Euro 2020 (actually Euro 2021, but the merchandise had already gone into production)
On Friday 11th June, Euro 2020, kicks off, albeit a year late. It is a month-long football competition to find the best national team in Europe. After a 2-year qualification competition, involving 55 European teams, 24 countries will now fight it out to be crowned Champions of Europe. The competition is held every 4 years, with Portugal the current holders of the Henri Delauney Trophy.
So why do you guys call it football, when it’s not football, it’s soccer?
The name comes from the action. You kick a ball with your foot, hence, ‘foot’ ‘ball’. This is not to be confused with the other football, or throwball, where you throw an egg-shaped ball (rugby ball) and run into each other, at speed, whilst wearing helmets and very tight pants.
Whilst we are on the subject, rugby, which also uses an egg-shaped ball (rugby ball) is actually named after the town of Rugby, where a chap called Webb Ellis, who attended the very exclusive Rugby Boys School, picked up a football (real football, you know, the round one) during a game of football, (soccer), and ran with it. The sport of rugby was born. Rugby is where you run into each other, at speed, without helmets and sometimes without pants.
To participate in rugby, you have to be brave, stupid, and slightly mad. Those who participate in rugby are known as ‘egg chasers’.
The word soccer is an abbreviation of the word ‘association’, as in Football Association, or FA, the governing body of Football (soccer) in the UK.
So hopefully that clears up any confusion regarding football, soccer, throwball and egg-chasing. You say football, we say football. Let's call the whole thing off.
The football (soccer ball, yep, still confused) itself, was initially made from an inflated pigs bladder, and men would compete against other towns and villages, where the inflated pigs bladder was kicked toward goals placed at opposite ends of the town. Whole communities would come together to observe the brutal, often violent, game of ‘pig bladder ball’ (soccer).
The injuries were severe, and it was a very dangerous sport to participate in. Especially if you were a pig.
Broken bones, concussions, cuts, gashes, sprains, strains, and automobiles were commonplace.
However, Football soccerball pigsbaldderball has come a long way since, and is now the most popular sport in the world (sorry basketball, baseball, American football) with an estimated global following of 4 billion people (basketball has 825 million, baseball 500 million). 210 countries have their own league, and every continent has its own competition. Over the next 4 weeks, it is the turn of the Europeans. If you want to impress your football (soccer) loving friends, here are some tips:
●The offside rule is unexplainable. If you ask someone to explain the offside rule, especially in the middle of a game, borrow an American Football players helmet. Objects will fly!
●Some players, when tackled, will act as if they’ve just been shot (think Platoon). Don’t worry. They are ok. A hairdresser will rush onto the pitch to repair any damage.
●France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Holland are all very good. Holland wear orange. Nothing rhymes with orange.
●Scotland are known as The Tartan Army. There is no such thing as tartan paint.
●Wales have a beautiful National Anthem. You will cry when you hear it sung by thousands of hairy men. And women.
●England always think they have a chance, but usually get knocked out in the opening rounds. We can then go back to moaning about the weather.
The one huge similarity between Football (soccer) and American Football (not soccer), is that to enjoy it to its fullest, you must have a table of food. And your team colours. So, drop into The Queens Pantry, where you can pick up your pies, crisps, breakfast goodies and lots of snacks to make the next month even more enjoyable!