You’d think you’ve seen it all but that’s never really the case, is it. Sometimes, there just aren’t any logical explanations for things that happen.
Just like that, group stages of Euro 2016 that has narrowed down to last 16 teams since its inception on June 10 have been spurting surprises -- good and bad.
Super strikers haven’t lived up to their names but substitutes such as Jamie Vardy (who was not included in England’s starting lineup) and France’s Dimitri Payet have been incremental in leading their teams to victory. Flares have been tossed on fields and fans, expelled. Penalties have been missed and nearly an identical Spanish team has not been playing ‘tiki-taka’ coached by the same man.
Here’s a list of bizarre incidents that have made Euro 2016 group stages truly unforgettable:
At 40, Gabor Kiraly trumped Lothar Matthaus -- who was 39 years and 91 days old when he appeared against Portugal in 2000 -- by becoming the oldest player to have played in Euro finals. That’s achievement enough but we believe Kiraly fared better than that. The goalkeeper spurned fashion trends and football jerseys by wearing grey track pants to a match. While Superman movies finally got rid of the extra clothing, the Hungarian snatched David Beckham’s title and made a bold statement on the pitch.
Once upon a time, people used to swoon over the German coach. His blue cashmere sweater coupled with his minimalist attire and dishevelled hair was an eye candy for many. People might be able to forgive picking your nose, but definitely not this faux pas. Now known as the ‘trousers-gate’ in German media, a seemingly unaware Loew was caught on camera scratching his genitals and ahem, sniffing his hands.
It’s best to leave it there...
Arsenal acknowledges ‘appearance’
As the Premier League lies dormant till August, ever-enthusiastic Gunners voiced words of encouragement on Twitter for their players toiling in the Euro battlefield. A tweet by the English club’s official handle congratulated their new signing Granit Xhaka for being man of the match and Laurent Koscielny, for keeping a clean sheet. But Arsenal stayed true to their etiquettes and did not ignore Olivier Giroud, whose ‘appearance’ for France deserved an honorary mention.
Obviously, Tweeple didn’t take long to mock the emblematic British politeness. Tch Tch Tch.
It’s ripping jerseys!
It would be surprising to witness a couple of Switzerland players wearing torn jerseys during a match. Indeed it was. Puma launched itself into damage control mode and apologised after Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri said he hoped the sportswear giant did not manufacture condoms.
A game of #WALRUS?
Organisers of Euro rushed to stop an internet sensation ahead of the Wales and Russia match. Uefa clarified that the official hashtag for the anticipated clash was in fact #RUSWAL and not ‘walrus’ -- because the cute, flabby marine creatures don’t quite scream two warring teams fighting for glory and pride.
Second time lucky, Buffon
There’s more to the Italian’s skills than faithfully guarding the net. After bear-hugging his teammates at the end of Italy’s first Euro win against Belgium, the veteran keeper charged to the goal post, only to fall epically as he climbed on to the horizontal bar. But he did right his wrong and swung on the bar after Italians downed Sweden 1-0.