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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Euro 2004 diary
By Paul Fletcher and Phil McNulty
Our men in Portugal

Bolton's Greek star Stelios Giannakopoulos
I hope Sam signs a Greek to make company with me in Bolton
Stelios Giannakopoulos
Bolton's Greek star
Greece star Stelios Giannakopoulos is hoping his club manager saw their opening-day win over Portugal.

Giannakopoulos plays for Premiership side Bolton and reckons 'Big Sam' Allardyce might have been sufficiently impressed to get his chequebook out.

"The manager likes the Greek players and the style of play of Greek football," the midfielder told BBC Sport. "I hope Sam signs a Greek to make company with me in Bolton."

Said like a true Trotter, Stelios.

The press at Italy's game with Demark appeared to be looking the wrong way when the teams entered the arena.

Instead of studying the players about to do battle, a large proportion of the journalists were engaging in some serious rubber necking.

The reason for this sudden - and quite literal - turn of events?

The presence of half a dozen brazen Danish blondes at the back of the stand bouncing their way through their team's national anthem...

When Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni was linked with the manager's job at Spurs, it came to light that he had been having English lessons.

This was underlined at the post-match news conference on Monday.

Whenever his translator struggled with unintelligible sentences in English, Trapattoni constantly corrected him on the error of his ways.

And on the few occasions the translator made any sense, Trapattoni simply nodded mockingly in our direction.

Sporting Lisbon's Alvalade Stadium is a venue fit for the best - and indeed pretty much everyone in Portugal if you believe the official Euro 2004 guide.

Its capacity is stated, rather obviously incorrectly, as 520,000.

It also boasts the loudest and most excruciating tannoy in world football, with even the most banal announcement delivered at maximum volume.

Take it from us that being told "a goal is least likely to be scored in the 17th minute" is not worth the pain of a perforated eardrum.

Former Millwall and Coventry goalkeeper Bryan King is now a familiar sight at the English media hotel in Lisbon.

King works as a European scout for Spurs, but could he also have been passing information of another kind to his new boss Jacques Santini?

Santini, who takes over at Tottenham once France are done here, was staying at the same hotel with his team before their game with England.

Could that be how Thierry Henry knew to watch for a dodgy injury-time back pass?

Did England's players have the pain of defeat against France soothed by the tender accordion playing of coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip?

Word has it that Grip is a very keen and accomplished musician, and often likes to while away those long hours between games with a tune or two.

Then again, can you imagine Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney being tempted from their pool duels by the siren call of Tord and his Swedish folk songs?

As Sven would say, maybe not.

Links to more Euro 2004 stories


Euro 2004 diary
14 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004
Euro 2004 diary
13 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004
Euro 2004 diary
12 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004


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