Well that was a pleasant change. The opening game was, predictably, drawn, however it was a thoroughly entertaining affair as it had two sending off's, a penalty save and plenty of controversy as the Greeks fought back from a ridiculous sending off and a being one down to level the match and the player count.
The two first-half bookings handed out to Sokratis Papastathopoulos were criminal. Neither challenge was even a foul and the ridiculousness of the bookings immediately had me calling "fix." It was only when referee Carlos Carballo didn't find a reason to deny the Greek equaliser after the break that the sending off looked like just an atrocious decision. He also evened things up by dismissing Szczesny.
The Russia v Czech match was a much better footballing contest and the Ruski's laid down an early marker. They played some really good, quick passing football and they were looking to get forward as a team at every opportunity. Alan Dzagoez scored twice and missed a better opportunity as he staked an early claim for the Golden Boot. Andrey Arshavin was a thorn in the Czech side and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored an impressive goal from the bench after turning the Czech defence inside out.
This evening we get a western European double as the Netherlands face Denmark and Germany play Portugal. The Dutch should make short work of Denmark and Germany will start favourites against the unpredictable Portugese. Both of these games threaten plenty of goals and if we get them this tournament will really be off and running.
Interesting to see England fans arriving at their campsite in the Ukraine on this morning's news. I never thought I would live to hear the words "they are obviously concerned about the threat of racism and hooliganism." Sign of the times I guess - banning orders and the relative cost of following the national side since Japan has dramatically curtailed the number of idiots travelling and that should encourage more genuine fans to support their side without the embarrassment of being viewed by the locals as some kind of moronic mouth-breather. Best behaved fans of the tournament award?