The Euro 2012 Tournament Starts this Weekend-ESPN Will be there for all of the Matches

The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship aka the Euro 2012 starts today to see which national soccer team will emerge victorious in the 14th European Championship which sees 16 nations vying for the title. In the next championship, in 2016, the field will expand to 24 teams.

Aside from bragging rights the winner gets something much more substantial, an automatic entry into the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup that will be held next year in Brazil. The event, which will carry on for the next month will see matches held in eight cities sprawled across two nations-Poland and the Ukraine.

While I enjoy a good match I am really in no position to predict who is a favorite or which teams are the top ones to follow. I would suggest heading over to The Big Lead and look at Ty Duffy’s body of work on the subject.

The tournament has had a touch of scandal currently, with the continued growth of the match fixing scandal in Italy, something that initially helped kill that nation’s bid for the tournament and now sounds like it might have killed the national team’s chance of participating.

A few days ago the Italian team captain, Cesare Prandelli said it would not bother him if the team was withdraws from the event due to the scandal, which has been ongoing since 2006 in one form or another. There were 14 arrests last month and a player was dropped from the squad. As of this writing it has not happened.

In addition the BBC has reported that racism and neo-Nazis could be a problem and that former England team captain Sol Campbell is advising English fans to watch the matches from the safety of their home. And last but not least there are reports from Fox Sports that the jerseys sold at the matches contain toxic chemicals.

The Finalists
Group A
Czech Republic

Group B

Group C

Group D

The official site for the tournament is well laid out and carries a lot of current and past information, including how the teams did in the recent batch of friendlies, videos, photos, past history of the event, updates from team camps and general news.

There is the usual data on teams and when the event starts statistics will start to fill in on each game. What I like is that there is a number of games in the fan section where you can make prediction on who wins their group, who will win the Golden Boot, and other events

ESPN has taken the soccer broadcasting bull by the horns and will be broadcasting all of the matches, spread out across the ever growing network of channels and outlets that it owns. It has been working to make itself a much stronger player in the soccer broadcast world and so far it seems to be paying off.

This will be a real test to its commitment and I am looking forward to watching as many of the matches as possible. I will also be interested if I hear anything about this event from a number of friends who suddenly became soccer fans when the US Women advanced in the World Cup but had never mentioned the sport prior or after to me.


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