The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Euro

I'm in Scarberia this week visiting family. It's a little boring, but my 19 month old nephew keeps us busy.

I'm looking forward to the kickoff for Euro 2008 tomorrow. The tournament is not as attractive or global as the World Cup, but given the international dearth of soccer, especially in this part of the world, I'll take it.

Not many soccer fans I know are particularly excited about this event, probably because no teams look particularly impressive. I've already chatted with a couple of friends, and we have made some predictions.

My friend, J.C., argued that Portugal and Germany will both do well, and Spain may finally do something. I'm inclined to agree with this assessment: I think Portugal is by far the best team this year; Germany is decent, but not championship calibre. Spain has the best team they've had in years, and they finally have a good striker in Torres. I doubt they will win, but they may get far this year.

My friend Jamie suggested that Russia will be the dark horse of the tournament. No one has payed attention to them: they've been quietly preparing with Guus Hiddink, one of the most successful coaches in soccer history. They may very well surprise by getting far, something they have not done in ages.

In addition, I have a feeling that one of the hosts, Austria or Switzerland, will surprise us. Granted, neither team has a particularly illustrious record, but host countries typically get farther than expected. Austria lacks experience at the international stage, so my bet is on Switzerland to make it to the semis.

Neither Italy nor France will do much this time around, and I think the Czechs will be disappointing.

But who knows?


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