European Championships: do they matter or are they simply Glorified Friendlies?

9 Jun

Andrew Williams

So, the European Championships are here and in all honesty I’m not very excited. I don’t feel that same ‘buzz’ that I feel for the World Cup, a significant game in the premier league title race or fight to avoid relegation or even just a standard knockout game in the Champions league. All in all I’m not sure whether the European Championships actually matter that much or are they just glorified friendly games. 

Every football fan waits, dreams, expects of their team winning the World Cup. During World Cups the whole country comes to a standstill for a game, families crowd round small TVs waiting, expectantly, to erupt with happiness for when Wayne Rooney bags a 90th minute winner against the Germans to give us only our second victory in a major tournament. In short, during World Cup season a sense of patriotism flows throughout the country as people dare to believe. Yet, only days from the Euros in Poland and Ukraine the papers weren’t full of bold expectations about how well England will do but instead they’re still talking about which club Eden Hazard will be playing at next year, which in the grand scheme of things seems irrelevant compared to an international tournament. It seems to me that this country frankly doesn’t care about the Euros and that got me thinking, are we right not to care?

And the answer is yes. We are right not to care as the European Championships are only the bridesmaids, not the bride. They are like the GCSE mock exams. The teachers (UEFA) care a lot about them and tell all the students (the national teams) to try their hardest as they’re vital, whereas in reality everyone knows that the real thing’s in the summer (or in this the case the World Cup) are the only things that matter. You remember 10A* in the real thing, not in the mocks. In other words, what I am trying to say is that the European Championships are only a dress rehearsal for the World Cup; it is when teams are allowed to try new formations and tactics under the pressure of a (fairly) major tournament, it is a chance for the manager to see how far his team has progressed since the last World Cup and just in general see what needs to be done to challenge in two years time for the World Cup. Take us in England, for example. There have been many calls for Hodgson to play a younger side that will, or more probably could, challenge in two years in Brazil which implies that we would be happy to sacrifice this tournament for the bigger and more important picture, otherwise known as the World Cup. Thus, we can see that these European Championships are no way near to being in the same league as the World Cup.

Overall, these upcoming championships are fairly irrelevant in terms of results as all the fans, and in all honesty probably to Roy as well, and he would be delighted with 4 or 5 extremely good solid performances that can stand us in good stead for Rio in 2014 and the prerequisite qualifying matches. Therefore as the Euros are basically building blocks and a type of experiment, they are just glorified friendlies.

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