Poland FC

With the European Championship (Euro Cup, Euros) 2012 starting in just 9 days, I decided I need to highlight the nations that will participate in this prestigious tournament.

Poland, one of the 2 nations hosting this tournament will start us off.

Poland has seen more success in the Olympics, rather than in any FIFA related tournaments, that doesn’t not mean it isn’t a strong team!

They held England to a draw, qualifying them for the 1974 World Cup which saw them progress to 3rd place with a 1-0 victory over Brazil with one of their own, striker Grzegorz Lato winning the Golden Booty (top scorer) for 7 goals. In 1982 they beat France, 3-2 winning third place again!

In 1972, they won the gold medal in the Olympics in Munich and silver in the 1976 (Montreal) and 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics as well.

In 2008, they made history by finally qualifying for the Euro Cup, and due to co-hosting with Ukraine, are automatically qualified this year.

Notable Players?

The first one I notice is Wojciech Szczęsny (not sure about the first name but I believe you say Chesney for the last), goal keeper from Arsenal FC in London.

A few other players in the 23-man squad come from the German League and Cup winners, Borussia Dortmund, as well as other notable teams in Germany.

Find their names and domestic teams here.

Who will they compete against?

In Group A we have:

Poland

Greece (2004 Euro Champs)

Russia (1960 Euro Champs, 2nd in 1964, 1972 and 1988 and 3rd place in 2004)

Czech Republic (3rd place in 2004 and 2nd in 1996 Euros)

What cities will host in Poland?

The National Stadium in Warsaw (capital) will host 3 Group A matches (Poland vs Greece will open the tournament Friday June 8th at 6pm, I believe 9am Eastern US?), a Quarter-final and a Semi-final match.

The PGE Arena in Gdańsk will host 3 Group C matches and a Quarter-final match.

The Municipal Stadium in Wrocław will host 3 Group A matches.

Finally, The Municipal Stadium in Poznań will host 3 Group C matches.

What about the other Groups?

Oh? You want to know who else is in this competition? AWESOME

Group B (known as the group of death) will have these powerful teams:

Netherlands (2nd in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups as well as 4th in 1998. 3rd in the 1976, 1992, and 2000 Euros, 4th in 2004 and winners in 1988)

Denmark (4th in 1964, 3rd in 1984 and champs in the 1992 Euros)

GERMANY (In the World Cups, they were 3rd in the 1934, 1970, 2006, 2010, 4th in 1958, 2nd in 1966, 1982, 1986, and 2002 and winners in 1954, 1974 and 1990! In the Euros they were 3rd in 1988, 2nd in 1976, 1992 and 2008, and won in 1972, 1980 and 1996, WOW!)
Germany holds the most titles, with 3, Spain is the current champion (beating Germany in 2008) and have won it twice.

Portugal(4th in 2006 and 3rd in 1966, World Cups. They made it to the semis twice in 1984 and 2000 and lost to Greece in the 2004 final in the Euros).

I will tell you the other 2 groups NEXT WEEK!

These are exciting times here in Kiev, Ukraine, you should see what preparations are being made in this city. Everyone is exciting for the first Central/Eastern European hosted European Championship tournament!

International Competitions such as the World Cup

Again, I apologize for the tardiness of this post!

I will address the last of the competitions, one of them being the biggest sporting event in the world.

For those who are familiar with competitions such as the Champion’s League in any continent, you’ll notice, well, it is already a country vs country sort of ordeal.

The Champion’s league is a domestic club/team, (remember, in this sport, the teams are much more than a simple franchise like the other sports in America) from a city, or in some places like London, a section of a city, fighting other cities from other countries to establish their dominance in the continent they all reside in.

Eventually that leads to the best of each continent facing each other in a single round elimination tournament, the FIFA Club World Cup.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the countries? When do the best from Germany play the best from the USA play the best from Ghana from Australia, etc, etc.

Well my dear reader, that is what the FIFA World Cup is all about.

A brief bit of background, each continent, again, will have their own competition. North America has the Gold Cup, in the past few years it’s been USA vs Mexico in the final (Mexico winning last summer, 2011), Honduras makes a fight for 3rd and Jamaica and Panama has stepped up their game over time.

South America has theirs with Uruguay being the recent winner.

Europa has the UEFA Euro Championship this summer, June/July, hosted by Poland/Ukraine and the Africa Cup of Nations just recently finished their tournament with Zambia winning.

These competitions help to determine rankings and such, for the World Cup qualifier the year before the next World Cup (Brazil 2014 being the obvious goal).

Now, what everyone is looking forward to, once their continental competitions finish, is 2014, a trip to Brazil.

The Format

How is the tournament set-up?

Remember the Group Stage format I described in my Champion’s League post? It’s the same concept, 8 groups of 4 teams play each other for the most amount of points possible, the top 2 from each group progresses to the Knockout stage, last 16, and goal differences determines the tie breakers, if needed, goals made then goals conceded.

The difference between Champion’s/Europa League and the World Cup is, the 32 teams play all of their games within about 2 weeks, and you only play each other once, no home-and-away format, and the entire country (or countries) is/are loaded with neutral stadiums (even for the host team(s) you’ll still have a decently even amount of supporters in the stadium).

Continuing with this, the knockout stage is a single round elimination set-up, similar to the Domestic Tournaments I mentioned before, there are no replays. If there’s a draw after 90 minutes, an extra 30 minutes (15 minute halves) is added, if needed, a penalty shootout. Thus is the way for the last 16, the quarter and semi finals, and the final which is always in the capital of the host nation, either one (sometimes, there are 2 nations hosting). After the semi finals, FIFA wants to reword the 2 teams who lost in the semis, giving them a chance to fight for 3rd/4th place, giving them one last game the day before the final.

History

I have decided to individually talk about the history of World Cup winners in several posts, why not? I will talk about how this competition came to be.

13 July to the 30th in 1930, Uruguay gained the privilege of hosting the inaugural World Cup due to having won the previous 2 tournaments formerly held as part of the summer Olympics. Once FIFA finally got their separate tournament, it took some convincing to get Europeans to fly across the Atlantic (money reasons) to participate. Uruguay eventually won this tournament.

Again, I will go into greater detail next week, I might increase my blog posting about this subject to twice a week, one relating to national teams, the other to domestic clubs, and at some point player highlights will make their way in there.