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Super Mario, Pirlo and an average England
|Sport||Sun, 01 Jul 2012||Tweet|
Euro 2012 draws to an emphatic close and the sights we have witnessed in the last few weeks are not too unfamiliar to us. England have yet again booked their early flights home, with their tails between their legs; Spain have comfortably cruised in to the final and the Polish had a good bash with cohorts of Russians. However, the road to the final has thrown some excitement our way. These are my picks of the tournament:
Italy: The Azzuri, under the management of the recently appointed Cesare Prandelli, have silenced all critics. Despite controversy of match fixing back at home, a totally revamped squad and a tough draw of matches, the squadra Italiana has performed magnificently. My eyes were firmly set on the incredible duo of Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli. The former was the team’s conductor, dictating every move and showing a master class in the midfield. The latter scored two phenomenal goals against the heavy machine of German football. He most certainly will be returning to Manchester as a hero and a new man, even if Italy don’t take first place.
The humble hosts: BBC Panorama gave us all a real scare a mere week before the first match. Europe shrieked in horror at the thought of Polish neo-Nazis and Ukrainian hooligans, but, I am very pleased to say, the Poles made sure the swastika didn’t lift its ugly face and the Ukrainians kept a real check on the violent extremists that every so often dominate the headlines of Eastern European football. The hosts have made Europe feel rather welcome, and a good tournament it has been too.
The English Crusade: Poor old England are at it again. Once more they have turned up to a major tournament fully expecting to lift the trophy. Well unfortunately delusion does not get you the gold. In my previous article I stated my high hopes for England, but it seems that I was entirely wrong - back to the drawing board, Hodgson.
Joachim Löw: The man simply hasn’t learned not to pick his nose, and then proceed to eat the findings, when there are dozens of cameras following his every move.
It has been a very enjoyable tournament and one that I have been delighted to comment on; what more can a fan ask for than good football and just a little bit of drama? The final is this evening and will air at 19:45 GMT on BBC1. Now, to finish on a comic note, here are some statistics gathered by the wonderful people at Sharp FanLabs England. In them, the Irsih seem pretty desperate and English fans prove that, deep down, they're all a bunch of softies.
Here are some other keepers:
2% of Croatians and Portuguese, and 11% of French supporters have named a child after a national team player, while only 5% of England fans have named a child after a player.
When asked 'How long would you give up sex in exchange for your team winning Euro 2012?' over half of the fans from stereotypical 'lover' nations, Italy and France, would not be prepared to give up sex for one single day to see their team win Euro 2012. 18% of Irish fans would have been willing to give up sex for at least one year in exchange for the title.
When asked, 'How long would you give up alcohol in exchange for your team winning Euro 2012?' The fans from the biggest drinking nations are the ones actually prepared to give up booze for the longest. 54% of Ukrainians, 50% of Russians, and 50% of Irish fans would give up booze for at least one year in exchange for winning Euro 2012. 1/4 of England fans would not be prepared to be parted from alcohol for one single day! As always, classic England.
Photo: © sports.sky.com