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EURO 2012 LIVE: Ireland vs. Croatia
Question of the Day
1800: Mario Balotelli is sporting a very thin mohican. He looks in the mood. With him and Cassano up front, anything can happen today. Referee Victor Kassai, who was in control of the 2011 Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, blows his whistle to gets us under way.
1749: The PGE Arena is where Group C gets under way in a little over 10 minutes. It’s nearly full already and it does seem as if Spain fans are out in greater number than their Italian counterparts. They’re all enjoying another mini-opening ceremony on the pitch. The players will be on there soon so they’d better hurry up.
1742: This may be Spain vs. Italy but there are plenty of Poland fans here wearing their national side’s shirt or waving their scarves and flags. Nice to see so many of the locals swept up in football fever.
1734: Cassano’s partner in attack is mercurial Mario Balotelli. Here at AP HQ, we receieved an official document from UEFA which says that Balotelli will have “Barwuah Balotelli” on the back of his shirt. Barwuah is his African name.
1728: Good to see Antonio Cassano start today for Italy, too. The striker had to have heart surgery in November and there were doubts about him ever returning to football again, let alone being involved in an international match. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is being put through his paces as the Italy team warms up. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi starts in the center of a three-man defense for Italy, so a makeshift defender will be up against a makeshift forward.
By Michael P. Orsi
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