I am old enough to remember when tournaments required serious carful planning. Grainy pictures and appalling sound from Mexico in 86. No catch up TV or wifi. It was only when I was walking from the barbers back to my house this afternoon that it really struck home. I'd watched the first 10 minutes of Belgium vs R. O. Ireland on their freest box, and then watched via 4G on my mobile for the 5 minute walk home, before watchinghte rest via Virgin TV. The availability is amazing. It will be a sad day when it is all stuck behind pay-per-view ; as I am sure it will be one day.
Yesterday's games offered some drama and some class. Italy looked a shadow of the team that was so competent and fluid in their first game, but scored a cracking late goal to put them past shotless (in the tournament) Sweden. Then came the odd game. Croatia vs Czech Republic - ending 2-2 after Croatia were coasting to victory. Their fans turning on themselves in a barrage of fists and firecrackers, causing the game to be halted, focus to be lost and the Czechs did the rest. This opens up the group enormously and leaves the promising Croatia in real danger of finishing 3rd in the group.
Spain shoed their class in the evening game winning 3-0 vs Turkey. Whilst their midfield is not as sublime as it once was, they still managed a 20 odd pass move involving 10 outfield players in the lead up to a goal. They've also not conceded for 10 games now, making them seem formidable opponents.
The early game today saw Belgium finally come to life, thrashing Ireland 3-0 and starting to look like the attacking force that they clearly are. Ireland played pretty well but were outclassed. I'm sorry to say that Villa's influence was once again present, with Clark's ludicrous lunge essentially making the second goal a dead cert and ending Irish hopes in the game.
I'm now watching Iceland vs Hungary - certainly one for the purists at the outset, but Hungary will be through with a win, and Iceland, keeper aside, look a half decent unit too. If Austria can somehow get a result later again Portugal then this group will be complete chaos.