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Mole spies on England team at Euro 2012

WARSAW -- The England soccer team narrowly avoided an unusual pitch invasion Friday, when a mole popped up at their Euro 2012 training session in southern Poland.

“He wasn't hit by any stray passes or anything from the players,” England team spokesman Stuart Mawhinney told AFP Friday. “He might have been trying to get a good view.”

Staff spotted the dark furry animal on the pitch sidelines around Friday noon (1000 GMT) at the Hutnik stadium in Krakow, where England are based during the 16-nation Euro 2012 soccer championships co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

“One of the security guys was able to catch it just with his hands — gently and humanely — and release it back into the wild, so hopefully no harm came to him,” Mawhinney said.

Mawhinney waved off any fear the animal was a mole for England's next adversary, Italy.

“I think moles are blind aren't they? So it was good for us that he wasn't able to get any tips on tactics to pass onto any of his friends,” Mawhinney said.

The incident came a day after the Czech Republic, whose unofficial mascot is a mole, was eliminated from the championships.

Mawhinney said he hoped the animal's appearance was not a bad omen for England.

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