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24 countries will enter this summer's Euros…
Only one can leave with the trophy…
But which one?#Euro2020 starts TODAY! ????#bbceuro2020
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 11, 2021
For those of us who aren’t knowledgeable about the sport (like me), the Washington Post‘s Global Correspondent Ishaan Tharoor has an excellent “Political guide to the European soccer championships“. Including details of the Crimea / Russia spat (see tweets below), kerfuffles over ‘taking a knee’ (I did not know how widespread this has become in European sports!), and (yup) the gifted French striker of Algerian descent who said “If I score, I’m French. If I don’t, I’m Arab.”
Global sport, global politicking:
.@sportexpress, Russia's major sports paper currently owned by Putin's mistress, has 7 articles today about Ukraine's soccer jerseys. UEFA has partially capitulated to Russian demands ("Glory to the heroes" will be removed, "Glory to Ukraine" and the map with Crimea will stay) https://t.co/0pBamXCKzY
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 10, 2021
Russia has lost its collective shit over Ukraine's shirts, which include internationally recognized borders of the nation. Russia, which is incredibly, comically bad at soccer, considers it its national sport. For most of the population, it is the only sport worth following.
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 10, 2021
Ukraine, which has actually produced a soccer super star in Andriy Shevchenko and has dominated the USSR game between the 1960s and 1990s, appears to have chosen its trolling instrument rather well.
Seven articles in Alina Kabayeva's paper! Seven. Today only. Assholes are on fire
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 10, 2021
The entirety of Russia is ablaze from exploding assholes because the Ukraine soccer shirt has a map of the country with Crimea on it. And the US embassy keeps the trolling game going.
Today only, @sportexpress dedicated seven (7) articles to the jersey.
Butthurt, level 900. https://t.co/8BRuGVv8HQ
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 10, 2021
I don’t really have the sports gene. Now I have a new sport not to follow.
Interesting stuff about Putin’s involvement via his wife.
Gin & Tonic
UEFA blinked. Ukraine will be competing in their original, previously-approved jerseys.
FYI, the phrase which offended Russia, “Glory to the Heroes!” was embroidered on the inside of the collar. Where you couldn’t see it.
ETA: The jerseys are selling like hot cakes in Ukraine. I’m sure the manufacturer is grateful to Russia.
@Gin & Tonic: I want one, but what I really want is one that has the Forbidden Phrase on it.
ETA: Where is the map on the shirt? It must be highly stylized, because I don’t see it.
The pics by the Embassy are fantastic. What a show of support! Love it!
@Gin & Tonic: Did you see this reply? You can translate much more than I can understand, but I think it’s a mock-up of a uniform that says Poot’n is a jerk, “or how about having it written like this on the uniform?…”
Not to throw water on your post but I don’t get why we focus on European Football and omit the entire rest of the world’s competitions. I’m sure there are reasons but . . .
Plus there is a bunch of other smaller competitions. Football (soccer) is truly a worldwide national sport except in Murica.
ETA. Okay I see now. The UEFA European Championships are being played first this year.
You don’t come here often, do you?
Here is Andrea Bocelli opening Euro 2020 the way Luciano Pavarotti opened Italy ’90.
With some Nessum Dorma.
(Those poor drummers who were lifted into the heavens in a flash!)
Since all I know about this form of sports ball I acquired from watching small girls run in circles, I have nothing to add to that part of the post. However, between all the witnesses in TFG’s first impeachment effort – and this five-star trolling with shirts, I love Ukraine and its people. I hope Uncle President Joe will come out of his talks with Putin with a stare down this bad and not the I’ve Been a Very Bad Dog stance of TFG in Helsinki.
Perhaps Herr Starczewski was on to something.
Haha! That’s a great way to characterize that photo.
Le sigh. Fix.
Perhaps Herr Starczewski was on to something
In Britain, there is something similar to the “French/Arab” item mentioned.
If a sportsperson is from Scotland then it goes something like this example:
Andy Murray (former World #1 tennis player and Scotsman) wins: “A Great British victory from Andy Murray!”
Scotsman loses: “Another bad loss for plucky Scotsman, Andy Murray.”
Or you win, you’re British; you lose, you’re Scottish.
Bringing new meaning to streaming TV.
Germany’s Mehmet Özil, a German-born son of Turkish immigrants, had a similar grumble a few years ago, around the time he quit die Mannschaft: “When we win I’m a German, when we lose I’m an immigrant.” It was not long after AfD called him unpatriotic for posting his umrah photos on social media. He’s faced racial and religious discrimination in Germany all his life.
And here I thought Russia’s national sport was vodka.
