A few days ago I read an article in El País by German philosopher Wolfram Eilenberger called: ‘The Best Version of Europe’. The piece went into to detail about the role of football and Euro 2020 and how it offered a mirror mage of the continent. This version of the competition has been staged in 11 European cities and the author finished claiming, somewhat ironically that a win for England would make many of their citizens somewhat less convinced about ‘brexit’ and would be instrumental in paving the way for a more positive and friendly view towards their EU neighbors. With Gareth Southgate's men still involved in the tournament, this premonition may come true.
Euro 2020 action
Since the publication of the article, it remains incredible to see how groups of fans have navigated swathes of the continent to support their teams, defying travel obstacles and those complications presented the the covid pandemic. In between, we've seen Manuel Neuer's rainbow flag armband which provoked a debate about sexual diversity with the subject a major taboo in places such as Russia and Hungary (amongst others). As for the action on the pitch, there have been some incredible moments and we're now left with four very attack minded semi-finalists who all play with a brazen and audacious approach.
The competition in my view has seen solid teams proving stronger than those with strong individual profiles and France is a fine case in point. 'Les Bleus' and their coach seemed to feel that by being 2018 World Cup winners, it was simply enough just to show up and victory would automatically materialize. You'll struggle to find a Ballón d'Or candidate among the four semi-finalists and I'd go as far as to say that all four sides epitomize the team game instead of relying on a big name player who can resolve issues single-handedly. With VAR being used in a more efficient manner, we are truly seeing a European Championship along the lines that Eilenberger alludes to in his recent article.