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Paul Topping

Paul Topping

Goals, Goals and more Goals. A chance in a lifetime to watch so much football

I’m not someone who enjoys club or league football. In fact, I’ve only been to one football match in my life, about thirty plus years ago in England. I stood on a slope watching the match whilst supporters around me and further up got pissed and pissed and they were so loud. I vowed then that I would never go to watch another football match. I compare this to Rugby then and now and enjoy the banter, the supporters, spectators and general atmosphere.

Fast forward a few decades and I have watched the sport on TV, events like the World Cup, European Championships etc. Whilst in the middle of a lockdown in Sri Lanka, and when most of the world is recovering from the impact of COVID, there are two international football tournaments taking place in Europe [UEFA] and South America [the Copa America]. I’ve become addicted to watching the games and with two big championships running at the same time, there have never been so many amazing games to watch. At a country level, the quality of the football is just stunning. We all have favourites, e.g. some of us will support the underdogs, that’s no longer the Swiss.

For some of us, e.g. me as a Brit, we could never support the French [who were hotly tipped to win] The Scots, Welsh and Irish against mainland European teams will always get my support.

I have had so many nights watching and in many cases, to 3 am in the morning. Good to watch the tactics of the teams especially if they lose their first match. E.g., Russia lost to Finland, what a shock! On the second match, the Russians changed their tactics and some players but have now exited the competition. France vs Germany, what a match! With some of the highest-paid footballers and some of the best talent on show. England has never won an opening match since the 1958 start of the competition and are jinxed but win their first match. The games are being held in the best stadiums in Europe and the Americas. No more standing on the grassy knoll looking down at the game.

So not only did we start with 24 teams in the UEFA CUP in Europe playing but there is at the same time the COPA AMERICA competition with 10 teams battling for the supreme accolade of winning. The South American tournament started in 1916. Think about watching the Brazilians playing, they are the current champions whilst Uruguay have been the most successful over the years.

So, get your popcorn, beer, early breakfast or whatever and feast on the best! You’re going to get hooked on football as the European games are knockout matches with some of the 16 teams still doing battle.

Portugal, the winners of the last European tournament are already heading home as are this times favourites, France. I watched Germany and England battle last night. The result, England two, Germany one. Well done to a fantastic English team. It’s coming home.

The outstanding game for all Brits of a certain age was when we played the Germans at Wembley. England won the World Cup 4-2 in 1966. England unusually wearing red shirts.  

Football is about nothing if not unfounded optimism.

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