It’s July 1st. The previous three weeks have flashed by faster than Mario Balotelli in a school zone. Euro 2012 has reached its triumphant conclusion and England are standing on the shoulders of giants—champions of Europe.
As Roy Hodgson had prophesized in the build up to the tournament, why not look at Denmark in ’92 and Greece in ’04 as inspiration for his troops? Indeed, proving that 4-4-2 is not only very much alive but in fact the formation of choice if you stand any chance of leading a bunch of overpaid misfits to the promised land, England ground its way through six matches, scoring four goals along the way to cull a championship of excitement and panache. The fans are happy.
That is the point isn’t it? Actually winning this thing? We can lament the demise of attractive football on the international stage all we like, relegating it to the hideously ugly step sister with the ginger locks to the beauty of the Champions League, and… eh? Oh, right, Chelsea won the crown jewel of football playing a less than fluid version of the game. If you close your eyes and listen really, really closely, you can actually still hear the Chelsea fans celebrating.
Poor old Greece is the whipping boy for those anti-anti-footballites. “Oh, yes but when Greece won in 2004 they killed the sport” they cry. Crap. You do what you have to do given what you have. Otto Rehhagel knew he wouldn’t be able to go nose to nose or toe to toe with the likes of Portugal or the Czechs, but he knew that there was an alternative.
In the ideal world of course it would be great to see our team’s victor playing a swashbuckling style of attack, attack and attack, but sadly the recent edition of Barcelona only comes around once a lifetime.
Internationally, Germany is the most likely to carry the torch for ‘proper football’ and may well put a smile on the faces of the Football Gods, but I won’t be smiling. I will certainly have a respectful grimace, but not a smile. I am an England fan you see, and the fan boy in me means I will likely have to endure a emotionally painful three weeks. However, if the first two paragraphs of this prose actually come to fruition, damn right I’ll be smiling, to hell with pretty football.
Dutch fans will agree. If the 2010 World Cup final was a hint of what was to come from L’ Orange, and it actually works this time, huzzah! Italy? Well, duh. France? Oui.
I suppose I’m trying to throw the first punch, before the purists begin slagging Euro after we only see three goals over the first weekend of action.
It could happen, but it’s about winning the damn thing you see, the only people that care ‘how’ you win are those who don’t support the winning team, and let’s be honest, when you’re hoisting the champagne, who cares about them?