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Thursday, July 1, 2021

After Coca-cola, it is Heineken ~ after Ronaldo, it is Paul Pogba

After Coca-cola, it is Heineken.  Heineken Lager Beer   or simply Heineken is a pale lager beer with 5% alcohol by volume produced by the Dutch brewing company Heineken N.V.. Heineken beer is sold in a green bottle with a red star.

Austria forward Marko Arnautovic was banned Wednesday for one match at the European Championship for insulting a North Macedonian opponent. Arnautovic was charged with “insulting another player” under UEFA’s disciplinary rules. He was accused by the North Macedonian soccer federation of insulting Ezgjan Alioski. Alioski’s family roots are Albanian. Arnautovic’s father is Serbian and his mother is Austrian.

Just like our addiction to Cricket, this is more in Europe and elsewhere – UEFA 2020 - 2020 UEFA European Football Championship,  or simply Euro 2020, is the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).  The tournament, being held in 11 cities in 11 UEFA countries, was originally scheduled from 12 June to 12 July 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and rescheduled for 11 June to 11 July 2021 – though happening now in 2021 it has retained the same name "UEFA Euro 2020".

UEFA President Michel Platini said in 2012 that the tournament was to be hosted in several nations as a "romantic" one-off event to celebrate the 60th "birthday" of the European Championship competition. Having the largest capacity of any of the stadiums entered for the competition, Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final for the second time, having done so before at the 1996 tournament in the stadium's former incarnation. The Stadio Olimpico in Rome was chosen to host the opening game, involving Turkey and hosts Italy. Originally to be played at 13 venues, two hosts were later removed: Brussels in December 2017 due to the abandonment of building the Eurostadium, and Dublin in April 2021 as there was no guarantee that spectators could attend. Spain also changed their host city from Bilbao to Seville to allow an audience at matches. The video assistant referee (VAR) system made its debut at the European Championship in this tournament.

Portugal are the defending champions, having won the 2016 competition in France. Cristiano Ronaldo’s removal of two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the European Championship has coincided with a $4bn fall in the share price of the drinks company. The Portugal captain is a renowned health fanatic and made it clear what he thinks of the carbonated soft drink. The 36-year-old shifted the bottles of Coca-Cola away from him during a press conference in Budapest on Monday in the prelude to his country’s Group F game against Hungary. Ronaldo followed it by holding up a bottle of water before declaring in Portuguese: “Agua!”, appearing to encourage people to choose that instead. Coca-Cola is one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020. The company’s share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 almost immediately after Ronaldo’s gesture, a 1.6% dip. The market value of Coca-Cola went from $242bn to $238bn – a drop of $4bn.

A meeting of France and Germany is one of Europe’s clásicos, a collision of grand old storied aristocrats. It is a stirring spectacle just taking in the colours, the anthems, the staging, the feeling of the sporting heartlands in play. France versus Germany doesn’t always have to be thrilling or back and forth. It just is. Germany started in a back three, with Joshua Kimmich employed in the Andy Robertson role as a kind of right-sided roaming creative hub. The France team were all silk and steel. The front three, Griezmann Benzema Mbappé, have a combined 98 goals this season which, for all the talk of chemistry, feuds, wrongs of the past, really is a lot of goals.

Pogba made the only goal of the game. Sometimes he just stops, looks up and produces these passes – odd, improvised, brilliantly creative little moments of craft. He pinged the ball back across, where Mats Hummels could only thump it clumsily into his own net, his confusion owing something to the pass, which left the white shirts wheeling around, surprised to find this note of obscure geometry in the middle of all that tension.

At one point in the first half in Munich, as Paul Pogba glided around the pitch pinging and flicking and drifting the ball into strange, unexpected spaces, freezing the action around him with a touch, Antonio Rüdiger threw his arms around his chest, leant closer and seemed to take a nibble of Pogba’s shoulder. Maybe it was just a sniff or a lick.  In those opening 45 minutes Pogba moved around the pitch like a champion in a team of champions. And over the course of this 1-0 victory France were good in the way France are good, reeling off another sleek, unruffled tournament performance against a Germany team that was almost always held at arm’s length.

Antonio Rüdiger has denied biting Paul Pogba during France’s 1-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany and will not face any punishment from Uefa over the incident. The Germany defender appeared to make contact with his mouth on Pogba’s back in Tuesday’s Group F opener. Pogba initially reacted in shock but later insisted Rüdiger should face no punishment. Rüdiger is understood to harbour regrets over the incident. Uefa has chosen not to open a disciplinary case after reviewing the matter. The referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande, and his team of officials took no action and Pogba said after the match he agreed with that.  

Pogba attracted more news after the match too .. ..  Paul Pogba removed a bottle of Heineken that was in front of him as he sat down to speak after France's 1-0 victory over Germany. This is not the first time Euro 2020's sponsors have been removed from the table. A day earlier Cristiano Ronaldo removed two bottles of Coca-Cola, telling people to drink water instead. As a result the global drinks brand suffered a dramatic share fall of billions !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2021. 

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