Iceland didn’t make the tournament this year, so I guess I’ll cheer for Denmark. Or Scotland.
I don’t really care too much about who wins though. I’m still coasting on a high from the Maple Leafs being eliminated in so spectacular a fashion. The fans who aren’t scum have cried and moved on, but the really toxic ones look like they’ll be bringing the weight of their wisdom to comment sections all over the internet for weeks to come. Their tears are delicious.
Now this is an early early morning thread. 8-) Bleary-eyed but on the outside of a nice breakfast (coffee x 2, thick bacon, two eggs sunny side up, toast – Yum) I can manage this.
This isn’t going to be a normal tournament, for obvious reasons. A year late, spread across the continent instead of being hosted by a single nation, most of the players having come straight off long, demanding Club Football seasons with all the sustained exhaustion and niggling injury worries still untreated, and there’s the little matter of a pandemic that’s far from over. International tournaments hardly ever present their audiences with the rarefied skill-level of Club Football, but that’s part of their charm. Club teams are expensively assembled super-machines with bespoke parts sourced from all over the world and subject to constant expert maintenance and tinkering, international teams… well… they’re what you get if you dismantle twenty different cars and bolt together parts from each, and then put a semi-retired driving instructor behind the wheel. It might get you places, eventually, but it sure ain’t going to win any prizes for beauty or performance.
That said, a lot of these players really are the best in the world at what they do, and they’ll be eager to shine amidst the crud.
So, France are the early favourites. They’ve got Kylian Mbappe up front, who is so good I’d be quite happy to see him in a Liverpool shirt some day soon (oh yeah), and they’ll be eager to repeat their World Cup/Euro Champs Double from the start of the millennium, but like I said, this is International football and anything can happen. Germany are still rebuilding after their World Cup humiliation, Spain are trying to find a new groove after their Tiki Taki passy-passy-passy-passy… pass some more, tap in from three yards past a zonked out keeper style went the way of the Dodo and the moderate conservative. Italy have changed their traditional defence-first style to be more pressing from the front and, on last night’s show against Turkey, look like an efficient goal machine. Belgium have the players to win anything (minus the exceptional De Bruyne, who was fouled out of the Champions League Final in a repeat of the Ramos on Salah violence that cost Liverpool in 2017) but they haven’t managed to do it when it counts, yet. Portugal did it last time with the brilliance of Ronaldo pushing on an average team, but he’s five years older now. The Dutch haven’t been up to much for a while, but if anyone can redeem the concept of Orange on the international scene, they can. Russia can fuck right off, whole North Macedonia have the best Fantasy Kingdom Flag in any tournament, anywhere.
England have the players (no, really) but tend to freeze in terror whenever they come up against the possibility of winning anything internationally (the Man City players in the team should be used to that). Wales have Top-Knot Bale and Aaron Ramsey and their twenty friends, but that was enough to take them deep into the last tournament, while Scotland have our beloved Andy Robertson with his aura of barely contained psychopathy captaining them. I’d be happy to see any of the British nations do well, but I’d particularly like to see an England team respond to racist booing from their own supporters by winning the whole thing and then taking the knee en masse before lifting the Cup.
Won’t happen, though. It’ll be France or Italy, I can just feel it in me waters,
Or Germany. Somehow.
@namekarB: UEFA is the only conference that can put up enough teams to make it look like a precursor to the World Cup. Not all 24 teams are solid, but having France, Germany, Italy (yes, Italy), Spain (yes), UK (I said yes!), Netherlands makes for a good show. Even the middling teams like Sweden that are good enough to pull upset wins over the top nations make a good event. Let’s not forget how far Croatia got during the last World Cup (actually this is just football, it’s ok to forget). All of this feeds into the UEFA tournament. Some may not stop at calling it a precursor to the World Cup, but rather a distilled version of it.
You simply don’t get that calibre of competition in any other region. South America is the first place you’d think to look for a good show and yet…For starters, the number of nations is so low they have to invite nations from other conferences (USA, Panama, Haiti, Costa Rica). And after that you’re basically watching Brazil against whichever nation happens to have a strong team that year. Argentina last won the Copa América in 1993! Even with Messi in their ranks the funk persists. Since 1993 there’s been two Uruguayan victories, one for Colombia, and two for Chile. The rest is Brazil (5).
During the World Cup Japan strives for a good show. Meaning, make it out of the group stage and maybe one day make it past the first round of 16. That’s it for the AFC’s top winner.
