Euro 2012 Beggar's Battle: Spain vs Portugal

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 6/24/2012 03:54:00 PM
There was much made of the earlier Germany versus Greece Euro 2012 match and its symbolism for European integration. To no one's real surprise, Germany, erm, booted Greece out of the Euro by winning 4-2. Sure the Greek fans present at the match had their cheap thrills booing lustily whenever Angela Merkel's image was broadcast on the arena's screens, but still. If it's any consolation, remember that the Greeks scored the fluke of all flukes by winning the tournament in 2004 (and look how that euphoria has translated into economic gain). This year, though, there was no Cinderella story to be had since Greek fans hoped for the best but it turned out like always.

Now, however, we have an overlooked game between Iberian competitors Spain and Portugal. Although either may yet advance and face the financially (and nearly sportingly) indomitable Germans, we have an interesting battle on our hands in the meantime. To be sure, I find the Spanish game more attractive with its standard-setting, passing-and-possession oriented football. Some people think it's boring; I think it's representative of good teamwork and technical brilliance. Their opponents the Portugese, meanwhile, are buoyed by the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo in--he hopes, perhaps--the same way Diego Maradona could boost Argentina squads in the days of old.

Instead of underlining German dominance (again), even the Germans understand that perhaps it should let off the others to go easy on the symbolism. At any rate, who should you pull for if you could give the Spanish or Portugese people a psychic boost? In addition to Spain winning Euro 2008, they added icing to the cake by winning the 2010 World Cup. What have those famous victories done for the nation off the pitch? As Spain secures emergency funding from the EU, diddly-squat. I had hoped victory could save them from recession, but my hopes were all for naught and things went even more downhill from there.
Which leaves us with Portugal. It has never won the Euro tournament, let alone the World Cup. Portugese clubs Benfica and Porto have been European Cup / Champions League winners, but fans with their club loyalties seldom side with others even from their own country. Given that Spain experienced next to no economic boost from their victories, perhaps it's time to root for Portugal--no matter if Cristiano Ronaldo is not an endearing character. Moreover, Spain's woes are mitigated by certain things going for it alike a low total debt to GDP figure by developed world standards. Meanwhile, I am sorry to say that Portugal has nearly nothing going for it and is only outdone by Greece in the economies woes department.

So, with the home team Poland gone, is it "Vamos a Portugal!" for me?