UEFA European Football Championship 2012
The Headlines They Were Too Scared To Publish
Group matches - round one
Poland 1 (Lewandowski 17’)
Greece 1 (Salpindigis 51’)
8th June 2012
On Friday 8th, the co-hosts kicked off against Greece, shock winners of this tournament back in 2004. With the Eurozone crisis in full flow, this tournament would give ample opportunity to shoehorn financial references into football headlines. And this match was no exception. After Greece missed a penalty with 20 minutes to go, Brunginho found the inspiration to announce this headline:
Greeks find Poles taxing and fail to make penalty payment
Spaceman saw this on Facebook and immediately got to work thinking of a retort. The combination of Poles and Greece was too tempting and thus spaceman plumped for (Brunginho suggested “slip up” rather than the “levelled” actually used on Facebook, which spaceman had already contemplated, so that version is replicated here):
Poles slip up due to late Greece application
And so the tournament began, with a draw (like the Euros).
Russia 4 (Dzagoev 15’, 79’, Shirokov 24’, Pavlyuchenko 82’)
Czech Republic 1 (Pilar 52’)
8th June 2012
With the tricky surnames of the scorers again proving difficult for use in a suitable headline, Brunginho went for the impressive:
Russia in the red, Czechs bounced
This cleverly reflected the fact that the Russian team played in red shirts that night, although it was an early use of the ‘Czechs bounced’ card.
Spaceman could not find much inspiration, not a good sign so early on, and could manage no better than the mildly feeble (“cashing” since edited to “cash in on” to make it work a little better):
Russia cash in on Czechs
One has to feel that Brunginho edged this match-up, even with the late alteration.
Denmark 1 (Krohn-Delhi 24’)
9th June 2012
This shock result did not hamper our brave heroes’ attempts at wordplay. Brunginho began to set the trend for clever-clever headlines with:
Dutch blunt, smoked out Kjaer-ful Danes
It was sufficiently clever to require spaceman to look up “blunt” to confirm its meaning, and Kjaer’s role as a defender backed up the “careful” pun.
Spaceman thought long and hard about this one and rejected a number of very poor efforts, before inspiration came in the form of pastries:
Holland’s pies outdone by sweet Danish
Despite a dislike of using the incorrect term “Holland” to mean the Netherlands, this remained one of spaceman’s favourite headlines of the tournament.
Spaceman modestly proposes a first victory is awarded here. (For spaceman, that is.)
Germany 1 (Mario 72’)
9th June 2012
Brunginho changed style for the fourth match of the tournament, plumping for:
World's most exciting player and world's most exciting team produce world's least exciting football game
The former term was a reference to Ronaldo and the latter a reference to Germany, but spaceman wasn’t convinced that this would make the front pages the next day, replying with:
Kraut rocks Portuguese men of war
The use of the mildly offensive term “Kraut” would certainly make it suitable for the English red-tops. It lacked a bit of coherence between music and jellyfish, so in order to include a further angle, spaceman contemplated ending it with “men of warmth”, a reference to the weather typical of the Algarve.
This is probably a no-score draw.
Spain 1 (Fabregas 64’)
Italy 1 (Di Natale 60’)
10th June 2012
A potentially juicy fixture offered up a fairly cagey draw. Spaceman saw an opportunity for a couple topical economic references, sneaking in a cheeky Fabegras reference for good measure:
Spain in debt to Fab response to Italian strike
As a bonus extra, spaceman offered a food reference (the other staple reference point of these Euros):
Risotto and paella lovers serve up stodgy draw
Brunginho also spotted that the general Euro employment malaise could be highlighted with the following, manoeuvring the strike reference over to Spain’s side:
Spain without strikers overcome Italian labour force
This of course was a reference to Spain playing with about a million midfielders but no strikers.
Spaceman claims a narrow win for this, despite not because of the rice / food reference.
Croatia 3 (Manzukic 3’, Jelavic 43’, Given 49’ og)
Ireland 1 (St. Ledger 19’)
10th June 2012
Ireland started their campaign with a match against the easiest opposition of a very difficult group, not that it helped them. They conceded early and never really looked in the game, despite equalising that first goal.
Croatia’s third goal was a result of the ball bouncing off the post, onto Shay Given’s head, and into the net. Given’s desperate attempts to clear the ball resulted in him getting white paint on his face, inspiring this gem from Brunginho:
Given left white-faced by Croats who rub his nose in it
Spaceman could only manage the fairly feeble:
Croats dish out Irish stew
A clear victory for Brunginho here.
England 1 (Lescott 30’)
France 1 (Nasri 39’)
11th June 2012
England started the tournament as underdogs for once, as the combination of a new manager and a weak-looking squad (partly due to injuries) left the English media and fans underwhelmed. Nevertheless, there was tension as soon as the game started, particularly when England took an early lead.
Despite conceding an equaliser, they held on due to disciplined defending, and the nature of the performance prompted this from spaceman:
English channel strength to defy French
Brunginho reverted to wordier prose once more for:
England start with draw just like last major tournament; mood somehow different
Cute as Brunginho’s effort is here, this is shaded by spaceman narrowly due to nice pun usage (ultimately these headlines are about puns, although Brunginho might perhaps disagree).
Ukraine 2 (Shevchenko 55’, 62’)
Sweden 1 (Ibrahimovic 52’)
11th June 2012
A stunning comeback inspired by the ageing hero Shevchenko resulting in Ukraine taking all the points in this final fixture of the first round of matches. Brunginho came up with:
At home 2 Stockholm 1
Not bad. Spaceman tried food references again (remembering chicken kievs from childhood):
Kiev's finest, Swedes eaten
A bit contrived perhaps. Then spaceman, seeking inspiration from the inclusion of Shevchenko somehow, went for the simple:
Useful if you are tight on space for the back page. Brunginho suggested an improvement given its Chevrolet reference to:
Ukraine drive forward with Shev Olé!
Less succinct but more multiple meanings, and that’s what we like. On a roll (one might say), spaceman continued with:
Swedes dis-Shev-elled by Ukraine headrush
This referenced the fact that both Ukraine’s goals were scored via Shevchenko’s head. Finally, Brunginho noted that the Daily Mirror had used “Shevy mettle” and, very much in the mood for improvised improvements, suggested the following:
Swedes rocked by Shevy mettle
Spaceman wins this game due to sheer effort alone, the equivalent of flooding the midfield whilst not playing any strikers (but without the, erm, passing or control skills of Spain).
Euro 2012 links: