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And the golden boots award goes to….

The Euro 2012 tournament is coming to an end, with just the final match between Spain and Italy on July 2.

It has truly been a feast for the soccer fan. We’ve seen the best players stuff up in front of goal. We’ve seen tempers and tantrums, poor refereeing (especially the disallowed goal for Ukraine against England),  sheer lunacy (Nicklas Bendtner showing off his Paddy Power underwear), plenty of tattoos (many of them grotesque, such as Raul Miereles’), some stupendous goals (Sami Khedira’s wonder volley and Mario Balotelli’s two super strikes against Germany), and plenty of boots.

Yes, those pink boots, lime green boots, yellow boots, golden boots, white boots. But no black boots (yes, when was the last time you saw a professional footballer wearing black boots?).

But there’s a lot of technology that goes into these new boots made by Nike, Adidas, Puma and so on.It’s strange that newspapers worldwide hardly think about answering readers’  curiosity about these boots. I myself have wondered so many times that commentators can tell how many kilometres a player has run during a match.

A German paper, the Rheinische Post (Rhineland Post), the main paper in Düsseldorf, answered the questions for its readers, with a whole page about those boots.

Here it is:

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My friend Hans Peter Janisch translated the page for me.

The main headline says “The football boot in the passage of time” and had this as the deck: “The most important piece of football equipment underwent dramatic changes in the past few years. Today the world stars carry the names of their girl friends or pets upon it. Individual design is affordable for everybody.”

But what’s interesting for me is the main graphic on the individually designed boots, showing the different kinds of studs for different weather conditions and other stuff. OK, it’s not the best graphic in the world, but it tells me a lot more than what I’ve seen in other papers.

I love the one about the technology that goes into those boots. Embedded in the soles is a very small chip which just weighs 8 grams. It records the speed, distance and all the runs the player makes in a game. The data can be analysed by the coach while the game is in progress and by the player afterwards.

How fascinating! Well done to the Rheinische Post.

El Mundo Deportivo in Spain had a small story about Cesc Fabregas’ boots made by Puma. Here it is:

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I have no clue what it is about.

 

 

PS: All images from Euro2012 are from www.pressdisplay.com. You can see thousands of papers from all over the world with a low monthly or yearly subscription.

Guardian scores with photo

Not only is Euro 2012 a feast for the soccer fans but it is visual heaven.

Take a look at this photo from the UK’s The Guardian today:

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The picture by Getty Images’ Julian Finney is spectacular, showing Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in full flight.

It’s one of the best goals of Euro2012, surely. And one of the best photos I’ve seen.

Great ideas from Europe

Soccer fans all over the world are having a feast with Euro2012 taking place in Poland and Ukraine right now.

I’ve been having sleepless nights watching two matches each day at the unearthly hour of 2am and then again at 4.45am. It’s like working on the split shifts in newspapers. But thoroughly enjoyable.

What’s more enjoyable, however, is to read newspapers from all over the world, courtesy of Newspaper Direct (www.newspaperdirect.com) and looking at the ideas that are flowing as freely as Mario Gomez of Germany is scoring goals.  Pity my favourite striker, Robin van Persie, isn’t playing to his usual standard.

I’ve been looking, in particular, at some of the newspapers in the UK. As usual, they are doing a sterling job. I think they still have the best journalism in the world (I don’t include the Sunday Sport and the other racy tabloids of course although they are masters of headline writing).

For example, I love this idea from the respectable tabloid, Daily Mail:

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Discussing the June 15 clash between England and Sweden, the paper has put in a nice sidebar on one of England’s defenders, Joleon Lescott. Football fans would have seen Lescott many times playing for his club, Manchester City, and before that, at Everton. They, too, would know that Lescott, like many other footballers, have tattoos all their body.

But the Daily Mail has responded to our curiosity with this sidebar that tells why he has that scar on his forehead, what the tattoos are about and a bit of background about him. Nice work.

Would love one on David Beckham’s canvas.

Then there is a column about what fans think in The Daily Telegraph:

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I like it because it combines a bit of journalism with marketing (which seems to be happening with a lot of newspapers these days in the face of stiff competition online).

The Tele has got Sharp, the Japanese electronics and consumer goods giant, to sponsor the column.

Best of all, fans get to say what they think of their teams.

A winner, surely!

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The Independent is not sitting still while its competitors are crowing. It too has a good idea – getting former Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez to write a column.

Every self-respecting football fan would surely want to read the thoughts of Rafa.

Across in Germany, Der Tagesspiegel (translated “The Daily Mirror”) has some nice pictures of WAGs, i.e., wives and girlfriends of soccer stars.  Nice eye-candy.

Here it is:

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Sadly, I couldn’t find such nice ideas in French papers nor the Italian ones. Like their soccer teams, they appear to be off duty.