|Latvia 1-1 Turkey. Skonto Stadions.|
Of course, it is fashionable to slag off anything that football governing bodies do these days without giving a second thought to what it could actually mean. This brainchild of Monsieur Platini's is a case in a point as it actually turns out to be a fantastic idea.
|Riga Old Town - a delightful area|
Without it, this trip to the Baltic's would have been as pointless as giving a kiss of life to a rasher of bacon. The whole purpose of it was of course to watch Estonia v England but unfortunately beer, vodka and women conspired to create the mother of all hangovers which meant I ended up missing the entire game fast asleep back at the hostel.
|Can't whack a bit of Soviet architecture|
|These Latvian's have certainly got their priorities right|
|Skonto Stadium through the gloom of a Riga Monday evening|
And that wasn't the only bargain available at Skonto. Any food inside Wembley Stadium is like paying £72 to have a lump of dead horse served up between two stale pieces of bread yet here was £3 for a gigantic plate of sausage, potato and sauerkraut. Sod stadium snacks, this was a full blown meal for two that would not only leave you full up for at least two hours but also clog an artery in an instant.
|Stadium food doesn't come much better than this|
|The Latvian merchandise kiosk doing a roaring trade|
|The English get behind Latvia for the evening|
|Car parking behind the goal is very League Two|
|The main stand of Skonto Stadions|
The football itself wasn't particularly appealing either. Turkey dominated the first half as you would expect and went ahead through an absolute rocket of an effort from Bilal Kisa early in the second. The lead didn't last long, Latvia equalising through Valerijs Sabala from the penalty spot.
You know it has been a poor game when the highlight is undoubtedly supplied by the chairman's column in the programme, as it was on this occasion with the Latvian FA man telling his supporters they could expect the team "to fight for every ball and the middle square centimeter" - whatever that is.
|Inspiring words about the middle square centimeter|
But at least I got see a 11 blokes kicking a ball around eventually. And for that, hats off to Michel Platini. Long live the week of football.
|Latvia v Turkey - games don't come bigger than this|
|The crowd go wild as Latvia equalise from the penalty spot|
Turkey: Volkan Babacan, Semih Kaya, Gokhan Gonul, Umut Bulut, Arda Turan, Gokhan Tore (Hamit Altintop), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Bilal Kisa 1), Mehmet Topal, Ozan Tufan, Caner Erkin, Olcay Sahan (Buyuk Adem).