Did you ever have one of those nights where you wake up with a thought in your head that just won’t go away? Welcome to 4:00 AM: “Why am I enjoying the Euros more than the World Cup?” I think it comes down to two words. Size and geography.
With only 16 teams I can get my head around the whole tournament without suffering from graphical overload. I know the positions and possibilities of all the teams, which is truly amazing. It is unfortunate that the European Championships will be expanding to 24 teams next time around. For me, that is a prime example of more not necessarily being better.
The limited number of matches is a good thing. I do not have to give up an eternity to follow the Euros. Two matches a day in a good time period means I can easily watch both (yeah, I’m retired) and still get other stuff done during the day. There are no scheduling conflicts until the last match of the opening round. Three weeks and we’re done.
The competition has been very good. I certainly feel I know who the strongest and weakest teams are, but I don’t see any walkovers in the field. Each match has had an urgency for both teams that I certainly don’t remember in the World Cup. Having 24 teams in the Euros next time may destroy that. Are there actually 8 more teams we would want to see in this year’s tournament?
It also helps that I am a Premier League fan and many of the teams and players are already familiar to me. Even a small country like Croatia has multiple players I already know. Beyond that I am familiar with many players in the other European leagues simply from proximity. Here on EPL Talk, those leagues and players are frequently mentioned in articles and commentary about transfer possibilities and general chatter about league quality. I miss that familiarity during a World Cup, although I do enjoy discovering new players/teams.
The fact that the Euros are limited to the contiguous continental teams also adds a degree of interest that is missing from the WC. Many of these countries have a history of collaboration or rivalry that goes back centuries. Regardless of how those feelings stand today, you know that after every each and every match there will be fans somewhere saying, “Take that!” (among other things) with just a bit more relish than usual.
So, there you have it. That’s why I’m enjoying the Euros more than the World Cup and now that I have that off my chest I’m sure to have a better night’s sleep tonight. That is, as long as Ireland beat or tie Spain.
I know, I know. Could be another long night.