Watto's Euro 2004 Diary


It's a rest day for Paul Watson in Portugal.


 Day 14: Wednesday 23 June 2004


Today, I woke up happy but tired.  I got to the game, the car didn't break down, we won; Wayne was man of the match. 

Today I go to Lagos, a resort down the coast, to have a look at the beaches, eat some seafood, enjoy the sun.  The papers are full of Wayne, my wife bought Le Monde, a French paper, there is about half a page on him.  Will an Everton player win the Golden Boot? 

One of the Portuguese papers reports the incident in the metro the night before.  A Croat threw a smoke bomb onto the platform, panic ensued.  This incident, and the chair throwing in Albufeira seem to be the only trouble in the tournament.  In 'old' eastern Europe they still have trouble at games.  I know they have trouble in Yugoslavia, and that none of my wife's relatives go to football in Poland because of the violence.  I guess the same must be true in Croatia, throwing smoke bombs or bottles is just part of the pre-match build up.

English misbehaving at the Portuguese seaside after too much sun and beer?  How many arrests are there normally?  These things happen, but it spoils the party atmosphere of a big tournament.  The Portuguese Police have done a good job, although I have heard that riot Police and dogs patrol the street of Albufeira.  Not nice if you are there with your kids. 

Bad Policing can really mess things up, look no further than Belgium.  I was at a Euro 2000 quarter final in Brussels, Italy v Romania.  A Juventus fan threw a flare onto the running track.  It bounced and landed near someone's foot.  He was removed.  I saw him 10 minutes later back in his seat.  What would have happened had he been English?  10 years for attempted murder?

There is a lot of ticket activity on the Hotel notice boards, notably for England v Portugal at Lisbon Luz on Thursday.  Italy beat Bulgaria in the fifth minute of injury time.  Digital viewers press the red button for the camera trained on Trappatoni.  Italy are out. 

Sweden v Denmark a dodgy draw?  I don't think so.  If there is any match-fixing going on, point the finger at managers that take off their main strikers when they need a win.  As I have said before, it is sad to see a team of Italy's quality go out, but if you don't play to win, then out you go with Spain.

Paul Watson


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