Euro 2012 guide for Aussies with no one to support
The Euro Championships is a feast of football, but none the less it a difficult time for some Australians. The time difference alone is enough to get the majority of Aussie football fans a casting call for the next series of The Walking Dead.
Many Australians have Euro-heritage, but for those who don’t, or at least, refuse to acknowledge it (yeah, I’m speaking to you, Pauline Hanson) it is tough to know who to throw your weight behind. But if you’re willing to cast your xenophobia to the wayside for three short weeks then here are a few tips for which colour you pompoms should be.
Greece: A team for the bludgers of Australia to get behind, as they are the only nation who sets the retirement age for the working population at the same level as it does for its athletes.
The working ethos of the Grekos is to try not break a sweat and do as little as possible, unless of course someone threatens to cut your pay and then it’s all protests, placards and a never say die attitude.
Fans of Matt Shirvington may also take well to this side, as rumour has it that their striker, Giorgos Samaras, is hung like the Greek parliament.
Czech Republic: A perfect fit for new fathers and other general peddlers of poor humour. The Czech republic are just a bunch of bad puns waiting to happen.
For starters, their goalkeepers name is Peter Cech. That’d be like up replacing Schwarzer with some headgear-clad bloke called Johnny Aussie.
But the fun can be had with all the players through obvious beauties such as “Czech him out”, when the weather turns bad you can offer a “they should really take a rain Czech” or my personal favourite to be used after a player hits the ground hard following an aerial duel, “Looks like the Czech just bounced.”
Sure, they’re not up to the quality of anything Arnold Schwarzenegger produced as Mr Freeze in the Batman and Robin, but which puns are?
Ice to meet you, new breed of Czech fans.
Republic of Ireland: They Irish fit the mould perfectly for many an Aussie. They hate the English, are a thirsty lot and when it’s time to finally sober up with a coffee, they stick a whisky in it. Genius.
One story that sums up the lads in green quite well, is centred around Stephen Ireland, a footballer who, apart from being a terrible liar, also appears to have his tastebuds located posteriorly (feel free to google his tats, cars and homewares).
Back during the Euro qualifying campaign of 2008, the ‘creative’ midfielder wanted to skip a crucial game to spend some time with his girlfriend who was going through a tough period. Rather than come out and say that, Michael Clarke style, Ireland thought it would be better to say his Grandmother passed away.
The Irish press were quick to think it may have been the Guiness talking and Ireland’s Granny was swiftly shown to be alive and well. Unperturbed, the Aston Villa man continued to spin his web of tasteless deceit by first switching his story from the death of his maternal grandmother to his paternal grandmother, then later to his Granddad’s new girlfriend. All three of Ireland’s ‘dead’ Grannies were still going strong and read about their own death in the Irish papers.
Let’s hope their planning for Euro 2012 is a little better than Stephen’s excuses when he wants a few days off.
Germany: So, their wartime history is chequered to say the least, but that is in the past and the only thing that chequered these days, is the flag that is being waved as they cross the finish line.
Yep, ze Germans are good. Damn good in fact. If you want to be on a winning horse this Euros, then get yourself a midnight pork knuckle, get the biggest beer you can find, hell, even grow a little moustache under your nostrils and stay up until all hours supporting the footballing powerhouse.
France: If you’re the sort of person that finds yourself reaching for a gossip mag while you’re on the loo, then perhaps France is the team for you.
They are never far from controversy, both on and off the pitch, and during the last World Cup the team even boycotting training by refusing to get off the bus as a protest against selection decisions made by the coach.
As an added bonus they have been known to headbutt or switch the game to European Handball at any given moment (look out for a fiery QF with the Irish if it eventuates).
Sweden: For a nation that is famous for leggy blondes whose names sound like a sonnet, it is curious that the Swedes would pin all their hopes of conquering Europe this summer on a second generation immigrant with a name that is tough to pronounce.
But they did just that and Loreen Zineb Noka Talhaoui came took the Eurovision trophy back to Stockholm and brought Euro glory to Sweden. So if tacky club beats and bad costumes are your thing, then Sweden is the team for you.
Time will tell if Zlatan Ibrahimovic has what it takes to in follow suit and deliver some real Euphoria to Scandinavia (a semifinal would suffice, the Swedes know their place) with their second success of the summer.
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