Hi everyone, Danny here checking in from Wroclaw – I was at the Czech Republic v Greece game on Tuesday night. You can hear my thoughts on the tournament every morning on Sky Sports News Radio.
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I’m still in Wroclaw at the moment. Travel arrangements out here aren’t exactly fantastic, as I’m sure any travelling England or Irish fans have found out. Transport is a little sporadic and intermittent. Hopefully I can find some way of getting to a game this evening!
It’s not too bad once you’re in a major town. It’s a little bit of a throwback if you like, what with most of this country having been rebuilt after the Second World War. They have buses and trams which are very efficient, but it’s getting in between towns which is difficult – you’ve either got to take two or three flights, or take a train journey. If you get on the wrong train, you’re in trouble. We had the option the other day of getting the fast train which is three hours, or the slow train which is 11 hours!
The language barrier isn’t easy either. You can try and sound out words, but as there’s lot of ‘cs’ and ‘zs’ nothing really reads as you would sound it out! There are complications but I can’t complain as I’m watching some fantastic football.
Tuesday’s Group A clash in Wroclaw was a game that the Czechs had to win. They came out in the first six minutes and went 2-0 up and Greece looked dead and buried.
Coming into this tournament, the Greeks had been absolutely superb defensively. Up until Tuesday night, they’d only lost one in 22 matches. I don’t care who you’re playing – at international level, that is fantastic.
Greece had a major problem with Avraam Papadopoulos getting injured in the first game and Sokratis Papastathopoulos banned. They had a makeshift defensive pairing and that was really evident. They didn’t give up though, and with Petr Cech making a horrendous mistake, it nearly cost the Czechs.
Party time in Poland
With Poland playing Russia, Wroclaw on Tuesday night was incredible. The only restaurants you could get a place in were those without TVs! It was a fantastic atmosphere when Poland equalised, absolute madness in fact, with Poland fans celebrating as if they’d won the tournament. Fortunately there was no trouble at all where I was.
I don’t think Russia will have enough to win the tournament. They might get a favourable draw to the semi-finals but I don’t seem them going further.
On Tuesday night, Poland really showed their battling qualities and it’s set up now for the final round of matches in Group A. All the teams still have a chance to qualify, although it looks tough for Greece.
I’ll be here in Wroclaw for Poland v Czech Republic on Saturday – an elimination game for both teams, a massive game with a lot on it and it should be a fantastic occasion.
Carnage in Group of Death
You could have Holland and Portugal both going out on Wednesday night so we’re all set for another exciting night.
We’ve already seen signs of infighting in the Dutch camp. Nigel De Jong has had a bit of a pop at Mark van Bommel. When you’re married to the manager’s daughter like van Bommel is, you will get some special treatment! But we’ve seen this before – once things go wrong in the Dutch camp, they tend to implode.
As for Denmark, speaking to Jan Molby, he says expectations back home are very low. They keep the same manager, the same system, and they go into tournaments staying very realistic – they don’t get carried away if they have a fantastic win, and they don’t get downheartened if they lose. I think England could learn a lot from that.
Looking ahead to the England v Sweden game now, and I think you’ve got to go out and play your strongest team no matter what.
If you’re making changes because players have injuries and aren’t 100% fit, fine. But if you’re doing it because you fear they’re tired, that’s not a good idea.
You have to accept it’s the same for all teams. A three or four day break between games should be enough; we see it all the time during the club season.
Players have to look after themselves. They’re in the swimming pool winding down, and they won’t be doing a lot of training. Part of it is down to adrenalin and the fact of where they are, representing their country at one of the highest levels possible.
Sweden certainly won’t be an easy game. The sides are matched up pretty well. The only difference really is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who (in his own words) is the special one, the world’s greatest player! England will have to watch him, so I don’t think there’s any chance of leaving anyone out.
It’s very difficult to relax after a game like the France one. You never really sleep because the adrenalin is still pumping. You can go for a jog, have a loosener, or even try and have a kickabout. The players can do what they like – rest in their rooms, play table tennis or pool, watch videos. It’s all about recovery – keep moving, get out and about, as staying occupied is best.
I remember when we beat Argentina at World Cup 2002… you wake up the next morning and unfortunately it’s gone already! You’re already looking to the next game, and planning for that, trying to get your body back in the best shape possible, ready to go again.
Most players are experienced, plus Gary Lewin, Dave Hancock and all the physio staff are the best around. They know exactly what they’re doing.
I was with some of the press out here, and when the story came out on Twitter, the big journalists were dubious. But the snowball effect started, then Harry came out with a denial and all of a sudden, it’s being brought to a head.
It always seems to be definites with Redknapp – you have to be a little careful with what he says.
Clearly there’s an issue. Harry was disappointed he didn’t get the England job, and maybe he wants a big contract.
You can listen to Danny on Sky Sports News Radio every day during Euro 2012.