Here it is. A year after it started, stadiums only partially occupied by fans and at least one of the favorites already sweating out a possible coronavirus outbreak, Euro 2020 finally gets underway in Rome on Friday .
It has not been an easy road to date for UEFA, the organizers of the competition or the 24 teams that have qualified. Most of the players determined to represent their nations are coming off the back of a long, narrow season that can affect their level of performance in the next month.
Meanwhile, concerns still remain that the coronavirus pandemic, and travel restrictions across Europe to try to slow its spread, could still force the relocation of at least one game. Spain has had to call out a separate, shadow squad of players after two of its first-choice squad tested positive for the virus.
For all the chaos and all the exhaustion, however, the first game – Italy’s meeting with Turkey – brings with it a remarkable flicker of excitement, which trumps logistical concerns.
Italian players were taken to Rome on Thursday night by a specially decorated train. The opening ceremony at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital is believed to bring back fond memories of the 1990 World Cup, the country’s last major tournament. And Belgium and England, two more favourites, are set to play over the weekend. It’s been a long wait. Hope, now, it was worth it.
In Germany, Toni Crosso Germany missed the start of preparations After testing positive for it. In Russia, say health officials cases are rising Petersburg, which will host seven games, and the national team cut a player on friday After his positive test. This result came after Spain and Sweden. two players test positive Only a few days ago their teams were to meet in the group stage.
The coronavirus is chasing Euro 2020 even before the games can be played. The pandemic has already delayed the tournament by a year, and forced officials to expand rosters and reduce crowd sizes in most cities. Yet this virus is wreaking havoc.
Spain’s health ministry said this week that it would provide vaccine shots to every player on the country’s national team after two – Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente – tested positive on the eve of the tournament. On Friday, the country’s football federation released a video documenting the shots.
Asi ha sido el processo de vacunación de los jugadores de la @SeFutbol En la Ciudad del Ftbol de las Rojas.
— seleción Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 11, 2021
Midfielder Thiago said, “While this is good news for us, I hope that we will not have any adverse effect before the match.”
Spain coach Luis Enrique, who named only 24 players in his squad even though the rules allowed 26, said on Thursday that he still planned to use both players after being cleared to play. is. Llorente has since returned a negative test, hoping his initial positive was false, and Busquets will return after his 10-day quarantine, which ruled him out of Spain’s opener against Sweden on Monday.
“We’re going to wait for him,” said Luis Enrique.
Russia was not that patient. It cut winger Andrey Mostovoy after his positive test and was replaced by defender Roman Evgeniev. Russia’s coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, said Thursday night and Friday morning tests confirmed – at least for him – that no other players were affected.
“Everyone is clean,” he said.
Hungarian nationalist leader Viktor Orban, have spoken. Britain’s populist prime minister, Boris Johnson, I have also weighed. Euro 2020’s biggest controversy so far has been about what happens in the last seconds before a match starts, rather than what fans can expect when the game starts.
The debate – about whether players should take a knee in solidarity with social justice movements before the Games – has only intensified as the England team was asked by a section of its own fans to take a knee before two recent exhibition games. was encouraged to. Players have vowed to continue taking a knee during the European Championships, starting with their opening match against Croatia in London on Sunday. Prime Minister Johnson’s office, after initially saying that fans have the right to vote, if they choose, reverse course at the end of the week And now says it supports players gesture.
A few days ago, Johnson’s spokesman said: “On kneeling, in particular, the prime minister focuses more on action rather than gestures”.
Imagine if the optics of fans booing players didn’t want to side with a number 10 in the upcoming matches.
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) June 11, 2021
Yet on Tuesday in Budapest, which will host games at Euro 2020, the Ireland national team was greeted with a hungover when its players took a knee before a tuneup against Hungary. Orban sparked further controversy by accusing the Irish players of “provoking” the home audience.
“We can’t interpret this gesture any other way, looking at it from our cultural point of view it’s an incomprehensible, a provocation,” Orban said.
The issue will continue to be a flash point during the tournament. Scotland said on Friday that its team – which stopped taking a knee in March – will join England when the teams meet next week. Scotland captain Andy Robertson said: “Given the events surrounding the England national team, taking a knee in this tournament counts as a symbol of solidarity.”
Tournament organizers have expressed calm concern about the response players will receive at knee-jerk venues where racism remains a major problem.
More than 50 games during the tournament will have anti-racism monitors, part of a long-running program on high-risk fixtures. Monitors will report live to UEFA if they hear discriminatory language or see banners or insignia too far away in stadiums.
The European Championship, generally considered the biggest soccer tournament since the World Cup, is starting after a year’s delay. Here are some basics about how to watch, and what you can see.
how can i watch?
In the United States, most games will be on ESPN, some on ABC. When two games are played simultaneously, one will play on ESPN2 instead. The games will also be streamed on ESPN+. Univision owns the rights to the Spanish language in the United States.
Broadcasters elsewhere include Bell Media and TVA (Canada), BBC and ITV (UK), Optus (Australia), M6 and TF1 (France), ARD and ZDF (Germany) and WOW (Japan). Here is the full list.
When are the games?
Italy and Turkey will open the tournament in Rome on Friday followed by multiple games every day for two weeks. No games shall be played at the same time in each first round group until the third match, which are played together. The 16-team knockout round will begin on June 26 with two matches. The final is in London on 11 July.
(South American Championships, copa america, in Brazil starts on a Sunday, runs concurrently, and ends on the same day.)
While today’s news is the start of Euro 2020, the repercussions of the biggest crisis in the continent’s club landscape are not over.
About two months after the 12 elite clubs launched – and then quickly abandoned – a breakaway super league Those foundations, which would have wiped out the centuries-old structures that supported the game, remain uncertain.
European football’s governing body said this week that it has a disciplinary inquiry suspended Against the three most fierce rebel clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. UEFA’s decision came a day after the Super League debuted on 18 April, after receiving an injunction issued by a Madrid court.
The injunction – which was also sent to global governing body FIFA – forbids any disciplinary action against Super League clubs. UEFA threatened to ban three holdouts from next season’s Champions League unless they abandoned the failed plan, but failure to comply with a court order would result in civil or criminal charges against UEFA and its superiors. Action could have been taken.
UEFA said it would now seek to reverse the measures issued by the Madrid court before resuming its disciplinary action. “I just want to say that justice is sometimes slow, but it always comes,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told Italian broadcaster Rai ahead of Friday’s Euro 2020 opener in Rome.
Meanwhile, the six English clubs that joined the Super League on Thursday signed a deal with the Premier League for their role. The teams – Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham – agreed to pay a collective £22 million ($31.1 million) to settle the matter.
The league also announced that any team involved in a future pullout effort would face a $35 million fine and a 30-point reduction in league standings.