Life, Love, Sports and Politics: How Football Represents More than Just a Game In Europe

I will never forget getting my education on La Liga when I came to Spain. As a naïve foreigner I thought of rooting for the team closest to the region I was living in.  At the time I was living in Alicante and the closest team was Valencia. I became one of the few Valencia fans in the whole city of Alicante.


Apparently my enthusiasm and support of Valencia was foolish. The majority of the city was rooting for Real Madrid as any proper Alicantino would never be caught dead rooting for Valencia and what their team represented. I quickly came to realize that behind each team and fan base there was a larger political and hidden spirit. Soon I was able to map the teams and what each supposedly represented, but this was just the beginning of my education in the real game of football.


Remnants of Forgotten Glory


In the midst of one of the worst financial crises that the Eurozone has seen, the current Euro Cup has provided a stage for the best and worst that Europe has to offer.  As most former European empires have lost their glory the Euro Cup is a chance for all these countries to recapture a bit of that magic of yesteryear. Equal parts sport, pride and politics: the Euro Cup is a fascinating sociological study of the European content


The Thoroughbreds


Italy, Germany and France have consistently fared well in the tournament and in the midst of this financial crisis are looking to reemerge as winners. A win at the Euro Cup would mean a great deal in restoring national pride and patriotism despite the current economy.


You’re My Only Hope


Countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece are living under the stress of high unemployment, and the possibility of a complete economic collapse. For them the Euro Cup represents a chance to maintain at least one part of their storied past. All three countries are known for their bevvy of world athletes, brilliant and sometimes befuddling play.


A win at the Euro cup would in the very least bring joy and a sense of relief that these countrymen can’t find in any other facet of their daily lives.


For the love of the Queen and the Crown


Perennial under-performers England look to finally capture the one crown that has eluded them. The stress and frustrations of the country are always dumped fairly or unfairly on the national team and their results. No country would like to win this cup more than England, to restore a long-suffering nations many defeats and to honor its long-standing Queen on her diamond jubilee.


The New Iron Curtain


Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland are finally emerging as global economies after many years of soviet rule. This tournament is a showcase for them to show the world that they are back on the center stage. A win for these countries would not only restore national pride but could provide the impetus for more progress and development.


In Russia’s case the team is also fighting an internal battle among its fans as protests about the recent elections in the country have spilled over to the Euro Cup and protests have surrounded the team throughout their games. A win may help unite the country or at least prove to be a welcome distraction.


The Best is Yet to Come


In the second week of the cup the story lines and the moods of nations are changing by the moment. Only time will tell who the winner will be and what their overall effect will have. It would, however, take a true novice to think that the Euro Cup is just a game with no political and national repercussions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>