LONDON – With random insights into England's European Championship quarterfinal match against Italy, a regional British police force made itself into a minor Twitter sensation on Sunday.
By claiming Italian players dive and commenting on tactics, near misses and great saves, Staffordshire Police were a hit on the Internet among England fans.
However, one particular tweet certainly stood out: "Great tackle by Terry, we'll be tackling repeat offenders."
The tweet was in reference to England defender John Terry, who made a decisive block on a shot from Mario Balotelli midway through the first half in Kiev, Ukraine.
Terry is due in court July 9 — eight days after the Euro 2012 final. The Chelsea player has been accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match. Terry denies the charge.
That remark was retweeted more than 200 times in a little over an hour.
The series of crime-based puns certainly lightened the mood among England supporters during a tense match.
"Balotelli should be in the Olympics — Italian diving team," one read.
Another said: "Change of tactics for England — seems to be working. Our tactics are to stop violence!"
In the second half, after Roy Hodgson's team mounted a couple of attacks, a tweet read: "England team looking good, how's your team looking tonight - got a Des? (hashtag)designatedDriver (hashtag)Euro2012."
The police force, which covers the Staffordshire county in central England, has been using social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to send out serious messages to residents and give insights into the work done by its officers. Stoke-on-Trent is the largest city in Staffordshire.