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Euro 2016 Diary: Shaqiri rivals Pique for Shakira´s affection, Bale reveals secret weapon

Shaqiri’s tricks don’t lie

It’s no secret that Colombian singer Shakira is a keen follower of the beautiful game, with her partner Gerard Pique being a key player for both Barcelona and Spain.

It’s thus little surprise she is keeping an eye on all the action at Euro 2016, too.

Shakira had reason to celebrate earlier this tournament when she saw Pique find the net in Spain’s narrow 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in the group stages.

The Barcelona defender’s goal was by no means a match for Xherdan Shaqiri’s stunning bicycle kick in the round-of-16 defeat to Poland, though, and Shakira was quick to take the credit for the Switzerland star’s stunner.

Shaqiri, Shakira, close enough!

Red Devils show no mercy – to each other!

Belgium displayed their fun side in a strange pre-training warm-up in Toulouse on Saturday.

Prior to taking the field, six or seven players congregated around the dugout area and played keepy-up while they waited for their team-mates.

It all seemed fairly standard until the forfeit for the loser was revealed – a flick of one of his ears from each of his team-mates.

Liverpool striker Christian Benteke was first to suffer the punishment before Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini also had a turn, assuming the Belgian players could find his ears underneath his unruly shock of hair.

No time to lose for Die Schweiz in Saint-Etienne

The Swiss, as we know, like things to run to a smooth timetable.

So organised were the first country to bow out of the round of 16 that, even as they digested their penalty shoot-out loss to Poland, the national team’s media officer was informing journalists there would be no press opportunities upon the squad’s return to Zurich on Sunday.

Cue protests from the travelling men and women with newspaper column inches to fill, who were told in no uncertain terms, “You have had your opportunity to ask questions”, as coach Vladimir Petkovic left the media centre.

Let that be a lesson to any tardy hacks not fast enough to get their questions in at the next major competition.


Bale’s daughter a secret Wales weapon

Chris Coleman will take plenty of plaudits for guiding Wales into the last 16 of Euro 2016, but it seems his team and star player might have a tactical secret weapon.

“My daughter gave me a note before the game which I put in my shorts but I can’t tell you what it said. It was private,” said Gareth Bale.

So what did young Violet Alba write to Daddy? Our money is on: “Get the ball out of your feet and whip in a low cross towards Gareth McAuley as Hal Robson-Kanu closes in behind him XOXO

Perisic dazzles – but not where it counts

Croatia’s meeting with Portugal in Lens was billed as one of the ties of the last 16, a meeting of two attacking sides who could be faint shouts for eventual winners.

After 117 minutes of eye-scratchingly poor football, we finally had our first shot on target, Cristiano Ronaldo’s effort saved before Ricardo Quaresma headed in the rebound.

Okay, the match was dismal, but Ivan Perisic at least made one more memorable appearance in Croatia’s famous red and white.

The Inter winger went full Mario Balotelli and had both the design and colours of his team’s shirt shaved into the side of his head.

He may have struggled to light up the match, but hey – in a town with its very own Louvre, it was a fitting work of art.

Sun 26 Jun, 2016
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