A few days ago, or Monday night to be precise, just about when I was preparing to attend one of the Sydney Film Festival’s screening, a message appeared on my cell phone’s screen. It was from my father back there in Indonesia. He asked a short question: “Hey, did you watch Euro’s match last night?”
And suddenly, I was paused for a moment, and thinking: “Oh, God! How can I forget? It’s Euro 2008 final tournament already!”
Yeah, you’re absolutely right! This is about the famous European football (soccer) tournament, or what is formally named UEFA Euro 2008. It’s now being held in Austria and Switzerland, in eight cities, involving 16 final round teams. Even though it’s basically an ‘European thing’, don’t forget, it’s the second biggest sports tournament on planet earth, after the FIFA World Cup. Similar to the World Cup, it’s organised every four years, while both tournaments only separated by two years.
And you know what? In Indonesia, regardless our national team are participating or not, or even whether we’re having a bad or a promising year on our national football scheme, people are always crazy about both tournaments. Yeah, we’re probably one of the biggest football-fans nations in the world. I don’t know now, but usually in the past, sometimes when these tournaments came, some minor ‘negative effects’ might come along as well, such as productivity decrease, domestic/relationship problems, occasional gambling, etc.
But again, you know what? I may say we don’t really care about those. 😀 Besides that they’re just minor cases, there were also things that can be regarded as positive impacts too. One of them is this ‘unique passion’, which is arguably considered as some kind of good distraction for our people, especially those who’s having hard times in the low-level economy life.
Anyway, back to the real topic, the reply I sent to my father that day basically was: “Well, I actually forgot it. But it’s mainly because people or the media here are not the same as us on this, since soccer is not very popular here. Also, I’m not sure if there’s even live match on TV. So, no, I didn’t watch last night’s game, Dad. Too bad. But I’m gonna check it out tonight.”
So then, I checked it out and pulled back my big interest towards this tournament. And I was so glad that Tuesday night, because SBS was actually broadcasting the match of Group D’s Spain v Russia. And of course, I really enjoyed the thrill of watching the action of the Matador’s young guns – especially David Villa with his hat-trick – which finally defeated the Russians with 4-1.
I don’t know if this question would be relevant, but is that means Espana is my favourite in this tournament? Well, indeed, they’re one of the strong teams, along with Portugal, the Netherlands and so on, but the clue to my favourite was my father’s initial question. 😉
Umm… let me just make it simple to avoid confusion here: it’s the Germany (from Group B). To be exact, they’ve been my favourite team since over a decade ago in every Euro tournament (but it’s a different case in the World Cup though). Too bad, after the first great win, on the second game last night they were defeated by Croatia who consequently became the 2nd team that has officially secured its second phase place following Portugal (of Group A). But they surely still have big chance. So, I’d still say: “Go! Go, panzer!” 😀
Anyway, for those who’s interested, the tournament’s info can be easily found almost everywhere on the net right now. But most useful and interesting information – including match schedules, standings, reports and every other thing – can be found on the official website. And the following are just part of the interesting info on one of their fact sheets, which can be viewed completely on this link:
- Some 8 billion viewers in all followed UEFA Euro 2004 on TV, a figure that is sure to be exceeded during UEFA Euro 2008.
- The operational budget for UEFA Euro 2008 amounts to EUR 234m (CHF 386m).
- 21,400 rooms in 408 hotels (220 in Austria, 188 in Switzerland) have been booked for the different target groups, making a total of 139,300 overnights.
- 5,000 volunteers are supporting the Euro 2008 SA staff during the tournament. Each of the two main host cities, Vienna and Basle, requires 1,000 volunteers, while 500 are needed in each of the other six cities.
- 4,500 extra trains will be in use during UEFA Euro 2008; 2,000 in Austria and 2,500 in Switzerland.
- By June 2008, Euro 2008 SA had a staff of 450.
- 100km of cabling has been installed for host broadcast operations.
- For the host broadcasting operations, 21 correspondents and 16 ENG crews will be stationed with the 16 teams and produce live reports and video interviews direct from the stadiums and training grounds.
- 30 cameras are covering the matches, including one helicopter.
(Note: Pictures courtesy of the UEFA EURO 2008 website)