Strategy

The Euro and the Euros: a Football Story

Spain, Italy, and Ireland have been dubbed “the Group of Debt.”
Andrew SawersJune 13, 2012

A top-flight international sporting event often takes peoples’ mind off the trials and tribulations they deal with every other day. In the case of the current football championship, Euro 2012, also known as the Euros, it probably won’t help at all.

Sixteen national teams are taking part in the four-yearly tournament organized by Uefa, the Union of European Football Associations, and jointly hosted this year by Poland and Ukraine. The battles taking place on the pitch sometimes echo those taking place off it.

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Take Greece, for example: a darling of the game when it won eight years ago, its best days are well behind it, and it is likely to be one of the first teams to be knocked out of the Euros. Not unlike expectations about how much longer it will stay in the euro, then.

In the knockout round, the teams are in groups of four: Group B includes the mighty Germany and Holland, and is known as “the Group of Death.” Group C, on the other hand, includes Spain, Italy, and Ireland, and has been dubbed “the Group of Debt.” 

As ever, wags suggest Germany may demand to be allowed to win since it’s the one who’s paying for the ball.

Others talk about the green football shirt with “England” emblazoned on it. No, it’s not a case of England changing from its usual white and red colors:  it’s the new Ireland uniform. England is the sponsor.

And plans for pan-European funding to allow struggling euro zone countries to benefit from the financial position of stronger countries were nicely lampooned by The Daily Telegraph cartoonist “Matt”: a recent cartoon showed a football official announcing, “We propose a Goals Bond, so that surplus German goals can be transferred to weaker
teams. . . .” A bit close to the bone, that one.

One old adage remains true, however: football is a game of two halves the haves and have-nots.

Andrew Sawers is editor of CFO European Briefing, a CFO online publication.