Sport on TV: The Euros are up for grabs – it's all about the first touch

 

As Ruud Gullit might say, there has been a lot of sexy football played in the first week of Euro 2012, and without Sven the Swedish lothario anywhere to be seen. But not much of it has been played by England, who have discarded their fancy foreign clothing in favour of Roy Hodgson's "No sex please, we're English" mentality, with its focus on rearguard actions and opening up from the back.

Hodgson, of course, has taught the Swedes a thing or two, although only on the footballing front. On the eve of the game against Sweden (Match of the Day, BBC1, Thursday), Colin Murray asked our columnist Alan Pardew, who has a Swedish wife, if it would be "separate rooms, Alan?" when it came to the match. "Yes, certainly, she screams too loud for me," came the reply, inducing much sniggering in the grand manner of Test Match Special. But you knew what he meant, just about.

Meanwhile in the Swedish camp, some of the players were experiencing the unusual problem of not being very good at keepyuppy. The first one to lose control of his balls was being forced to drop his trousers and endure his team-mates firing shots at his bare backside. The cheek of it, you might think.

For England, in the second half of their matches it is looking like a case of backs to the wall, an altogether familiar position for them. In Europe, an Englishman's sensibilities go before him. How many times have we heard Messrs Lineker, Shearer, Hansen and Co say that England must hold on to the ball and not be afraid? Still, their intense vulnerability after making the first move is keeping the fans in a state of high arousal.

Even Mark Lawrenson was roused from whispering his barely decipherable sweet nothings in our ears – with emphasis on the "nothings" – when Hodgson brought on Theo Walcott. The little winger immediately provided the extra penetration that his team needed, and Danny Welbeck's finish was a fitting climax to a game between two sides who were leaving gaping holes at their back.

Gullit's fellow Dutchmen are renowned as the great exhibitionists of European football but they are also well known for quarrelling with each other like bickering lovers. This time it is Germany who have been turning it on – we'll refrain from calling them sex bombs – with the unlikely name of Bastian Schweinsteiger making the advances.

It's not a name that's easy to get your lips around, but after all the adoration that has been heaped on the narrow shoulders of Lionel Messi, who looks like the weirdo teenager in an American high-school movie, at least the new man has some film-star looks. And the Germans haven't even really needed to bring on Bender to liven up the action and provide an alternative approach.

Of course it's not just Germany who have got the pulses racing. The hosts Poland have been strutting their stuff too, which has led to a lot of Poles dancing. Even Denmark have had the pundits drooling and purring with pleasure. After their last-gasp defeat of Portugal (Euro 2012 Highlights, ITV1, Wed), Gareth Southgate remarked that the Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner "might as well stick his underpants on his head". But no one wants to see that. Perhaps we're all getting a bit carried away by this sexy stuff. Fingers crossed for England, legs crossed for everyone else.

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week