Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Euro 2012: Part 1 of a 3 part preview

Originally posted at The Roar

We’re less than two weeks away from Euro 2012 Polkraine (Poland & Ukraine), and I am absolutely psyched. This is far and away the best tournament in the sports calendar.

A bit overstated? Just hear me out...

The World Cup is too big, too hyped and the quality is too diluted. I’m not dissing the importance of the Cup. I’m just saying it’s like playing Russian roulette with a Star Wars box set. Sometimes you’re lucky and you’re enjoying The Empire Strikes Back (Mexico ’86). Other times you’re stabbing yourself in the eye sitting through two painful hours of Jar Jar Binks and ‘Gooberfish’. Like 2010, where Argentina, Brazil, Italy, England, France and Portugal conspired to drop a steaming pile of crap on South Africa.

The Olympics are great, but there’s just far too much going on. Athletes you don’t know, playing sports you’re not familiar with, from countries you’ve never heard of. It’s sensory overload. Like getting pleasured by Paul the octopus, it sounds exciting, but between all eight arms trying to do their thing, you just can’t relax and enjoy the experience.

The Rugby World Cup is too small, the Cricket World Cup is too niche and the less said about the Rugby League World Cup the better. Unfortunately for me the International Dwarf Tossing Championships can’t be considered, having been controversially outlawed by the Dwarf Tossing Ban Act (2003) and opposed by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

So the Euro stands head and shoulders above its rivals.

Most sporting competitions are like beauty contests featuring Kim and Khloe Kardashian. Under the influence of far too many jaegers you might be tempted to give Khloe the high score. But nine times out of ten Kim’s getting the thumbs up. It’s usually fairly easy to pick the winner.

The Euros are different. The level of quality is far more even, so while there might not be as many Kim’s around, there are definitely far fewer Khloe’s. And every man will tell you, the less Khloe Kardashian the better.

Just look at the opening stage groups:

Group A
Czech Rep.      
Group B
Group C
Rep. of Ireland
Group D

All teams are evenly matched, every game is important, every result matters. Anyone who claims with confidence they know which teams will progress, much less who’ll win the tournament, has been taking honesty lessons from Craig Thomson.

Consider the pedigree of the participating teams:

Spain: European, world and intergalactic champions, having just defeated the mighty Vulcan’s. They’ve won just about everything available. Everyone’s favourite
Germany: Like Jason Vorhees, they keep coming and coming, even after being killed for the eleventh time
France: Sacre Bleu! What a turnaround after dumping a massive team turd in the World Cup. Currently the hottest team on the planet
Italy: See France...just not as hot. With strong Juve representation, always a threat to ‘influence’ the officials
Portugal: Ronaldo scored a thousand goals to lead Real to La Liga. Plus he’s got the best hair and abs in world football. That has to count for something right?
Polkraine: Host nations are always a threat to be carried on the wings of home town expectations. Especially when you factor in the copious amounts of shonky vodka and home cooked pork available to their players
Denmark, Russia, Czech Republic and Greece: All previous Euro champions. Two during the Cold War (Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia), one (Denmark) who didn’t even qualify, and Greece...the flukiest bastards in the history of world sport
Sweden, Croatia and the Irish: A Swede, a Croat and an Irishman walk into a bar...if anyone knows a good punch-line tweet me @aco226
England: Familiar with wrestling? Remember the lesser half of the British Bulldogs, the Dynamite Kid? All bark and no bite. A real fan favourite who brought high energy into the ring, until he got tossed out on his arse. That’s England  

England aside that’s a murderer’s row of teams.

Realistically all that’s missing is the colour usually provided by Brazil ( and Argentina (

I’m sure the Swedes and Portuguese will do their best to compensate in their absence. But the dark moustached Greek girls, together with those sunburned Essex girls, missing teeth and all, will conspire to ruin it for everyone.

Bring on the Euros!!!


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