By Ciaran O Raghallaigh in Gdansk
SPAIN might be the best group of players in the European Championships.
They might be on the brink of history.
But sweet jesus, they’re definitely the biggest moaners over here.
After their first game in Euro 2012, a 1-1 draw with Italy, Spain’s players spent much of the post-match groaning about the pitch.
“The pitch is a disaster,” whimpered Cesc Fabregas, who somehow kept it together during the game to score Spain’s equaliser. “We deserved a lot more. It’s lamentable that we still have to play on pitches like that.”
Cesc has clearly never played on a pitch that had a horse, or the remnants of a burnt-out car getting in the way of some tiki-taka.
“The fact they didn’t water the pitch compromised us and our dynamic and fluid passing game,” said Xavi, who wasn’t wearing white overalls and lab glasses when commenting.
Even Iniesta had a pop: “To see the pitch in this condition was a disaster. It was super dry and that makes passing the ball difficult.”
So, Ireland fans – praying for hailstones the size of apples? Or maybe someone can borrow a JCB and nip into the ground overnight?
Hold that thought though. The man who can really make the difference here is Giovanni Trapattoni.
UEFA have admitted the pitch for Spain v Italy was not in perfect condition – BUT crucially added that Ireland could do exactly what the Italians did to get under the Spaniards’ skin.
It transpired today that Italian FA vice-president Demetrio Albertini was the man who asked for the pitch not to be watered before the start of the game against Spain.
“I told them not to water the pitch,” he said, with absolutely no shame.
“It was watered 75 minutes before the start of the game, before the warm-up, but we didn’t want them to water it 15 minutes before kick-off. I don’t understand all the fuss. We aren’t used to playing on such fast and wet pitches. The same could be said about a lot of other teams. It’s nothing against Spain. It is a UEFA rule that allows us to do what we did.”
Are you listening Giovanni Trapattoni?