28 June 2021

Euros

In international football (American: soccer), there's a big tournament going on at the moment. It's the UEFA European Championship Finals.

We are presently through the group stages and into the knockout section of the competition. For example, last evening Belgium knocked Portugal out with a single goal scored by Thorgan Hazard. Belgium are currently ranked number one in the world but back in 2016,Portugal were the last winners of the tournament. Last night's game was played in Seville, Spain.

Here in Merry Olde England we await Tuesday evening with a mixture of hope and trepidation. Down at Wembley Stadium in London, England will be taking on Germany. We have a talented young team in which the chemistry hasn't yet fully gelled . Germany have a more experienced squad with some exciting young players. I am sorry to say that when the two teams meet, Germany have an annoying habit of  gaining the upperhand. In history, the two countries have met on thirty two occasions with Germany winning fifteen times, England thirteen times and four draws between them.

Surely this time, England will do it. English football supporters in the home country and around the world will be glued to their television screens when the match kicks off. We will be urging our lads on but well aware of the potential hurt that defeat would bring. To thousands, perhaps millions of football supporters around the world, our beautiful game matters more than religion. COME ON ENGLAND!

But...yes there has to be a but - the world is still in the grip of a deadly pandemic.  I am sure that I am not alone in feeling rather puzzled about the fact that the tournament has gone ahead. I feel the same way about other big sporting events such as The Olympic Games in Japan. Should this really be happening? Virologically speaking, is it justifiable?

So many players,  coaching  and medical staff flying around with V.I.P's, media folk and thousands of supporters. In Budapest, Hungary UEFA football matches have attracted crowds of over 50,000 on four separate occasions. That cannot be right especially when you consider that Hungary's COVID death toll is bigger than in almost any other European country - 3112 deaths per million.

I love football and want to see England victorious tomorrow night but when you stand back and consider what the coronavirus is still doing to humans around the world, you have to doubt the perspicacity of the decision makers who have allowed the UEFA Championship Finals to happen.

26 comments:

  1. Egland play Germany on Tuesday night YP. I think you were seeing if we are all paying attention. I hope England are victorious tomorrow night and people will raise a glass or two in the beer gardens of Merry Olde Engand!

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    1. No Dave, it's England that play Germany on Tuesday night - not Egland! To tell you the truth, I realised my error when I was making the tea and corrected it straight afterwards. COME ON ENGLAND!

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  2. At least the football teams are all supposedly in covid-safe bubbles, which is more that can be said for the VIP officials and corporate sponsors. One rule for them and Mr Hancock, another for us. We are decidely NVIPs.

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    1. Speak for yourself Tasker! I am an F.I.P.!

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  3. I presume "big money" is involved?

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    1. Not really. Our lads are playing for the nation they love .

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  4. Ugh...this football thing just goes on and on.

    I don't mind the idea of stadium gatherings quite so much now that there are vaccines. I know not everyone has been vaccinated, and I know the vaccines aren't foolproof, but at least we're in a place now where there's a medical "wall" to runaway infection rates.

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    1. I hope you will be watching England whup Germany on Tuesday night Steve!

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  5. The match tomorrow night may well be the only one I am going to watch this tournament, and you know what? I won't mind the outcome at all, because both countries are where I feel very much at home. Of course, having been born and raised in Germany, this is my "true" home, but England - and especially Yorkshire - is not far off.
    If I had the chance to go to any such big event, sporting or other, right now I would decline. I just don't feel at ease with so many other people around me. The occasional train trip (where everyone is wearing masks) already comes very close to overstepping the line to my comfort zone.

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    1. Will you be wearing your Germany football strip to watch the game or your England strip?

      I also would be rather uncomfortable about being in a crowd of 45,000. I am happier to watch the game on television.

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    2. Funnily enough, while I do own an England t-shirt and a Barnsley sweater, I have no Germany t-shirt. I could of course don my pair of red jeans, a black t-shirt and my yellow zip-up hoodie.

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  6. When your game matters more than religion, your game is your religion.

    I know that collective nouns are treated differently in the U.S. and the U.K., but on this side of the pond we giggle when we read sentences like “Belgium are currently ranked number one in the world but back in 2016, Portugal were the last winners of the tournament” and “Germany have a more experienced squad….”

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    1. Why would you be giggling? I don't get it! In the meantime please shout at the top of your voice, "COME ON ENGLAND!" Ellie will yell back: "What's wrong with you Bob?"

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    2. We would say “Belgium is” and “Portugal was” and “Germany has” which I’m sure sounds utterly wrong to you, but it sounds utterly right to us. Collective nouns are usually paired with singular verbs on this side of the pond, not with plural verbs. We also put periods inside our double apostrophes, but that is a different subject altogether.

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    3. Yes. British people would say that too but in the context of this blogpost there's a ghost word and that word is team. I would say Belgium is an interesting country but Belgium are a great team, Germany is famous for its engineering but Germany has a long history of success in major football competitions, Portugal was an important maritime force in the sixteenth century but Portugal were knocked out of the Euros by Belgium.

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  7. Bread and circuses. There's a long, long history of that.

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  8. I wasn't aware of the disturbing figures for Hungary. I'm of two minds on such large gatherings but I am inclined to suggest all large events should have been cancelled for this year at least. The comment above about collective nouns is interesting. I would say 'Belgium is...' but 'Portugal were...'. But if I was trying to be correct, I would say 'Portugal was....'.

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    1. I don't get this collective noun problem in relation to countries.

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  9. I'm not much of soccer/football fan but I am encouraged that both the Euro tournament and the Olympics are going on as normal, as well as hoops and hockey the playoffs here in the US. There's always a chance that there will be another outbreak, another variant.. but unless/until that happens, I say play ball! And Go England! :)

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    1. Play ball! Go England! And if more COVID victims are added to the death list, what the hell!

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  10. Last night the dog and I took our late evening walk around the neighbourhood. It was warm and many houses had windows open. In the distance I could hear screams and shouting, and as we approached one house it was obvious where the noise came from. I really thought someone was committing murder - such agonised screams! Then I realised it was (hopefully) something to do with the football, but not being interested, had no idea last night's game was played in Spain!
    I hope that tonight I'll just hear cheers of jubilation... there are quite a few Brits around here!

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    1. You should watch the game on your TV Carol - dressed in an England football strip, waving your little flag of St George.

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  11. I am long familiar with the football/soccer differences, but a question I can't answer just popped into my head. What do you brits call our (American) football? Surely you don't also call it football because that would just lead to confusion with international football. I won't mention our differences of biscuits and chips.

    I am somewhat still amazed when I hear of countries locking down still do to Covid. But I realize that other countries did much more to prevent the spread than America and we paid for our early release from this disease with hundreds of thousands of deaths. As to your blog topic, I have assumed that most olympic athletes, trainers and necessary personnel have long been vaccinated and so there is little risk of an outbreak other than among what few are allowed as spectators. Perhaps that might be wishful thinking.

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    1. The vaccine is never 100% effective and besides it seems that vaccinated people can still transmit the virus.

      I never use the term "Brit" to describe myself and have no idea who came up with that horrible word. Over here we always call your game "American football" to distinguish it from proper football. English folk hardly ever use the term "soccer".

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  12. I'm not much of a sports fan, and I don't understand the need to gather for games while Covid is still very much with us. And don't even get me started on the upcoming Olympics in Japan!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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