Platini says football hierarchy upset at Euro 2008
The established hierarchy of football has been upset at the European Championship, UEFA president Michel Platini said Sunday in a message to mark the tournament's midpoint stage, the AP reported.
With 2006 World Cup finalists Italy and France struggling to qualify and Germany beaten by Croatia, Platini said: "Half the matches are behind us and have whetted our appetites for more. The quality of play is extolled unanimously by all observers. Defensive tactics are nowhere to be seen; rather, all legal means are being used to overpower the other team who, more often than not, respond in the same way.
"The results of the first 16 matches have already upset the established hierarchy and cast doubt on the most firmly rooted certainties."
Platini said individual talent was not being stifled by team play, and one of the most encouraging features of the tournament was that only one red card had been shown in the first 16 games.
"The referees are controlling these fast and energetic matches well, and (with) one or two minor errors of judgment - usually down to just a few centimeters and, moreover, spontaneously acknowledged - have not spoilt this great festival of football. To err is human, and that is how it should stay as far as football is concerned."
Platini said the sexist reputation of football had been refuted by the large number of women at the games. He said club supporters should take a leaf out of the book of national team supporters who have flooded in to Austria and Switzerland.