Michel Platini was a brilliant player. He could do it all. Dribble past opponents, deliver 60 yard passes and score goals. What a shame that this footballing magician has turned in to a mediocre and one-eyed administrator. Euro 2008, he says, doesn’t miss England or the hordes that follow the team. Fine. No problem with that. But Platini, when he’s in the mood, and he was last weekend, just can’t resist a pop at the English and Premier League in particular when someone sticks a microphone under his nose. A league full of clubs, he says, whose goal is “not to win titles but to pay off debts.” Poppycock. (I would have written that in French but Babel Fish couldn’t handle it). Platini is probably still miffed that Manchester United and Chelsea reached the final of the Champions League, which he and Uefa handily arranged on the far side of Europe, and not the likes of Milan, Lyon, Porto or Real Madrid. The same Madrid who earlier this decade were in debt by over €150 million before, and what a stroke of luck this was, the local government decided to use over €200 million of local tax payers money to buy their training ground. And the same Madrid who are willing to splash out €80 million on Ronaldo who’s under contract at Old Trafford. Any word on their finances or business practices from Uefa’s President. None. Rien – good old Babel Fish, back up and running.
So was Ruud Van Nistelrooy offside when he slotted home Holland’s first goal against the Italians? All the TV pictures suggested that he was. But, according to the chairman of Austria’s refereeing commission Gerhard Kapl, it was a brilliant piece of officiating. Kapl said Van Nistelrooy was played onside by Italy’s Christian Panucci, who had been injured seconds earlier and was lying behind the goal when the Dutch striker scored. Kapl quotes rule 11.4.1 which says “an opposing player cannot be offside when one of the last two defenders has left the field of play.” What planet is this bloke on? This rule was introduced to stop players intentionally leaving the pitch to create an artificial offside situation. It certainly wasn’t designed to penalise a player who gets injured in the performance of his defensive duties. Of course, if the goal had been referred to a TV official, he might have had the time to weigh up the situation, see that Panucci was genuinely injured and in no way making a deliberate attempt to gain an advantage. There’s a fair chance he would have disallowed it. So if France, after their woeful display against Romania, happen to go out of the competition on goal difference, perhaps Uefa boss Michel Platini (wow, is he copping it this week) might well consider reversing his indefensible decision to scrap the introduction of goal line technology.
Were you watching Steve McClaren? Well, as it happens he was. The former England coach is at Euro 2008 summarising for BBC Radio 5 Live. What on earth must he have been thinking as Austria really took the game to the Croats after conceding an early goal. Croatia were very lucky to hang on against the likes of Standfest, Aufhauser , Harnik and Linz. No, never heard of them either. Fabio Capello watched the game from the stands too. Whilst I hope he’s formulating a plan to beat Croatia in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, you wouldn’t be at all surprised if his thought process went along the lines of “How on earth did the likes of Gerrard, Cole, Rooney and Ferdinand fail to beat this lot?”
157 people were arrested before and after the group match between Germany and Poland in Klagenfurt. None of those detained were English. Just thought I’d point that out.
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