That’s right folks! Euro 2012, Europe’s biggest international soccer competition, will kick off this summer on the 8th of June. This year’s finals are being held jointly by Poland and Ukraine with the Final itself being staged in the Olympic Stadium, Kyiv.
Ireland will play out the group stage matches in Poland, and have been placed in a very tough group. It’s quite possibly the toughest group. After a very hard slog to get to qualify for the finals, we have been placed in a group with Spain, Italy and Croatia. Of course the fighting Irish will fear no team, but the boys in green will need to be on top of their game to finish in the top 2 of this group.
For those of you unfamiliar with the format of Euro 2012, there are 4 groups consisting of 4 teams in each. Each team plays the other once, with 3 points awarded for a win, or one point each for a tie/draw. The top 2 best placed teams in each group move forward to the knock out stages, where they are paired up against another team to play in a sudden death type competition, until the grand finale on July 1st, when one team will be crowned champions.
The Euro’s, just like the World Cup, are held every 4 years. With the European competition and the World Cup, there’s a major soccer tournament to look forward to every 2 years.
The Euro 2012 competition will be watched by millions of people all over the world. Soccer, or football as it is commonly called in many parts of the world, has taken incredible strides in popularity in the United States over the past 5 to 10 years, and this year it will be broadcast on the ESPN network. I’m sure many soccer fans in the United States will choose a team to associate themselves with, and I, of course, won’t be any different.
This year I’ll be cheering Ireland along wearing the latest home jersey which I picked up on my trip back home in April. Even though we’re up against some very tough opponents I have high hopes that Ireland can progress to at least the quarter finals of Euro 2012.
The great thing about sport is that it gets people talking. It gets us meeting up and having plenty of friendly banter, throwing out statistics about past victories over our rivals, and there’s usually a few jibes and taunts saved for match-day.
Whether you’re cheering Ireland along at this summers Euro 2012 campaign, or if you’re going to be wearing the colors of some other team, I hope you enjoy the tournament, and that we all have plenty of talking points throughout the 3 weeks of Euro 2012.
You can download a free UEFA EURO 2012 Excel Schedule and Scoresheet here. The document allows you enter in scores as they happen and calculates the table position of each team based on the input you give it. You can even use this template if you would like to create a Euro 2012 workplace bracket, of if you would just like to predict the winners of each game.
Who do you think will win the tournament this year? Where does your allegiance lie? Let us know in the comments below…
Euro 2012 – The Groups
|GROUP A||GROUP B|
|GROUP C||GROUP D|
|Republic of Ireland||France|