The 10 Best Moments From Day Three of Euro 2012


1. Tipster of the day

Today we doff our caps to Unibet's Italian football expert Paolo Bandini, who correctly predicted a 1-1 draw in the Spain V Italy game, at a lucrative 7.25. Bravo Paolo!

2. Pundit of the day

ITV’s ambitious attempt at alfresco studio analysis was somewhat hijacked by Italian fan Emiliano from Milano, who sat so close to the pundits that he looked for the most part like a fifth panellist. We were surprised one of the show’s producers didn’t set about asking him to move on, but then again his presence was at least helping detract our attentions from Adrian Chiles’ monotony. 

3. Player of the day

We already knew about the quality of Croatia’s Everton star Jelavic, who slotted away a nice finish and now stands at 35.00 to be Euro 2012 top scorer. But it was 6ft 1ins striker Mario Mandzukic who stole the show against Ireland in Poznan. The 26-year-old scored two headers in an all-encompassing forward display, even finding time to knock over - and help up - Ireland's gaffer in the process! Mandzukic, who was Edin Dzeko’s replacement at Wolfsburg, has been free-scoring in the Bundesliga this past two seasons and having converted his club form onto the international scene, he’ll have Spain and Italy quaking in the coming days. Croatia are top of Group C and can be had at 4.25 to stay there.

4. Homoerotic moment of the day

This comes courtesy of a rather bold pitch-invading Croatian fan, who enjoyed a quick smooch with triumphant boss Slaven Bilic, before promptly being shown the exit door.  

5. Tactical blunder of the day

Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque had never experimented with a mirroring of Barcelona’s famed 4-6-0 formation before, but inexplicably went with it for yesterday’s Group C opener against Italy. However, for all their possession, Spain lacked the cutting edge in the final third that the likes of Leo Messi give Barca, and will now need to depart from that ploy for the remaining games. They are still favourites to top Group C, though, at 1.83. 

6. The “Don’t you know who I am?” moment of the day 

Ireland manager Giovani Trappatoni may look like he’s wandered too far from his carer on a day trip from the nursing home, but we wish someone would tell him that doesn’t mean he has to wear his manager’s pass the whole time. His oversized lanyard was omnipresent around his neck throughout the game, flapping around aimlessly. Much like Ireland’s leaky defence. Trappatoni's men are now out at 18.00 to qualify for the knock-out stages. 

7. Most committed supporter of the day

 

This accolade was made for Manuel Cáceres Artesero, otherwise known as Manolo The Drummer, or Manolo El Del Bombo. 53-year-old Manolo has missed just of Spain’s games in the last 20 years, and famously hitchhiked 16,000 kilometres following La Roja at the 1982 World Cup has become something of a national institution, heralding his own advertising campaign and now his own Wikipedia page. Manolo’s drum of spain was in full flow yesterday as Spain came from a goal behind to draw with Italy, and no doubt he’ll be at each and every Spanish fixture for the rest of the tournament.

8. “Why Always Me?” moment of the day 

Super Mario was not-so-super yesterday, indicated by a series of events that left him more sulky than boastful. First, Balotelli was penalized for a foul on Sergio Ramos: cue a ground-punching tantrum, a verbal warning from the ref and a riled Mario. He was then booked for another foul on Jordi Alba. But worse was to come in the second half. Having initially done well to steal possession from Sergio Ramos, Balotelli dithered and dallied as he ran in on goal and allowed the defender to recover and steal the ball back. He was immediately substituted, his replacement Antonio Di Natale then scoring with his first touch.

9. Lookalike of the day

Croatia's longest-serving player, Josip Simunic is s dead ringer for actor Rade Serbedzija, best known for his role as Boris 'The Blade' in Snatch

10. Idiotic supporter of the day

This goes to the unnamed clown at the Ireland v Croatia game, who spent most of the evening distracting players, officials and supporters alike by blowing a whistle at vital moments of the game. Two many whistles spoiled the game. 

(BONUS!) 11. Meme of the Day