Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm a 2008? Euro 2008!

..who am I to argue with an asparagus, particularly one that's so articulate?

***

The presence of car flags and the sound of Torontonians exaggerating their accents can only mean one thing...Euro 2008! On Friday it was "My grandpa was born in Portchoo-gall, eh". On Saturday it's "Por-TOO-gull, Por-TOO-gull". I don't recall using the words "Crikey" or referring to beets as beetroot when Australia was robbed by a flopping Italian during the last World Cup but, hey, that's just me. If that sounds a tad bitter well, it is. England, the team I support, did not qualify for this year's tournament. Their failure is, however, quite understandable as this year there are two host nations that received automatic bids. That left only 14 spots for other European squads. Its a lot to ask a team to qualify under such restrictive circumstances. After all, England isn't alone amongst great footballing nations in failing to make the cut. Moldova, San Marino and Luxembourg also fell short. As such, every mention of this tournament is a painful reminder of England's shortcomings and long history of disappointing performances. Watching the games is like being forced to watch your high school prom on TV because you had no one to go with and were too stupid to graduate. So, I will avoid it altogether. If I really want to see some soccer there are two leagues that play at the park near my house. One is for 6-8 years olds and the other is a middle-age lesbian league. While the skill of those two leagues may not be up to par with what is on display at the European championship at least they'll be far less crying, diving and fake injuries. Besides I wouldn't be surprised to see a handful of these players from Euro 2008 at my local field once the tournament ends.



The ladies of Churchmouse and Firkin United will be getting some much needed depth in about a month.

Given that I will probably cave at some point and start watching I should prepare myself. I will need a team to support. Unfortunately its much easier to find a reason to root against most of these teams as opposed to rooting for them. To start with there are the historical/political conflicts to consider. I'm of course looking at you, Spain. Lest we forget the Turbot War in whatever year it was that happened. Then there are traffic considerations. The sooner Greece is out the better when it comes to Danforth gridlock. The same logic could be used to eliminate Italy. Also, I have both a Greek and an Italian brother-in-law so I wouldn't want to play favorites. Its better that I hope they both lose. There are rivalry issues. Portugal has found a way to knock England out of their last two major tournaments mostly through the type of conniving and cheating that fans of 1980s WWF villianry would be familiar with. That being said, Romania has also pushed England out a couple times. In fact, ruling out teams based on them beating England would eliminate most everyone. Choosing a team based on who doesn't dive and whine would leave equally slim pickings. My sister-in-law's boyfriend is Croatian so I wouldn't have been adverse to throwing my support behind them. The flopping and rolling I saw this weekend quickly ended those hopes. The host nations are both awful and have no business being in the tournament so "auf Wiedersehen" to Austria and Switzerland. They are the coach's sons of Euro 2008. Russia doesn't need my help with the price of oil being where it is. I'm sure the Bingsheviks will have a few refs in their pockets and that's not something I can condone. One of my wife's favourite uncles is from Germany and I'd been fine to cheer alongside him but they're the favourites so I don't want to be viewed as an opportunist. There's a friendly Turkish fellow that works in my office but my Armenian uncle would never forgive me if I supported Turkey. Ironically my uncle loves Turkish delight though he's not such a big fan of the Turks. France, thanks but no thanks. It's the summer so I presume half the team will start their 9 week vacations making it difficult for them to compete at this level. That leaves us with Holland, Sweden, Poland and the Czechs. No offense Poland but you're not very good and an I saw an edisode of Real Football Factories about your fans scared the Hell out of me. The Dutch? I never know what to call them. The Hollandish? Netherlanders? Dutch-Americans? Until you can streamline what you call yourself you can count me out. So its down to the Czechs or the Swedes. Hmmmm? The Czechs have the better beer and the Swedes are responsible for weekend trips to Ikea. That's a quick 2-0 lead for the Czech Republic. Unfortunately for my český friends its not enough to overcome this...





Sorry Czechs but Mats beats Mullet every time. Go Sweden!

1 comment:

Dominic Bugatto said...

Too funny .

Only you could write a post about 'Footie' and sign off with a reference to the Leafs.