We may not be at the end of the domestic season yet as there are cups left to play for in certain countries and competitions, however the 8th of June draws nearer with expanding anticipation as Poland and Greece, the first teams to play, will initiate the opening of the tournament in Warsaw.
Despite the optimism of the public (and it has to be said, the bookmakers), the common trend of major international tournaments is witnessing England exit much earlier than hoped, leaving children in tears and adults wondering why they bother in the first place.
Remember Euro 2008? Me too; and there are fond memories from that summer. With McClaren’s dull England exiting in the rainy qualifying match at Wembley beforehand, it made for a more enjoyable, relaxed tournament in Austria and Switzerland as secretly, many people breathed a sigh of relief. In simple terms, we were able to enjoy the high quality of football on exhibition to the world instead of stressing over England and their outstanding ability to let a nation down when it really matters.
With this past experience in mind, I will be disconnecting myself from all things promoting England this summer, due to their inevitable failure. However, I do wish Hodgson all the best as for once, the F.A seem to have used their brains when selecting a manager-plus; he is a respectable and creditable one at that. Maybe 2014 will be the tournament for England; as the late appointment of Hodgson and the inability for any manager to pluck up the courage to exile the experienced (or, in simpler terms, declining) players can only foreshadow yet another disastrous summer of results, as they will be called up as the jigsaw will hastily attempted to be prised into place. Don’t get me wrong here; I would certainly love to be proved wrong.
This brings me nicely on to what I will be doing come June 8th, which is overseeing the Spanish’s incomparable tiki-taka and the German’s rigorously dynamic, promising and engaging football. Looking at the odds, Spain (5/2) are undoubtedly and obviously favourites whilst Germany (7/2), have to settle for second. The way the fixtures are scheduled and structured mean that both teams could certainly meet in the final, just as they did at the previous European Championship. A solitary goal from Fernando Torres separated the sides in 2008; this time round, it appears it may be too close to predict who would prevail.
Presently, Spain are a squad who capture my imagination as much as anyone who has ever laid eyes upon them. Their finest player, Xavi, will continue to play the role of the protagonist, influencing and tweaking the play with his unlimited talent whilst his counterpart, Andrés Iniesta, creates space for himself and others in a way that bewilders defenders. With the added vision and passing of Xabi Alonso and David Silva’s magic, the midfield still seems untouchable.