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What else is happening in European football?

Published: Wednesday 29 March 2017, 15.00CET
REVEALED: The secret hurt behind Thierry Henry's low-key goal celebrations. PLUS – the family ties in this week's European Qualifiers and Jermain Defoe on his new vegan diet.
What else is happening in European football?
Thierry Henry celebrates (trust us) ©Getty Images

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Published: Wednesday 29 March 2017, 15.00CET

What else is happening in European football?

REVEALED: The secret hurt behind Thierry Henry's low-key goal celebrations. PLUS – the family ties in this week's European Qualifiers and Jermain Defoe on his new vegan diet.

Haughty Henry?
Ever wanted to know why Thierry Henry celebrated most of his record 226 goals for Arsenal and 51 for France without smiling? Now part of Belgium's coaching team, Henry revealed all in a TV interview: "I was brought up by my father," he said. "There was a youth game: Viry-Châtillon v Sucy-en-Brie. Kick-off 2pm. We won it 6-0. I scored the six goals. For the whole trip back, my father listed all the mistakes I made. It drove me crazy. I was 12 or 13. After that, when I scored goals I was only thinking about the ones I missed, saying to myself: 'How could I miss that other chance?'"

Defensive eating with Defoe
Back in the England team after three and a half years and straight among the goals against Lithuania, Jermain Defoe has put his success down to, among other things, a new diet. "I'm trying to turn vegan," the 34-year-old explained. "That's a funny one because, when I go to my mum's, she's got every kind of meat you can imagine out on the table. My girlfriend suggested I gave it a go. Well, she said to me: 'You've got to do it,' and she's always showing me documentaries on it."

Scotland fan's bottom line
Scotland fan Callum Strang honoured a painful social media promise after doubting substitute Chris Martin's ability to break the deadlock in their home game against Slovenia. "If he scores the winner I'll get my Viva La Vida tattooed on my arse," he tweeted – a nod to the Derby County forward's namesake, the Coldplay singer Chris Martin. Martin duly scored the winner, and Strang took his medicine nobly, though he noted that he was at best a lukewarm Coldplay fan: "If they came on, I wouldn't go out my way to change the music."

©Fedja Krvavac

Gibraltar's band of brothers

Family affairs
Gibraltar, Kosovo and Iceland are among UEFA's smallest member associations so it is perhaps unsurprising that one or two talented families play a huge role in their national teams. Kenneth Chipolina made his international debut for Gibraltar against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, lining up at right-back. On the other flank was older brother Joseph; between them there was a third Chipolina, unrelated skipper Roy. As usual, the Casciaro family was well represented, too, in the shape of forward Lee and midfield Kyle. A third brother, Ryan, was injured.

Meanwhile, when Kosovo played Iceland, brothers-in-law, Samir Ujkani and Besart Berisha played together for the first time. The two former Albania players are married to two sisters from Prishtina (one a TV sports presenter).

For Iceland, Björn Bergmann Sigurdarson opened his national-team account, following in the footsteps of half-brothers Thórdur Gudjónsson, Jóhannes Karl 'Joey' Gudjónsson and Bjarni Gudjónsson. Sigurdarson shares a mother with the trio, whose father Gudjón Thórdarson coached Iceland in the late 1990s.

Why is Iceland so called?
A question: do you agree that this Icelandic League Cup tie between Breidablik and Fram should have been been called off?

©Getty Images

Joe Ledley, waiting for a call

EURO 2016, nine months on
"He's just keeping his phone on loud and for one of the members of staff to take his phone if he's out on the training field," said Joe Ledley's Wales team-mate Wayne Hennessey, explaining that the Crystal Palace midfielder was on tenterhooks ahead of the Dragons' meeting with the Republic of Ireland, with his partner expecting to give birth, approximately nine months after Wales' quarter-final defeat of Belgium. Meanwhile, a a doctor tweeted yesterday that the weekend just gone – exactly nine months since Iceland eliminated England – was marked by a record high in epidurals at the national hospital in Reykjavik.

Czech out these chants
It's been a happy week for Czech Republic. On Monday they qualified for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship having beaten Austria. The squad lined up and, after coach Jan Suchopárek finished his TV interview, broke out in a chant dating from the EURO '96 finalist's playing career (which ended when his squad were mostly two).

The day before the Czech Republic ended their goal-shy start to FIFA World Cup qualifying by winning 6-0 in San Marino, with five goals before the break. During the second half the Czech fans joined in with the chants of the local kids and loudly chanted: "San Marino, San Marino." As for the game, Czech coach Karel Jarolím said: "This is the way I would like to do football. Five-nil up at half-time, this job is almost pleasant."

Last updated: 29/03/17 15.43CET

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