Szczesny’s replacement is home hero in a crazy opening fixture

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There were raised eyebrows at England’s Krakow training base yesterday when it emerged there were no penalty-spot markings on the pitch.

It was unclear whether this was an oversight at the venue the Football Association reportedly forked out best part of a six-figure sum to upgrade.

Then again, teams do need to reach the knockout stage before penalty shootouts come into play.

Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni is not a man who can pass by unnoticed.

The 73-year-old is partial to an evening stroll and emerged from his team’s Sheraton Hotel base in Sopot last night to take the air along with assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi.

However, they did so into the central square in the spa town and were instantly recognised.

But just as in Montecatini last week, when he was regularly mobbed by his admiring compatriots, Trapattoni was happy to be photographed with Polish fans as they prepared for the big kick-off.

England’s team bus was not the only thing that stopped traffic in Krakow this week as hundreds of local Catholics marked Corpus Christi.

Music-led processions took place throughout the city, with police closing off roads to give them breathing space.

And football thought it was the new religion.

Before the European Championship had even started riots broke out – well, simulated ones anyway.

Poland’s public order police have carried out live training exercises in the streets in an apparent show of strength.

Armed with handguns, handcuffs, pepper spray, body armour, helmets and shields, the expression ‘take no prisoners’ came to mind.

A sign of the times with the Republic of Ireland’ where only one member of the squad was wearing black boots: ‘Old school’ defender Richard Dunne. But there is another man who has opted for similar footwear, World Cup winner and assistant manager Marco Tardelli.