My money is on Netherlands
A non-football-fan asked me a few years ago to list the most prestigious football tournaments in the world in order of preference. Of course not everyone would come up with the same list for different reasons, but this is my list that I gave her.
Without a doubt the Fifa World Cup tops the list. It is the premier football tournament in the world and it would feature at the top of everyone’s list.
The Fifa Confederations Cup would probably come second for me; although it would be exceedingly close to the Uefa Champions League and the Euros. Come to think of it I may place the European competitions ahead of the Confed Cup, which can be rather colourless; but it does represent the world. I guess the frequency of some tournaments make them more attractive than others.
In terms of the Champions League vs the Euros: whereas the Euros feature many of the world’s top footballing countries, the Champions league – by virtue of involving the top clubs in the world – gives us the pleasure of watching top players like Didier Drogba and Sammy Kufuor of Africa and Lionel Messi and Pepe of South America.
Depending on where you live in the world, the Copa America would be way up there simply because of the flair of South American football. We all know that we never pay enough attention to it here in Africa.
Various European leagues unfortunately would feature ahead of the African Cup of Nations; depending though on which teams qualified. This year’s Afcon was particularly flat for some fans with the absence of teams like Cameroon and Egypt.
You know what; I need to stop comparing these tournaments because they each bring something really special to the table. Africa has the dance and the juju; South America the flair; Europe the quality and North America…well they bring the football that is clearly taught electronically first and then applied practically. Don’t laugh. In recent years it has been shown that it’s a method that works.
This Friday a festival of great quality football kicks off in Poland and the Ukraine and SuperSport will bring you all the matches live from 8 June until the final on 1 July Once you get over the racism and hooliganism allegations, which I wrote about in a local paper, the focus will be on the action on the pitch.
I already have my three favourites to lift the trophy; Germany, The Netherlands and defending champions Spain.
Spain have been consistent since they won Euro 2008. They went on to clinch the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and, unsurprisingly, have continued to dominate. They are ranked No 1 in the world and it’s no surprise that they’ve won all their recent friendlies.
Germany and the Netherlands on the other hand have been inconsistent, losing to Switzerland and Bulgaria respectively in recent days. However, these are two countries whose coaches and players rise to the occasion when it’s important. Friendlies are there for trial and error and I don’t expect the two countries to lose out to weak opposition in the tournament.
What will be fun though is the fact that Germany and the Netherlands are in the same group, so the contest between each other in the group stages will be one to watch. When the two teams meet, to me it will almost be like a final – okay a semifinal since the final needs Spain in it.
Now I pledge my Euro loyalty to the Oranje Army. There I said it. So y’all can have a go at me if they’re beaten. The Netherlands have some of the greatest footballers in the world and did reach the final in South Africa. They are often described as the greatest team never to have won the World Cup. I’m actually foreseeing a repeat of the World Cup final with the result going the other way – in favour of Bert van Marwijk’s men.
Football is more fun when you’re supporting a team, so if you haven’t already, go on and select yours now. Then let’s wait for the European festival to begin.
Sixteen teams, a host of superstars, two countries passionate about football and SuperSport to bring the matches right into your living room. Enjoy!