It’s hard to believe that the tournament’s final match is only a little over eight months away. The qualifying stage is almost over, as some third place teams still vie for a spot in the tourney’s group stage. For those who haven’t kept a close eye, here is where we stand after the ten qualifying games: the countries that finished at the top of the groups are the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, Germany, England, Northern Ireland, Austria, Italy and Portugal. The runners-up of the groups, who also move on, are Iceland, Wales, Slovakia, Poland, Switzerland, Romania, Russia, Croatia and Albania. Turkey found itself a definite “in” as the best of the third place teams, while other third place teams like Norway, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Ireland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Sweden and Denmark must all contend for the final four open spots in the competition.
Spain, Euro Cup 2012 winners, and Italy, Euro 2012’s runner-up, are both moving forward as group winners. That doesn’t come across as much of a surprise, but it leaves the possibility for some dramatic rematches. There is a lot going on in European soccer, from intra-national leagues to the Champions League to the Europa League. However, everything else seems to come to a standstill when it comes time to lace up the spikes for one’s country.
It’s hard to believe Euro 2016 is just months away. Why is this such a big deal for me? It’s a big deal because, as we near the tournament, I can hear the clock ticking closer and closer to the end of my undergraduate career. They’re two seemingly unrelated things, but the connection is not totally unfounded.
I remember that the finals of Euro 2012 took place over the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year at Fordham, telling myself that I would be a college grad the next time I would see a Euro Cup final. It was certainly an unnerving idea, but it was a long four years away. Now that concept is reappearing, and it’s no longer four years away. It’s months away.
Sometimes, sports games are just things to watch and turn off once they’re done. They don’t change your life drastically for the better or worse. Yet, I think certain sporting events play a big role in life.
Particularly, major events like the World Cup, the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics, the Euro Cup, the Copa America or any event that reoccurs with some time gap, make you think. If you think about the last time that event happened, and how much life has changed since the last time that event or tournament took place, it really adds perspective. A sport isn’t just something to watch, but a kind of ritual or reminder in a way. It’s a catalyst of sorts that can provoke self-reflection, and although some things might have changed, the desire to watch and be a part of that event remains constant.
Now, who says sports don’t have real life value?
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