Euro 2008, so far so good

Vienna, June 11:

The Euro 2008 is an unmitigated success so far, with plenty of goals, no red cards and well-behaved fans filling stadia in Austria and Switzerland.

That was the message from UEFA on Wednesday after it released TV viewing figures, crowd numbers at fan zones and the corporate hospitality ticket sales after the first set of games at Euro 2008.

European football’s governing body is just as happy with on-field performances. After eight games played over four match days, there have been 16 goals with no red cards and only 24 yellows, including none in Spain’s 4-1 win over Russia on Tuesday in Innsbruck.

William Gaillard, director of communications for UEFA and senior adviser to its president Michel Platini, is even pleased with the pre-match formalities. “One thing that had caused a lot of dismay over the last few years with observers was the systematic whistling and booing of the opponent’s national anthem,” Gaillard said. “We’re seeing now that the national anthems are respected by the fans of all teams.