Opinion: Euro 2012 means entertainment for soccer fans
The summer of 2012 holds much for sports fans to look forward to. Of course, there is the matter of the Olympic Games which will grace London and gather the world’s attention around sport.
A likely lesser known competition amongst American sports fans is the European Football Championships (think a Europe-only version of the World Cup) which also takes place every four years, last being hosted jointly be Austria and Switzerland in 2008.
Euro 2012 (as the tournament is commonly known) will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine with the squads of both home nations competing against Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmak, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
Last time, Spain swept the tournament en route to their 2010 World Cup Championship win, with much of the same core squad made up of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars still remaining. Younger talent has since emerged outside of Spain’s two largest clubs, with Chelsea’s Juan Mata and Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Munian likely to make speedy runs at opposing defences.
Based on this year’s club season, Portugal once again seems blessed to have Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as their captain and talisman. After a career year in La Liga this season, many will be hoping Ronaldo can re-produce his strong form at Euro 2012.
Another of club football’s top performers this year has been Robin van Persie, who has already wrapped up the Barclay’s Premier League Golden Boot award, having banged in 30 goals for Arsenal this season, only the third time the 30 goal mark has been achieved in the PL’s existence.
While many sports fans will have their eyes fixed firmly upon London, soccer fans will be treated to Europe’s best talent on display at Euro 2012.