New Delhi: All the fancied teams barring Holland have made it through to the last eight, Wayne Rooney was unleashed and he delivered, Lukas Podolski completed his 100th cap against Denmark, Greece did the unthinkable as they stunned a pretty strong Russian side and Shevchenko was given the perfect swansong. The Euro 2012 has reached its knock out stages and it is now time for some good rollicking fun.
With 60 goals scored in 24 matches at an average rate of 2.5 per game, Euro 2012 has witnessed more goals per game than both Euro 2004 and Euro 2008 (2.48) and is comparable to one of the most high-scoring tournaments in 2000(2.74). The quarter-finals are here and the connoisseurs would be looking for all the heat on the pitch rather than in the headlines.
Till now controversies ranging from the absurd to the run of the mill have surfaced at the Euro 2012.
The serious talk:
Racism and football related violence is a strict no-no as per UEFA guidelines and they have been tough at the championship in enforcing them. UEFA fined the Croatian Football Federation 80,000 euros as the fans had racially abused Italy's Mario Balotelli. The German Football Federation too was charged after a similar misconduct by supporters. Earlier Russia and Polish federations were fined for unruly behaviour of their fans. English Federation too faced action as supporters tried to invade the pitch in their fixture against Sweden.
Irish online gaming firm Paddy Power agreed to pay the UEFA fine imposed on Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner for flashing his underpants during goal celebrations. Some have termed the one-match ban on the Sunderland forward as ridiculous and too harsh, describing Bendtner's action as merely fun.
Equally bizarre were allegations coming up from sections of Italian media when they cast doubts over Spain-Croatia match, citing "set-up" between the two, to knock Italy out of the tournament. It ended up to be a total farce as Jesus Navas netted a late goal to send Croatia packing out of Euro 2012. Italian media needs to have a look within before pointing fingers.
On the field:
Ukraine's Marko Devic was denied a goal against England in their last Euro 2012 fixture. UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina said that the effort, which was ruled out for not crossing the goal-line, should have been a goal. This also led to FIFA boss Sepp Blatter to make a case for goal-line technology, terming it as a 'necessity', at the earliest.
And the rest:
Russian captain and a firm favourite among fans, Andrei Arshavin, landed in controversy when he said that it was a fans' "problem" that Russia were knocked out of Euros. Arshavin could be spared on grounds of frustration but Russia needs every bit of flak that come their way after a shoddy display.
Even Polish fans got on the nerves of their President when reports of vandalism and hooliganism came through. Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski slammed such people who had tarnished the image of the country through their behaviour.