Day six saw Euro 2016 enter its second matchday, in which host nation France snatched victory from the jaws of a stalemate and England and Russia fans clashed with French police. Deja vu, anyone?
Joachim Low on ‘that’ scratch, the bravest beer-sellers in France and the latest fashion trend to hit the south coast all brought smiles to our faces. Hopefully they do to yours, too.
A FRESH MESH OF QELESHE
If you took a walk through the streets of Marseille on Wednesday you would have been greeted by the sight of hundreds of men in unique headwear.
The Albanians were in town ahead of their game against France at the Stade Velodrome and their choice of hat caused quite a stir.
The Qeleshe: the must-have fashion item on the streets of Marseille today! pic.twitter.com/z9Df0SsfJH
— Jon Fisher (@fisherjon10) June 15, 2016
The hats in question are known as qeleshes, a white brimless felt cap originally worn by people from the northern Albanian highlands but now recognised as part of the traditional national costume.
They certainly weren’t intended to be worn while dancing up and down in French bars but they seemed strangely fitting as part of the carnival atmosphere!
PODOLSKI SOFT-SELLS TAINTED LOW
Joachim Low was the talk of Twitter during Germany’s opening win after an incident which somebody, somewhere is now calling ‘scratch-and-sniff-gate’.
A quick adjustment within his trousers was enough to get tongues wagging far more than goals from Shkodran Mustafi or Bastian Schweinsteiger in Lille over the weekend.
Low apologised for the incident, blaming “adrenaline” over tight-binding underwear, but Lukas Podolski took steps to calm some of the outrage.
“I think 80 per cent of you, and also me, sometimes scratch their balls. So it’s all good,” he said, cracking a smile.
No comment. Ahem.
HOPS, TWO, THREE, FOUR…
Lille was reinforced with extra security, police and Gendarmes ahead of Russia’s clash with Slovakia – but a thought must be spared for one of the tournament’s frontline forces.
It may only be 0.5 per cent, but the demand for beer outside the perimeter of the stadium will have had these brave men and women covering the kind of ground that would put an N’Golo Kante heat map to shame.
Just like the security teams, these steadfast servers have certainly earned a special mention. Were it not for the fully stocked media centre fridges, their task might just be impossible…
Inside the perimeter, a very different force gearing up for (probably) a far busier afternoon… pic.twitter.com/Fr8gZ4nAv0
— Joe Wright (@JoeWright004) June 15, 2016
LYON ROARS AGAIN FOR PAYET
A nervous crowd of locals and tourists packed out the bars of Vieux Lyon, the old quarter of the capital of the Rhone-Alpes region.
A persistent West Ham fan tried to convert the devotees of Didier Deschamps’ side to the theory – widely publicised at Upton Park last season – that Dimitri Payet is superior to Zinedine Zidane.
Few were convinced during a nervy contest, that is until the final moments, when the Albanian resistance finally broke.
Cue delirium both domestic and international, as waitresses decked out in Le Tricolor exchanged kisses and visitors partied with the locals.
Could it be Les Bleus’ year? Only time will tell. But if the hard-fought win over Albania is anything to go by, the party will last long into the night up and down the country.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE SCORES, LOOK AWAY NOW…
Euro 2016 hasn’t been short of tasty goals. Payet on opening night, Luka Modric’s volley against Turkey, those oh-so-sweet counter-attack clinchers from Schweinsteiger, Pelle and Stieber…
Today, we had Marek Hamsik’s glorious strike as Slovakia downed Russia and – yes, him again – Payet in France’s late show versus Albania. In between those goals, Switzerland’s Admir Mehmedi near enough tore the netting in two at the Parc des Princes. You’ll go a long way to see a cleaner strike than the one that secured a 1-1 draw against Romania for Vladimir Petkovic’s men. Blink, and you’d have missed it. The coach certainly did.
“I didn’t see the goal because I turned my head to make a change,” a sheepish Petkovic told his post-match news conference. “Then I saw it in the net. I hope it’s not our last goal and I hope there’ll be other goals of this kind.”
You and us both, Vlad. Eyes on the prize next time, yeah?