I have often explained that I like to do sport, not watch sport. However, occasionally I do watch a bit. Because of that, you get to hear my opinion. And, I cannot promise not to do so again in the future...although maybe not...
Not-quite mid-tournament look at the teams in Euro 2012, from a casual spectators' point-of-view. Fro some reason, I have watched more minutes of this competition than past outings. I tend to dip into and out of broadcasts and usually read concurrently. Instant replay avoids missing the interesting bits.
Of course, I had my pre-judgements about each team and have formed opinions about current performances. At tournament begin, London bookmaker odds suggested Spain winning after beating Germany in the final match.
Spain. I usually enjoy watching Spain, but they have been disappointing.
Italy. Not pretty to watch. Prima donnas with a brutal defense. They like themselves.
England. Better than I expected, but still not brilliant (a word abused by Brits).
France. Better than expected, which is not difficult after their embarrassing performance in South Africa. They could win.
Russia. I had expected them to be better/to go farther in the tournament. No parade in Red Square for this bunch.
Holland. A nation currently considering mass suicide. Many inside and some outside the country had considered them a favorite.
Sweden. Usual unenlightened performance. It takes more than one great player.
Denmark. Sparks of quality play, but not enough.
Portugal. Also relying on one great player, but a bit better than Sweden.
Greece. I do not like their style of play, and my opinion is overshadowed by the country’s efforts to destroy the world economy.
Croatia. Team’s poor performance highlighted by idiotic fans.
Ukraine. What I expected. One national hero a team does not make.
Poland. Too bad they could not make the grade. I have sympathy for this country.
Czech half of Czechoslovakia. They are better at hockey.
Ireland. Do not have a chance at much other than rugby and sympathy.
And, finally, Germany. What can I say, which has not already been said. Germany is Germany. No matter what other teams do or do not do, Germany plods ahead in every tournament. The team is decent, but lacks the flair of Spain and France, the brutality of Italy, and admiration afforded many other teams. They could win.
One final note:
Because I am repulsed by the hype in English media before the game tonight, I hope England loses to Ukraine. This country are masters at before-game illusions and after-game excuses.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.