Euro 2016: Random Thoughts

I wanted to write a small post about the Euro 2016. Although football (or soccer) isn’t that big of a thing in the US, it’s one of the major sports over here in Europe and having an European Championship is almost on the same level as the World Championship here. I’m immensly sad this year that the Dutch team is not partaking in the cup, but this has allowed me to enjoy some of the matches without feeling prejudiced. Here are a few of my thoughts on the tournament so far.

  • The overall quality of the matches played is seriously terrible. The countries who should be “crushing” the opponent are playing bad or are countered by teams with a very disruptive playstyle. This makes the tournament very boring to watch. There is no spectacle, a lot of ties and if there is a win it’s a weird one usually not coming untill the last 10 minutes. I can honestly say this is one of the worst football tournaments I’ve seen in my life and I wonder what football needs to turn the tides.
  • Seeing as the Dutch team is absent I’m cheering very hard for the Belgians, our southern neighbours, since I think they deserve their fame. I do think they can make it a long way in the tournament, aslong as they improve their play as they go.
  • Having been to Lisbon a few days prior I feel very bad for the Portuguese fans. Their team is actually playing terrible and should be winning all the games in the group stage, since they severely outclass the other teams present. Especially Christiano Ronaldo has a very bad tournament, so bad even that he missed a penalty today which normally doesn’t really happen. In spite of this he shows off that he is actually a decent person by allowing a fan to take a selfie with him (the fan in question ran on the pitch, which is illegal!). To make time for your fans like that, even after you just played a very shitty game shows a lot of character and compassion. I know a lot of people label Ronaldo as arrogant and weird, but from what I’ve seen I feel like his heart is on the right place, especially concerning his fans.
  • Can someone please save Zlatan from the Swedish team? It’s getting really painful to watch such a talented football player being held back by his country. He is an amazing player, but even he has his limits and cannot carry an entire nation on his back untill the end of time. I personally think this might be his last big tournament and it’s going to suck so much if he goes out in the group stages.
  • Extending the tournament to 24 countries is something I’m still on the fence about. Ofcourse you can have more countries competing and it sees some teams battling for the cup who previously never set foot into the tournament. However I also feel like this has lowered the overall quality of play by a lot and it makes for a very bad experience football wise.

Honestly I wish I could be more excited for this tournament. I have a great love of football and seeing it turning into more of a chess game than anything else hurts my soul. I feel like the sport needs a big turnaround, not only on a nation team level but also on a commercial level. There is so much wrong in the European club competitions that I don’t even know where I begin to explain this. And it’s leaking through to the national squads, which is extra sucky. Anyway, we are at about 2/3rds of the group stages with a lot of important final matches. In a lot of the groups all of the countries still have a chance to advance. Let’s hope they’ll turn those decider matches into a spectacle for us to see.

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