Sunday, June 08, 2008
Euro 2008: Daily ramblings - Match day 2
It’s amazing how quickly this tournament is becoming a major event in the eyes on the Canadian media. Go back just 12-years ago and it was a battle for the soccer fan to find information on it. The Internet was not yet where it is today and coverage in Canadian papers was reduced to wire gamers. However, much of that 1996 tournament could be found on television—a cheap programming option for networks desperate for properties. Coming only two years after USA 94, the sports momentum continued to grow to the point that now the Euros are a desired property, rather than filler programming.
The Canadian soccer fan used to wonder whether he or she would be able to find the games on TV. Now, it’s just a matter of what channel.
Accordingly, many of the major Canadian print publications have reporters in Europe for the championships. In an era of diminishing journalism resources, that’s telling. It took a while, but it appears that Canada (or at least Southern Ontario, the engine that drives Canadian media decisions) has recognized the Euros for what they are—simply the best soccer tournament in the world.
Yesterday, the G&M’s Stephen Brunt took in the Switzerland/Czech Republic game, while Sun Media’s Morris Dalla Costa was in Geneva for the favourite Portuguese game against Turkey (which would have had a massive following in the GTA).
The coverage in Canada has gotten so good that you almost don’t have to look beyond any longer. Almost. If you are a fan and you aren’t reading the Guardian you are missing out.
It must be said that the football was a bit disappointing in thew opener. Switzerland picked up where it left off in the World Cup by playing a tight game with no finish. The Czechs didn’t deserve to win based on the run of play, but sport can be cruel. In the end, Vaclav Sverkos (who looks like a guy you wouldn’t want to piss off) took advantage of what was given to him, with Petr Cech and the referee making sure that one was all that would be needed. The Czechs got a way with a clear hand ball late.
Portugal was brilliant. Ronaldo looked dangerous each and every time he touched the ball, with the Turkes acting as a mere punching bag in the one sided affair. Portugal may very well only have one trick, but what a trick it is. It’s just too bad the sight of it makes most grown men want to lash out in violence.
Today, group B kicks off in Austria. The co-hosts will attempt not to embarrass themselves against Croatia, while Germany and Poland go at it. Apparently the Germans and Poles don’t get along. Wonder why….
Prediction: Croatia 1:0 Austria; Germany 3:1 Poland