The following troubled utterances all originally appeared on Extratime.ie as updates I gave on matches which I failed to take seriously.
Russia 4 – 1 Czech Republic
14′ – The Czechs have been the better team, though. When I said that during the last game, Poland scored a minute later. T-60 seconds to the opening goal…
15′ – Goal – I QUIT! EXTRATIME.IE, THIS IS MY NOTICE. LEAVING ON TOP!
19′ – Oh no, Dzagoev. Moments after opening the scoring, the Russian forward is played through on the counter-attack and, finding himself one-on-one with Cech, attempts to kick the ball the so hard that it creates a rift in the time/space continuum allowing him to go back and relive the feeling of scoring the opening goal. It goes wide.
24′ – Goal – You’ll never tell me that Andrei Arshavin didn’t mean that pass – I simply won’t hear it. The meerkat-faced playmaker receives the ball to the left of the Russian midfield before sliding a deeeelicious ball through the heart of the Czech defence to meet the onrushing Shirokov, who dinks the ball over Cech sumptuously.
31′ – I would take that Arshavin pass out on a date and ask it about its hopes and dreams. Then I’d share a glass of wine with it in front of the fire before walking it home and kissing it goodnight.
55′ – Goal – This game needed that goal like Sonny needed Cher, like Joanie needed Chachi, like…like…like I need better knowledge of famous duos.
63′ – *Looks up from flicking pennies against the wall – ponders making something up to replace lack of action in game. Returns to flicking pennies against the wall.*
66′ – Arshavin isn’t playing football out there; he’s playing jazz. He is bewitching these Czech players with the intricacy and beauty of the melodies and rhythms he is creating. It’s improvisation at its most expressive best.
70′ – Kerzhakov is as tired as an insomniac running a marathon. He cuts inside his man before, once more, blasting off target.
73′ – Substitution – Roman Pavlyuchenko comes on in place of the absolutely knackered Kerzhakov for Russia.
79′ – Goal – Goodness me, that man has some serious anger issues. Pavlyuchenko plays a nice slide-rule pass into the path of Alan Dazagoev who hits the ball like he just caught it in bed with his wife. Emphatic finish from the youngster to grab his brace.
82′ – Goal – Roman Pavlyuchenko has time to check his stock portfolio and order a latte before lashing the ball beyond Petr Cech. It’s four for Russia – they’ve been marvellous.
86′ – Petr Cech hasn’t had this bad a time in a Czech shirt since he spilled a drink on his favourite Hollister garment.
Poland 1 – 1 Greece
0′ – Euro 2012: Hello, Dean. Is that a canoe in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Salutations, one and all. I’m Dean Hayes and, for reasons unknown, Extratime have decided to allow me to paint the canvas of the opening day of Euro 2012. I’m a Jackson Pollock fan, so this could get messy.
0′ – Just before kick-off, I’ll allow both coaches to clear something up. Greece’s Fernando Santos: “Greece don’t have a Messi so it’s tactics first, then quality second.” Poland’s Franciszek Smuda: “Individuality is a player like Messi. We don’t have such players, so we should do our best to be strong as a team.” So, unlucky Messi fans.
10′ – The game’s opening has been a bit like Scooby Doo’s nephew: Scrappy.
14′ – Poland are looking very tasty on the counter-attack in these opening fifteen minutes. They break with speed and murderous intent. Defending, though, has been the nation’s past-time in Greece since the days of Leonidas and the Hot Gates.
17′ – Goal – He’s like a grenade covered in switchblades! The absurdly dangerous Robert Lewandowski scores the first goal of Euro 2012 with a firm header past Chalkias after a clever far-post run.
39′ – A word for the young Greek replacement; K-Pap (as he likes to be known) has scored three goals in eight internationals from centre-half.
41′ – I’ve also heard he’s very accepting and refuses to lecture others on his own personal beliefs. Apparently, Papa don’t preach.
48′ – Early sight of goal for Lewandowski. He’s under pressure though he as fires over from a tight-ish angle on the right of Greece’s penalty area. Greece have made Poland’s right flank so accomodating I’m expecting to see Jakub Blaszczykowski lounging on some pillows with a cup of tea and a copy of the Warsaw Times.
75′ – DOES DIMITRIOS SALPIGIDIS KNOW THE CHEAT TO FOOTBALL?! The man is everywhere; this time he taps home a low cross which he thinks has put his team ahead for the first time, but the linesman’s flag denies him.
Republic of Ireland 1 – 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina
0′ – U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ rings out around a sun-soaked Aviva Stadium. Nice choice of music, though suddenly there is a slight breeze. YOU JINXING $%#$% OF A STADIUM P.A.! Nevermind that though, the Ireland team have just emerged onto the pitch for their warm-up. I’m Dean Hayes by the way and, if you can excuse my rudeness in not offering you an introduction sooner, I’ll take each of you by the hand and we shall frolic blissfully through the fields of friendly fun.
0′ – Since it’s highly likely that Ireland will be doing an awful lot of defending and disciplined shape-keeping once they reach ‘Polkraine’, I’ve got a hunch that Trapattoni will let the lads get all the reckless abandon out of their system this afternoon. “Let’s have these, lads; Paris-style!” he probably won’t say.
0′ – The stadium is really starting to fill up as we reach a half-hour until kick-off. The atmosphere around the ground in the last couple of hours has been decidedly partyesque. I prepared for these updates by lounging in a beer garden with [a delightful mineral]. Most pleasant.
0′ – Currently there is a five-a-side penalty shoot-out taking place for charity on the pitch. The standard is pretty deplorable. Even Paul McGrath has blown one wide. Radio personality Hector [I’m not going to attempt to spell his second name]’s team just won 2-1. On penalties. 2-1.
54′ – The sight of Richard Dunne leaving multiple defenders in his wake as he strides majestically, with the grace of a ballerina, has warmed me up considerably – even more than my half-time tea. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but the Aviva press box is in the shade, and absolutely freezing! Like sub-arctic; cold as The Grinch’s heart. Yes, he is the most evil character I can think of. I’ve lived a very sheltered life.
57′ – Substitution – Bosnia & Herzegovina substitution: Mensur Mujdza is replaced by Adnan Zahirovic.
58′ – It still makes me shudder to think of how close he came to stealing Christmas…
59′ – The Grinch that is, not Bosnian substitute Adnan Zahirovic. I have no reason to think he’s ever terrorised Whoville
59′ – Crikey, while I’ve been waffling something’s happened! Pjanic almost justifies my interest in him with a stonking effort from a free-kick, but Westwood displays his cement-level wrist strength to keep him out.