Moles, Poles and own goals...

Euro 2012 has provided a feast of fun on the pitch but at least as much amusement off it Sam Wallace charts the weird, wonderful and sometimes sad moments in eastern Europe

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The Independent Online

1 Blokhin blows his top and offers a journalist outside

After Ukraine's elimination at the hands of England in the final Group D game, Oleg Blokhin lost his rag with a Ukrainian journalist and offered to take him outside for "a man-conversation". The journalist in question, to his credit, did not back down. The room held its breath. Blokhin, to the relief of all, calmed down.

2 The incredible utterances of Michel Platini

"I am wholly against goal-line technology. It's not goal-line technology itself, I am against it coming into force. I remember the Spanish and the Italians in [the] 2002 [World Cup] went out because the ball crossed the line against North Korea." He meant South Korea.

3 The English hope, the Italians expect

After Italy had dispatched England in the quarter-finals, the wives and girlfriends of the Italian players came out to Krakow and moved into the hotel in which the English press had been based. There was a complete absence of paparazzi around the hotel. It is telling that, in Italy, even the players' nearest and dearest get interested only when the team reaches the latter stages of a tournament.

4 At least England lead the way in one field

As usual the Football Association did an excellent job of its media centre at the Andels Hotel in Krakow, with those staple requirements for newspaper reporters, fresh coffee and Wifi access, readily available. The team may struggle but the FA has led the field in media facilities for years.

5 An ugly own goal by the English press

The English press football team has a handful of stalwarts but few as long-serving as the goalkeeper, the Daily Mirror's John Cross.

It is fair to say that Cross holds a torch for Arsenal, so imagine his delight when, with Robert Pires through on goal for the French press team, Cross pulled off what he would no doubt describe as "an astonishing stop". Unfortunately, Cross's team-mate Jason Burt, of The Daily Telegraph, stepped in to clear the ball, smashed it into Cross's face whereupon it cannoned into the net.

6Danny Fullbrook will be sadly missed

All of those reporters who cover the England team will remember Euro 2012 as the tournament when Danny Fullbrook, the Daily Star chief football writer, finally lost his battle with cancer at the age of 40. I always tell journalist students that you have to love newspapers, and accept the frustrations of the job along with the triumphs.

No one understood the need to take the highs and lows in one's stride as well as Danny, who never lost his sense of perspective. We'll miss him.

7England down to 10 men

The team group photograph taken on the pitch before the game is one of those customs that continues in international football because, well, it always has. Photographers crowd around to take the picture, although you rarely see them used in newspapers. Perhaps that was why Glen Johnson (below) forgot to join England's team group for the game against France, making that 10-man picture something of a collector's item.

8 Mole in the England camp.

I wonder what happened to the mole – literally, a subterranean-dwelling mammal – who was last seen trying to escape Polish security men with a dash across the main stand at England's Hutnik stadium training ground outside Krakow. In days gone by, at least one tabloid newspaper would have campaigned for his freedom, perhaps flying him back to England.

9 What will be the legacy of Euro 2012?

The big challenge for Poland and Ukraine will be how they use their stadiums as part of the tournament legacy. Lechia Gdansk, who have played in the 43,000-capacity PGE Arena, average crowds of around half that. The same is the case for Slask Wroclaw in their newly built 43,000 Municipal Stadium.

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