Fascinating to watch Spain v Ireland last night with Irish friends and on Irish TV. As an Englishman it was strangely heartening to see fans as harsh on their own team as we are! There seemed to be a consensus amongst the fans that Trappatoni got his selection and tactics all wrong, the players didn’t do enough – and yet at the same time (paradoxically) the Irish team were never going to win this match. After I got over the shock of seeing how much the likes of Liam Brady and Johnny Giles had aged – last time I saw them they were young men darting around the pitch in the old English League division one – I noted how down on their team the Irish TV pundits were, too. Their banter is rather more serious and cerebral than the likes of Lineker and Hansen – in fact, hardly banter at all. I don’t agree with these views. The fans of all teams often delude themselves (none more so than England, at least until this tournament). The fact is Trapattoni did very well to get Ireland to the Euros for the first time in 24 years. Once there, they were never realistically going to get out of their Group. But at least huge numbers of Irish fans were able to enjoy a trip to Poland. Their support towards the end of the 4-0 drubbing was impressive, 20,000+ singing “Fields of Athenry” for 10-15 minutes non-stop. I think the Irish team and fans can be really proud of themselves. I’m also intrigued so many of them will have visited Poland for the first time. Ireland along with UK opened its doors to the Poles ahead of the rest of the EU, and up to 200,000 of them went there, integrating well. I hope the Irish will now take a particular interest in Polish culture, perhaps reading Polska Dotty to begin their insight.