I know it’s sort of the done thing these days to come off all jaded about international football—surely, the club scene is where it’s at these days, man! Where you can have an owner who’s a wealthy fugitive arms dealer of vague post-Soviet origin, an egomaniac French coach who considers himself a genius and doesn’t care who knows it, three indentured Ivoirian teenagers at every position, six Brazilian sex fiends as attacking substitutions on the bench and that huge-headed German striker everyone bid for last summer, all for the entertainment of your fat-bastard fans who have Latin phrases they don’t understand tattooed to their forearms but either can no longer afford to go to the stadium or are under police ban from doing so…obviously, these are the conditions under which state-of-the-art football is played these days. By comparison, the international game is quaint.
Still, after the last couple of days, Euro 2008 looks pretty good, doesn’t it? We’ve got crumbling champions (Greece, Italy), fading dynasties (France), a bunch of goals, those bright orange Holland shirts, David Villa and Cesc Fabregas’ identical hair, and even a classic strike produced in the Sweden v. Greece game, of all occasions. Of course, it will probably all go to hell in the knock-out rounds, but there should be a few more days of decent entertainment in the thing.