The official website for European football

England too close for comfort

Published: Monday 18 June 2012, 19.00CET
The Netherlands' untimely exit has provided a stark warning for England team reporter Andy James – he will be on a flight home if Ukraine beat Roy Hodgson's side on Tuesday.
by Andy James
from Krakow
 
Published: Monday 18 June 2012, 19.00CET

England too close for comfort

The Netherlands' untimely exit has provided a stark warning for England team reporter Andy James – he will be on a flight home if Ukraine beat Roy Hodgson's side on Tuesday.

All good things come to an end, but the Netherlands' untimely UEFA EURO 2012 exit on Sunday provided a stark reminder of how quickly it can happen.

The Oranje squad and fans will be distraught having been touted among the favourites before the competition, but players and supporters aren't the only ones to be affected by the drama of tournament football. It also has an impact on those of us following the sides, the journalists.

©Sportsfile

Everyone following England are set for a nervous game

With our respective teams based in Krakow, the English, Dutch and Italian crews were all booked into the same hotel and, needless to say, the atmosphere has been fantastic. We work together, eat together and watch the games together. Now the Dutch are gone, suddenly our 12-strong gang is four members short.

I've just waved off Berend Scholten, the Netherlands team camp reporter, who is flying home this evening much to his own and everyone else's surprise. Nobody would have expected him to be the first of us to leave, but I suppose that's the beauty of the UEFA European Championship: Anyone can beat anyone.

Bidding Berend farewell also startled me into the realisation that I, too, could be on my merry way in just two days' time. A chilling prospect, when I think about it. Although we've been here almost three weeks, it feels as though the tournament has only really just begun.

I'm enjoying the four-day cycle of matches, press conferences, interviews and training, but if England fail to take a point against Ukraine on Tuesday, they will be out of the tournament; so will I. After watching Berend trudge despondently down the driveway this afternoon, suitcase in tow, I pray that I'm not the next Krakow casualty ...

Last updated: 24/06/12 13.43CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1803945.html#england+close+comfort

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA and EURO 2016 words, the UEFA EURO 2016 logo and slogans and the UEFA EURO trophy are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.