Every two years the same thing happens: the whole country gets into an almost intolerable tizzy, flags are being waved, barbecues are being held, bigger TVs are bought, Beer consumption goes through the roof, hopes are held high, and in the end everybody gets deflated when Germany loses the final and England don’t make it past the group stage.
Here at Fordiebianco central we are prepared. It’s definetely the biggest TV we’ve ever had (21 inches), there is beer and Pimms, the sweepstake money has been paid but for obvious reasons we haven’t started to hang the Germany flag out the bedroom for fear of lynching by the natives.
The only problem I have is that I am likely not going to see a lot of return on my investment in the sweepstakes:
It’s a gorgeous day up here in Scotland, and the European Soccer Championship has begun. While I am writing this, Group B has begun to play, with Austria and Croatia hard at it. The big problem for the Brits and the Irish is of course to choose which nation to cheer for (btw, Croatia leads 1:0 via a penalty). While it would be obvious to cheer for your closest neighbours (The Netherlands, France or Germany) it looks like the UK has chosen Poland as its favourite footynation (no wonder, with half a milion polish migrants prepping up the economy). Apart from the general move towards the poles, each pub wil probably chose its own nation, depending on the ethnic mix of its neigbourhood, though I find it unlikely that a pub in Sutherland will suddenly sport a plethora of German flags and serve Weissbier.
Nevertheless, since the Worldcup in 2006 the tone in the red tops here in the UK towards Germany has become much more conciliatory. Must have something to do with millions of tipsy Brits having a smashing time in German town centers during the tournament. Which of course proves what Charlemagne, one of The Economist’s columnists once said:
Brussels is full of monuments to the “builders of Europe”. There is the Schuman district, the Monnet circle, the Spinelli building. It may now be time for a Stelios Square or a Boulevard O’Leary. For in recent years, Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Michael O’Leary, the two pioneers of Europe’s low-cost airlines, have done more to integrate Europe than any numbers of diplomats and ministers.
With dozens of European players featuring every weekend in the lineup of Premiership teams, it can’t be hard to find your favourite team. Maybe even distribute one team to every homenation? The Scots could prop up the auld alliance and cheer for the French, the English could swallow their pride and support a nation that doesn’t have a problems with penalty shootouts (e.g. Germany), Northern Ireland could pick a nation that has had an eqaully galling civil war, for instance Croatia, and the Irish could take up a hopeless cause, like Switzerland.
There. All sorted out. Now go get your drinkies, phone your friends and settle down in front of the TV, watch some footy and cheer for the Germans.