The same goes for the African Cup of Nations. During the World Cup you’re rooting for the region’s top winners (Egypt? Cameroon?) to play as plucky underdogs and beat the odds; to make it one stage further than expected. Which is well and good as b or c story arc in the World Cup. But then these underdogs are in fact the nations that dominate the rankings at regional conference level, so one realises that the tournament is not that good.
CONCACAF is esentially a doormat where Mexico and the USA wipe their shoes before moving on to the World Cup, where they are never favourites to reach the finals anyway. There’s lots of nations in that conference that love football/soccer. However, if Canada has managed to win the Gold Cup twice, then how tough is that conference, really?
In Oceania you remove Australia and New Zealand and you have a roster of nations with populations so small that the combined venues for any World Cup could seat them all. There are probably more Germans aged over 50 still playing soccer than the entire population of Papua New Guinea; and if the two sides fielded a team I’d bet on the older Germans.
It’s OK to not care about football. It’s also OK to not be good at football. It’s also OK to not watch football that’s not good.
@Tony Jay: YNWA. Please consider additional LFC commentary. We need to grow the Scouse Army here to more than you, Amir, and me.
I do not think any other sports team on the planet has had the combination of glory, tragedy, boardroom intrigue, and moments of pure miraculous joy that LFC has over the last 40-45 years.
I went Red in 2006. Oddly enough, I was drawn in by Crouchie’s Robot Dance. I picked up the real story lines quickly after that. Arrived too late for Istanbul, but just in time to watch Hicks and Gillett nearly bankrupt the club.
Unfortunately, I think the only way we get Mbappe is if he agrees to a reduced salary in order to fulfill his Champion’s League dreams. I also see us having to sell my namesake first.
@droog: Euro is for deciding who are the most handsome side. It used to be Spain. Italy not bad looking. Turkey has been the ugliest side before but couldn’t do much, I have hopes for Croatia. Gareth Bale is aging badly and so is Cronny. I did like the little car tho, hope they keep that up. Where can I get a Ukraine shirt?
@Royston Vasey: I am reminded of the movie The Man Who Never Was and the scene where Montagu (Clifton Webb) is asking a father to allow his dead son’s body to be used in the deception.
Montagu: I can assure you that this is an opportunity for your son to do a great thing for England.
Father: My son, sir, was a Scotsman. Very proud of it.
Montagu: I beg your pardon.
Father: Never mind. We’re used to that. You English always talk about England when you mean Britain.
I’m rooting for England and minimal diving in the Euros. England has plenty of talent (as a Villa fan, I’m excited to see Grealish on this stage) but Tony Jay ain’t kidding about how they’ve faded when the lights get bright and hot. France has the pedigree but is also in the Group of Death.
There’s always an underdog side who makes a run, it seems…I think it could be Scotland this year. But it should be a fun tournament.
Slava Malamud needs to learn a little more about history as the greatest Russian player, Lev Yashin, the Black Spider, is maybe the greatest Goalkeeper in history. Andriy Shevchenko, while a very good player (except in England) is not among the top-50 strikers in history. Yashin, as a 12-year old, started working in a factory during WW2. He is the only GK to win the Ballon D’or as the best player of the year and was voted the best GK of the 20th Century. His nickname Black Spider or sometimes Black Panther came from the fact that he wore a black GK uniform rather than the standard green and because of his style of play as he pioneered the modern style of goalkeeping
Gin & Tonic
At the moment, it looks like you can only buy one in Kyiv at the official store, or by mail-order if you live in Ukraine.
Istanbul, bloody hell. Watched it in a friend’s house and spent most of half time trying to convince everyone that 3-0 down wasn’t insurmountable if we took advantage of AC Milan’s quite understandable slacking off the pressure and just got one back. “They’ll shit themselves.” I said, and lo and behold…
Dortmund and Barcelona, though. Especially Barcelona. When that 4th goal went in I screamed so loud that even Messi heard me, and he was so deep in Fab’s pocket it took him three days to climb out.
Yeah, I’d be surprised if Mr Mmmm-Bop pulled on that red shirt next season, especially since Neymar’s contract extension specified him not going anywhere, but one can dream. We’re going to have to replace Wonder-Mo sooner or later, and if he wanted the huge payday of an exchange transfer to La Belle Paris… I’d be okay with that. He’s already earned legend status as a Red, I can see him wanting to end his career alongside someone like the Brazilian Ballerina.
@JML: England’s problem is that the players are often overrated by the press and they have a poor coach and mediocre GK. Much of the English press still think it’s pre-1953 and no non-Home nation had beaten England.
