Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The mysterious eighth team

Avoiding EURO 2016: A self-experiment — Day Nineteen

Belgium thrashed Hungary. I don’t know by how much but I saw headlines such as ‘Belgium seriously signs in for the fight for medals’ and ‘Belgium’s captain: We could have won even higher’. So I am supposing it was by more than three goals, which for some newspapers is enough to call a victory ‘thrashing’.

Anyway, I hope the won’t go all the way, that would simply be unbearable. One of the usual suspects, I can bear, even France or Italy. But not Belgium.

France won against Ireland, as I wrote about a couple of days ago. And I know the Squadra azzura is through too, as they played against another usual suspect, Spain, and I read that Spain is out.

The remaining of the four usual suspects is the only one I would support: Germany. I am pretty sure they won their eighth-final against Slovakia, as I saw photos of a celebrating Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez, the latter being one of the most overrated strikers to have worn the white jersey. But apparently he does live up to this honour now in his (for a footballer) older days. Maybe it’s just me who never got over watching him scoring a hattrick in RheinEnergieStadion back in 2009 when VfB Stuttgart was a top team and 1. FC Köln was (once again) newly promoted.

Who I’d really support though, if I was in fact following the EURO 2016, and who everyone seems to be supporting now are the volcanic wonderboys from Lavaland. Yes! Iceland were the wizards behind the second Brexit within a few days, this time just in a football tournament. I had caught a liveticker displaying that they were up 2:1 against England, and this morning I saw a text from my best friend, an Englishman, reading: ‘Yes! Iceland hand out just punishment for Thursday! Great result!’


A close Polish source also told me in a slightly worried tone that Poland will play Portugal in the quarter-finals. I will know the outcome of that one by the honking or the silence in my street. Although I actually do not know when the matches take place. My guess is that today is a day of rest, which then leaves exactly twelve days till the final on 10 July. That is a lot for seven more matches. Could it really be that tomorrow is a day off too, followed by only one quarter-final a day until 3 July? That would make space for a two-day break before the semi-finals on 6 and 7 July and another two days’ rest before the final.

So who is through anyway. Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Poland and Iceland. But who is the eighth quarter-finalist? Truth is, I honestly have no clue. Croatia? Turkey? Who am I forgetting, or rather not knowing about?

I think it proves a certain success in my self-experiment to not follow the EURO 2016: There is even one of the eight teams still in the tournament that I do not know of! Let’s celebrate that by watching the highlights of another quarter-final, not at a European but at a World Championship, and not with a good outcome but truly one of the most exciting matches ever:

Oh, wait! Maybe Wales is through?? Despite voting to leave…

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