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What they said at Euro 2012

02 July 2012, 11:00

Poland / Ukraine - The pick of what was said atUefa Euro 2012™:

"Shut your face." - Samir Nasri after scoring against England starts the tournament as he will end it with a verbal attack aimed at a journalist - France would have preferred he had added to his goals tally.

"It is not very good for Nasri's image and neither is it for the team's." - France coach Laurent Blanc on Nasri's loss of sangfroid.

"We wanted to give everybody back home something to cheer, to celebrate. Everybody in Greece - even our families, our friends, our brothers, our cousins, everyone – is having a really hard time." - Greek midfielder Kostas Katsouranis on what it meant to reach the quarterfinals and lighten some of the gloom back in his crisis-hit homeland.

"Everyone has to respect Greeks because of its history and the principles of democracy, science... everything started from Greece, so it's very difficult for anyone to give us lessons." - Greece's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos alluding to EU pressure on the Greeks to try to balance its books with crippling cuts.

"It will send some signals to the country that we are going in the right direction. And if the success can be transferred into society, that would be marvellous." - Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque in the same vein as the Greeks speculating on what retaining the trophy would mean to his cash-strapped and depressed compatriots.

"Do you know what he (Messi) was doing this time last year? He was going out of the Copa America in the quarterfinals." - Cristiano Ronaldo's withering response after he was asked about Danish fans calling out his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi's name following a misfiring performance against Denmark - he went on to score three goals as Portugal reached the semifinals.

"I already said that I am disappointed and angry." - Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on his reaction to losing out to Robin van Persie to start their first game against Denmark and set the discordant tone that saw the 2010 World Cup finalists, who had won all their qualifying matches, crash out pointless and led to Bert van Marwijk resigning shortly afterwards.

"They (Croatia) have a good team which plays well but it's unacceptable when you've got a hundred or so arseholes among the crowd." - Uefa president Michel Platini on Croatian fans who racially abused Mario Balotelli in their group match.

"Uefa are not serious...Platini was a great player but him & his colleagues alienate themselves with exactly this type of rubbish #priorities." - former England captain Rio Ferdinand reacting to Uefa fining Nicklas Bendtner 100 000 euros for flashing a sponsor's name when he scored a goal compared to the 80 000 euros the Croatian federation were fined for the racist taunts.

"I am a man. I could be Peter Pan because I like to do things in my own way, I am a free spirit." - Mario Balotelli on the riddle that is the talented Italian striker.

"I scored two goals in front of my mother and I would like to score four in front of my father in Kiev in the final! My favourite moment was when I embraced my mum after the match." - Balotelli after scoring a memorable double in the 2-1 semifinal win over pre-tournament favourites Germany.

"You should respect that I played football? Did you play football? Respect my job and me. I won't allow anyone to criticise my team. If you're a man, go with me. One on one." - Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin shows his colleagues how to deal with a journalist who he felt showed him disrespect after the 1-0 defeat by England which ended the co-hosts tournament at the group stage.

"We need to show that we know our history and we must take ownership of our past responsibilities, even if our generation is not responsible." - German captain Philipp Lahm on the visit by him and the rest of the delegation from the German Football Federation (DFB) to the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"This is the style that has brought us success and it's the style that we can identify with. Don't forget, a few years back, this style changed the history of Spain forever, and I think that's enough." - Andres Iniesta's spirited and logical defence of the Spanish 'tiki taka' style that attracted somewhat surprising criticism at Euro.

"We're talking about a great generation of footballers. They have roots, and they know how to play together because they come from a country where they learn to play properly. This is a great era for Spanish football." - Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque after his side had put Italy to the sword 4-0 in the final.

- Sapa - AFP


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