Photo © 2012 AFP/AAP/Yuriy Dyachyshyn
On June 8th, the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament will begin in Poland and Ukraine, kicking off three weeks of epic football surpassed only by the World Cup.
Sadly for Australian sports fans, the Henri Delaunay Trophy is one piece of silverware that the Socceroos will never win. Instead, all over the country, people will look to their own heritage to choose a team to support.
But what if your lineage doesn’t lead you to any of the teams that actually made the finals? Almost half of Australians aren’t ancestrally represented by any of the sixteen teams that will be playing, so how do we choose a side?
Well, not all reasons have to be football related…
In Group A we have the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Russia.
The Czech Republic has been really supportive of Australia’s arts industry, featuring many Aussies at arts festivals. Not to mention giving us the delightful Annalise Braakensiek.
Greece, on the other hand, has still not apologised for The Kings Of Mykonos. However, if the Blue and Whites DO win some silverware, they’d probably be forced to sell it to us cheap. [Cash only.]
Poland is only Australia’s 55th largest trading partner, but it’s what they buy that endears them to us: booze and medicine. They get on the Aussie Cab Sav, then recover with a Herron the next morning. Onya Poles!
Russia – They sell us oil, we sell them beef. It’s a decent system, unless you’re an environmentalist. Russia, however, do deserve some love for having the wackiest entry in Eurovision this year:
Photo © 2012 AP via AAP
Yes, they’re all grannies and yes, they all do fit inside each other for easy storage.
Group B – Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Portugal
Netherlands – When the Dutch migrated to Australia after WW2 they had a pivotal hand in setting up the FFA, so it would be rude not to support them. Especially considering Australians who go to the Netherlands just sit in coffee shops... staring and giggling.
We gave Denmark a Princess... what have we got in return? Nothing! I swear I would be very anti- the Danes if they didn’t have the best nickname in the competition. Their manager is Morten Olsen, so the team is currently known as Orsen’s Eleven.
Germany is Australia’s best trading partner in the competition, and the Socceroos coach is German, so why would we not support them? Oh yeah... that. Come on. It was ages ago.
Portugal In Christiano Ronaldo, they have one of the most handsome players in the world. He consistently wins “Best Looking Footballer” polls. Are they parading him to try and distract us from the fact they have one of the least sustainable fishing policies in the world? They are wreaking havoc in the Mediterranean, pushing cod to extinction. In protest I intend to boycott all Portuguese products, right after I finish this delicious Oporto Bondi Burger.
Group C: Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Croatia
Italy – one of the greatest cultures in the world, which over a million Australians claim as their own, including Natalie Imbruglia, Ron Barassi and The Project’s own Paul Bongiorno. Italy also contributes well over $1 billion to our economy. They truly are wonderful people and a great friend of Australia. However, we must mention that THEY CHEATED IN THE ’06 WORLD CUP!!! THAT WAS NEVER A PENALTY!! SHAME ON YOU, YOU PATHETIC DIVING CHEATERS!!!!
Spain are red hot favourites, since they won Euro ’08 and the 2010 World Cup. Spanish teams have also won six of the last ten Champions Leagues. Snore! Boring, next winner!
Ireland, by comparison, have never won anything. Not even a civil war. Okay, maybe a few drinking contests and the odd Eurovision. We probably don’t want them winning anyway, as they currently import about $25 million worth of Guinness into Australia each year and if they won they’d probably drink it all.
If Croatia win they may be so busy celebrating they forget to import all that produce from us. Oh hang on, they barely do that anyway! Croatia are ranked 164th in the world for Australian exports. There are only 196 countries in the world, meaning Croatia are a slightly better trading partner than Narnia.
Group D: England, Ukraine, Sweden and France
Ukraine – host country. In the interest of transparency it’s worth noting that this writer’s fiancée is Ukrainian. However I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that all Ukrainians are ridiculously good looking. Don’t believe me? This (left) is Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine. Not a beauty queen, but a politician.
Yes, you’re right: she is half Princess Leia, half Buffy, well spotted!
Speaking of gorgeous people, Sweden are a good friend of Australia in trade and tourism. However the Swedes did knock the Matildas out of last year’s Women’s World Cup, and sour grapes make the football world go round.
A lot of Australians will support England as their team, because we know most of the players. This is offensive to us as a nation, and to the English as well. England are our greatest sporting rivals, be it in cricket, rugby or even Quidditch, so you cannot support England. Even though we are forever in their debt for what they have done for us (by which I mean, obviously, taking Peter Andre away).
Finally, France. I say support the French. It will annoy the English.
Follow Danny McGinlay on Twitter at @dannymcginlay
For more lazy guides to football, check out Danny’s Football Bluff!