The stadia are breathtaking. Five of the eight on show during the tournament are brand new, and the existing venues in Kiev, Donetsk and Kharkiv have undergone major developments.
The respective nations’ moods of optimism are defined by ticket sales: 3,000 tickets to England, while France have released 40,000-plus. And with Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two group stage games, Hodgson admitted last night that the marginalisation of English players in the Premier League left him with a lack of options. “It’s been a long-term concern for me,” he said. “If you look at the Premier League and at the top teams, most of the forwards are foreign players, so you don’t have that sort of choice for England. If you go through the Premier League teams, you might go through four or five teams and still count the number of English players on one hand.”
The racism may be more pronounced แทงบอลออนไลน์ in Ukrainian football. Their national squad has no immigrants, even though the domestic league is dominated by foreigners — Dinamo Kiev’s squad has five Brazilians, three Nigerians and a Morrocan; Shakhtar Donetsk has 8 Brazilians (9 if Eduardo is counted) and a Nigerian. Metallist Kharkiv has just four Brazilians, but six Argentinians and a Senegalese. And so on.
That’s a situation bemoaned in 2006 by national coach Oleg Blokhin, a legendary player on the Soviet national team in the early ’80s who will once again coach Ukraine at Euro 2012. “The more Ukrainians there are playing in the national league, the more examples there are for the young generation,” Blokhin said. ”Let them learn from Blokhin or [Andriy] Shevchenko and not some zumba-bumba whom they took off a tree, gave two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian league.”
Conte, whose computer and IPhone were sequestered by investigators yesterday morning, was described by his lawyer as “completely extraneous” to the accusations of “sports fraud”.
However, the Siena president, Massimo Mezzaroma, is also under investigation, accused of having “bought” two players from a rival team.