtags. Give the people hashtags and everything will be fine. So when Wales faced Russia in a decisive Group B encounter, UEFA made sure nobody behaved like an animal this time around!


A ripping yarn but Puma don’t see the funny side

Puma has apologised for four Switzerland shirts being ripped during their Euro 2016 encounter with France.

The sight of partly-clothed Swiss players swiftly became a hit on social media however there was nothing but head-scratching at the headquarters of the German sportswear manufacturers.

After confirming they had contacted other teams in France to see if they had encountered similar problems, Puma claim to have found a solution.

A statement read: “Our analysis of the Swiss home jersey from Sunday’s game shows that there was one batch of material, where yarns had been damaged during the production process, leading to a weakening in the final garment.

“Puma has checked the inventory of all jerseys of all Puma teams and can assure that such an unfortunate incident does not happen again.

“This was a very unfortunate incident and Puma apologises to the Swiss federation and their players.”


Old gold stands out a mile in the Loire 

There were plenty of colourful characters milling around Saint-Etienne on matchday three ahead of England versus Slovakia, but none were quite so incongruous as the towering local who had dusted off his vintage Wolves shirt specially for the arrival of the Three Lions.

We found him in conversation with three lads from the West Midlands, two of whom are regular devotees of Molineux, with the other a West Brom fan.

He explained to us he also wore it when Glen Hoddle’s team lost to Argentina on penalties in the round of 16 at the 1998 World Cup.

And the young men that spotted him, who were combining the game with a stag-do (steady, boys) had not even realised the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard was the scene of that infamous reverse.

They experienced a better outcome – England drawing 0-0 with Slovakia – than 18 years ago, when Michael Owen’s special goal and David Beckham’s sending off entered England’s pantheon of major tournament highs and lows.


Hong Kong journalist pines for absent Pat

Amid two more briefings dominated by Will Grigg – Euro 2016’s invisible player with the omnipresent song – there was a touching moment during Northern Ireland’s pre-match media conference for Tuesday’s Group C match against Germany at the Parc des Princes.

A journalist from Hong-Kong asked boss Michael O’Neill whether Pat Jennings would be in attendance, as the former Tottenham and Northern Ireland international was his hero.

Our intrepid reporter was later overheard recalling the tale of getting a cherished photograph as a 10-year-old with Jennings, “the best goalkeeper of all-time; better than Peter Schmeichel”.

If you are not here Pat, get yourself over to Paris. Omnisport will even stump up for a beer.

Mon 20 Jun, 2016
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