Had this lengthy “me and the european championships” post for a long while, and managed to not hit “publish” during the actual games.
Back in 2006 I posted my personal history of the world cups I’d seen, and it was high time to do the same for the europeans-only competition. And yeah, it would be good to actually update the world cup one as well. At this posting pace it is feasible to be completed before the 2014 cup in Brazil.
Anyway, in 2008 the red spanish machine took me by surprise. I had not yet completely fallen off the supporting the portuguese-wagon (the team was less Cristiano Ronaldo’s back then). Germans impressed with their far more enjoyable than usually-style. France sucked, as did Greece. And as a bonus, won the office pool.
In 2004, Greece’s anti-football won the day. And stole the triumph from the last hurrah of Portugal’s golden generation. Took third place in the office pool.
In 2000, France was in top form and very lucky. They effectively beat both the semifinal and final opponents with luck and some referee-supplied assistance. Wasn’t pleased. Can’t recall how I did in the office pool. Got a lesson on “why netherlands always loses” from a very distraught dutchman after yet another disastrous penalty shootout.
In 1996, the gravest loss was in the final. Olivier Bierhoff scored a golden goal against a very pleasantly over-achieving Czech team. Can’t recall much else, probably a thoroughly mediocre tournament, then.
In 1992, the Danes accomplished an impossible task. They were called into the tournament just before it started (on account of the Yugoslavia getting banned due to raging civil war), and went on to beat Germany in the finals. This was the last eight team tournament, but Finland hasn’t had success in qualifying even with the extended format.
In 1988, the Dutch were nothing short of awesome, and Marco van Basten’s goal in the final against Soviet Union stands amongst the finest I’ve seen.
In 1984, the French got retribution for the travesty of justice in the 1982 world cup. Michel Platini led his squad to a well-deserved championship. Spent most of the tournament at my uncle’s farm in Nivala, and the late night games were just the thing to enjoy on hot summer days. The only other recollection in addition to the dominance of Les Bleus was the brave danes, who ended up almost making it to the final, losing out to Spain in the semi-finals.
Of the 1980 games I have aboslutely no memories, even if I did pay attention to the world cup two years earlier. Maybe Horst Hrubesch’s ugly mug filtered out any recollections, or maybe I just wasn’t interested at all.
This year I managed to catch most games. But only fragments of most. Elmo’s maintenance sapped screen-time. And he wasn’t keen on watching at all, attempts to indoctrinate failed terribly, he either fell asleep while watching or started crying instead.