Euro 2016 kicked off this weekend and it’s already been a doozy. Not so much in the way of goals— there were a lot of 1-0 scorelines— but there’s been plenty of drama to make up for it. We’ve seen big teams struggle to live up to their full potential, small teams struggle to hold on, and pundits struggle to find something insightful to say about fan riots.
It’s been an eventful first weekend in the European Championships, and plenty of people had something to say. Here are some of the choice quotes from the weekend.
1. ”You can talk about police provocation, or other fans causing trouble, but it only seems to happen where the English go.”
- Gary Lineker, on skirmishes between English and Russian fans this weekend.
2. ”At the start of the season, a lot of people would have found it hard to believe I would be here. I have got here by working hard. When I saw the stadium tonight I knew I was going to have fun.”
- Dimitri Payet, who scored the winner for France over Romania in the tournament’s opening match.
3. ”[England] big themselves up before they’ve done anything.”
- Wales forward Gareth Bale, on his side’s opponents this week.
4. ”They can have those opinions but I don’t have any doubts personally about our patriotism or desire and that’s the important thing. If he believes that that’s the case, he’s welcome to that opinion.”
- England manager Roy Hodgson, responding to Bale’s comments.
5. ”I was not afraid of losing our lead, but we should have scored more. We will be mentally stronger after coming through this.”
- Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic, following their 1-0 win over Albania.
6. ”The police are meant to be there to protect you. Well, I didn’t feel protected; I felt threatened.”
- Rebekah Vardy, on the perceived lack of security protection and support for England fans inside the stadium in Marseille.
7. ”We always knew it was going to be difficult but we were not good enough.”
- Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis after his team’s loss to Poland.
8. ”He scored a magical goal and at the end it was the only goal. We need Luka in this form. All the team looks better and more aggressive when he plays like that.”
- Croatia manager Ante Cacic, talking about Luka Modric and his exceptional performance against Turkey.
9. ”Look, we didn’t know exactly what German team we would be up against, but a machine is a machine.”
- Ukraine manager Mykhailo Fomenko, following his side’s 2-0 loss to Germany.
10. ”I want to take the pressure off the team. I am used to it. So, I want to take the pressure off my team-mates as much as possible.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on his role in the team in advance of Sweden’s clash with Republic of Ireland.