This, perhaps, was not the new Europe that the leaders of the continents nations had envisaged when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in November 1989. The years between the European Championships of 1988...
Half way through the opening set of fixtures then, and we’ve already seen two of the semi-finalists in action. Only Germany have really looked good enough to be worthy of it so far, but the lower half of the draw contains more big guns, with favourites Spain and Brazil, not to mention holders Italy, all to come shortly.
And then there’s Holland. They looked very good through an admittedly weak qualifying group, and even come to the World Cup as Unofficial World Champions, but no one seemed quite sure beforehand whether to put them as a good outside bet or right up there with the favourites. And I’m not sure this performance really helped us much. They won, and comfortably enough in the end although that was by no means a foregone conclusion at half-time, but they didn’t really set the heather alight or show the same sort of class as Germany had against Australia yesterday evening.
With the 2010 FIFA World Cup now just four weeks away, you should by now be able to visualise those wretched pull-out “Come On England” St. George’s flags which come free with The Sun, slowly yellowing at the edges in living room windows up and down the land until mid-September. Nevertheless, we at Twohundredpercent will instead continue to focus on the football. With that in mind, we sent Dotmund on another fact-finding mission with little else than a media badge from the 2006 World Club Championship in his pocket and a dream. Today, he looks at the colourful and exciting Group E.
For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.