Euro 2016

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What is going on here? Turkey, Croatia charged for flare incidents

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Not just weeks, nor months, but years: That’s how long we’ve been talking about security concerns for EURO 2016.

Despite so much planning, fans have managed to bring flares and — according to ESPN analyst and former USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller — even a flare gun into stadiums.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Hyndman signs for Bournemouth ]

The fear was visceral and visible when a steward was injured trying to pick up a flare that exploded inches from his outstretched hand. The match was suspended for several minutes, and the Czechs equalized in stoppage time.

[ MORE: Vardy’s wife recounts chaos ]

Gabriele Marcotti also reported on the ESPN broadcast that both Turkey and Croatia fans have been charged for throwing flares, and that Croatian fans actually want their federation penalized because of displeasure with how their program is run (Fans had been previously banned for fascist chants, and a player missed a World Cup as well).

These so-called fans want to see their team implode, and they were pleased when the Croatians allowed that equalizer. It’s a victory for their cause. These are people in the soccer world, not domestic or international terrorists (though, of course, in a sense they also are…).

FOLLOW LIVE: Italy, Sweden meet up for EURO 2016 action in Toulouse

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Sweden needs to find a way through Italy’s disciplined defense in order to snare three critical points to their goal of the EURO 2016 knockout rounds.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Via NBCSports.com ]

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cross was moved home by Ireland’s Ciaran Clark for an own goal, Sweden’s only marker in a 1-1 draw to open the tournament.

Meanwhile, Gli Azzurri looked terrific in an opening win over Belgium, countering with vigor and moving fluidly in the win.

“It’s not chess” — Ireland assistant Roy Keane blasts softness after loss

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If we’re talking about a friendly between Ireland and Belarus, well, something truly remarkable must have occurred in Cork.

That Belarus upset hosts Ireland 2-1 is notable, but we speak more of the words uttered by a certain assistant manager.

[ MORE: Top 25 players at Copa America ]

And that manager’s name is Roy Keane, the irrepressible personality and longtime Ireland and Manchester United midfielder. From the BBC:

“I wanted to kill some of them last night,” he said.

“They should count their blessings they’ve managed to get on the flight – a reality check for one or two players who thought they were good players.”

Those comments alone breach the normal coach speak and make us raise an eyebrow, but Keane is looking toward a brutal Euro group that includes Italy, Belgium and Sweden.

[ MORE: Hodgson explains England roster choices ]

Here’s another beauty from Keane, a frank, brutal and probably fair assessment of winger Aiden McGeady:

“He can do a lot better but maybe that’s the story of Aiden’s career,” added Keane.

The hits kept coming when it came to the “modern player” and concern with health. Here’s where Keane was really feeling it, from Sky Sports:

“People have talked about not playing much football or players carrying knocks; I’m worried if players aren’t carrying knocks.

“You’re supposed to get knocks because you’re supposed to be tackling people, you’re supposed to be hitting people at pace.

“That’s part of the game. It’s not chess we’re playing.”

Bring on the Euro, and let’s have Keane take all the press conferences in place of manager Martin O’Neill.