Hungary has the worst chance of getting out of their group. They are in the group of death and their great young hope, Szoboslai, is injured
Switzerland would be beating Wales if Seferovic could shoot on target
@billcinsd: I think England has plenty of talent on this squad, though. The question is whether they will a) field the team that fits best together vs the team with the biggest names/hype, and b) get any real tactical support from their manager. Southgate has his favorites and like many England managers really only wants to play one way.
But Euro 2020 should be fun.
@JML: Yes, England has talent, but they are overrated. Their central defense is mediocre and the goalkeeping struggles. That doesn’t mean they can’t win as most of the other top teams have flaws too
Just One More Canuck
@Splitting Image: As a Canadiens fan living in Toronto, the past couple of weeks have been schadenfreudelicious.
Switzerland 1-0 up against Wales. Cracking corner from Shaq and a simple header into the unguarded corner. It’s been coming. What can Bale and his golfing buddies do now? They really have to go for it, and with James having the beating of the Swiss right-back for pace I can see them getting one back.
@droog: australia competes in asia now.
also, calling it now: the strange & unfortunate & misbegotten qatar world cup 2022 will be the first won by an african side. (& first non-europe, non-south america win.)
1-1! What a bloody header that was from Moore!
But why take James off? His pressure and speed was one of the reasons Wales got back into this. Oh well, they deserved that. The Swiss need to find their tempo again or I could see Wales nicking this.
the blood in the water match did nothing wrong.
Switzerland make it 2-1, but that’s got to be offside! He’s a couple of yards off, surely
It’s off! Still 1-1
@Tony Jay: Well more like a quarter to half a body width off, but clearly off side
I think Gavranović may have set a record for having the most offside calls against per minutes played
I’m chopping leeks, so seeing it all through Welsh eyes.
Good point for the Welsh, this. Switzerland are a decent team, and it looks about 200 degrees out there.
@Tony Jay: Yeah, the Welsh will be much happier with the point as the Swiss outplayed them but the Swiss lack of good strikers was telling
Oh yeah, the Swiss had such dominance for 2/3 of the game they’ll be very disappointed they didn’t put 2 or 3 past the Welsh, but the Welsh keeper did his job, Wales eventually got going forward, and having all the possession means diddly-squat if you don’t give your goal-scorers enough service.
Denmark v Finland to come in the Skandi Clash, then hopefully Belgium will give the Russians a battering this evening.
I do like a football tournament.
@Tony Jay: amazing how the Swiss woke back up after the equalizer and started attacking again. That goal by Moore really sent a charge through the entire game.
Solid opening match, nice to see both teams keep going for it when it was knotted back up late; the way group play is structured, they could have easily settled back and just kicked it around for the last 15 and played for the draw.
Christian Erickson of Denmark has dropped to the ground in the game against Finland and its not looking good. You can see them giving him CPR but the players surrounding him are in tears.
Only 29 years old!
@Tony Jay: I hope this isn’t another Antonio Puerta or Marc-Vivien Foe situation. On-site treatment has improved considerably since those days so one hopes for Eriksen’s recovery
They were working on him solidly for over ten minutes while the Danish players stood in a circle around them crying their eyes out. The crowd are alternating between hushed silence and cheering to show their support. The coverage has cut away, with the pundits in the BBC studio obviously on the verge of tears and just shocked to their cores.
I really hope it’s not as bad as it looks.
@Tony Jay: it did not look pretty the way they carted him off the field. Looked like a draped gurnee, which is not how you’d transport a recovering patient.
There’s a photo out on Twitter showing him eyes open and breathing with oxygen as he gets taken from the pitch, but Sky are saying the photo hasn’t been verified and they’re waiting on confirmation.
I’d like to believe that no one would put out a doctored picture as a ‘joke’, but we know better.
ETA – UEFA are confirming he’s been stabilised and is in hospital.
Whatever ‘stabilised’ means in this context.
@Tony Jay: does this match finish today? How can the players on either team want to play?
I can’t see them playing it today. The players must be in shock and they’ll have half a mind on Erickson’s condition. Simple common-sense and humanity would suggest moving it to the end of the group stage period as the last game in that group, but there are media corporations involved, so those considerations may not be paramount.
@Tony Jay: Sounds like the plan is to finish the game this evening Denmark time, as the news is coming out that Ericksen is doing well in hospital.
@billcinsd: Evidently 4 minutes to finish the first half, 5 minute half time and then the second half starting at 8:30 PM Denmark time
@billcinsd: Evidently, this was according to UEFA, at the request of the teams.
@billcinsd: Also, Eriksen called his teammates before the game resumption
I’m shocked, but if they want to go ahead with it, good on them.
And as I say that, Finland take the lead!
I was thinking of Dortmund, Barcelona and the Allison header myself.