Euro 2012: Ribery stops the bus talk and Lahm lined up for change
Franck Ribery, the French playmaker, had a sense of humour failure yesterday when he was asked what he thought of Michel Platini's joke that France could win the Euro 2012 title if they got off the bus. The Uefa president's remark was in reference to the French debacle at the 2010 World Cup finals which reached its nadir when the squad went on strike in protest at the expulsion of Nicolas Anelka and stayed on the bus. However, Ribery did not evidently find the remark amusing and even less so to be asked his reaction to it. "You think I want to answer that question?," he replied."I have no desire to answer this question."
Spain were yesterday mourning the death of former Sporting Gijon coach Manolo Preciado, who had only been appointed coach of Villarreal on Wednesday, from a heart attack. Preciado, who also coached Racing Santander, had the reputation of being a workaholic and was well respected across Spain. It was the latest tragedy to hit the family as Preciado lost his first wife to cancer in 2002 and two years later the youngest of the couple's two sons was killed in a car accident at the age of 15. Last year his father died after being run over by a car.
Philipp Lahm, the Germany captain, will switch from his favoured right-back position to the left for their Group B match against Portugal tomorrow. Joachim Loew, the coach, said that the midfielder Lars Bender might take on the right back role to face Cristiano Ronaldo. "It is very good for us that Philipp will play on the left. On the right one alternative is Jerome Boateng but Bender has been very good in training in that position. I like him there."
A small group of protesters targeted the Dutch team's training ground in Krakow, a senior Uefa official confirmed yesterday, but denied the demonstrations were racist. The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf had said that a handful of the 25,000 fans who turned up to watch Holland train had made monkey noises at the side's black players. Uefa said it had spoken to the Dutch squad and they said they had not seen or heard anything of a racist nature.
A bad salad at a German hotel may have caused the food poisoning of 10 Ukraine players earlier this week. Leonid Mironovm the Ukraine team doctor, said the players were hit by "the bad effects of eating a salad." Team spokesman Oleksandr Glyvynskiy said all players have recovered.
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has said midfielder Luka Modric has brushed off the effects of a tough season and is now fully fit for the European Championship. Modric has had a long campaign with Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League but Bilic said yesterday that Modric is "100 per cent" after joining up with his teammates this week.