Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Should we cheer on Scotland?

Scotland's Group B qualifying campaign has been an astounding success so far, topping the table in front of better rivals France and Italy, and, to a lesser extent, Ukraine. They have scored some great goals and showed true team spirit so far. But the question is, do we want to see them in Euro 2008 at the expense of Italy or France?

The old adage is that it's great to see the underdog triumph, but I want to examine that for a minute. Recalling recent underdog achievements is not a pleasant experience, unless you're directly affected.
Ireland's appearance in the World Cups in '90, '94 and 2002, was great fun for the whole nation, but I can't imagine many liked Jack Charlton's long ball football. In qualifying for 2002, Ireland eliminated Holland, a technically superior team in all areas. That World Cup also produced Japan and South Korea as surprise outfits, playing attractive, attacking (and lucky) football, but from recent evidence, Scotland will not do the same. In Euro 2004, Greece won, playing 10 men behind the ball, depriving a talented Portugal team in the final. After the initial reaction, were you happy Greece won?

In non-international football, neutrals have been subjected to the misery of a Porto v Monaco Champions League Final, Millwall stinking up the place in the FA Cup final against Man Utd and various other non-events too numerous to mention.

It's great to see unfancied teams doing well - to a point. Let them over-achieve into the knockout rounds, let them have moral victories, let their fans go crazy while we all patronise them, but please, let us see the heavyweights in the semis - Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, even England or Spain - I want to see proper technical, tactical battles and the strongest victor emerge.
Not a cheating, fouling team (Porto), not a team with Dennis Wise in it (Millwall), not a team relying on the linesman (South Korea), not a boring, defensive team (Greece).

Some big countries are under threat in qualifying - France, Spain, Holland, Portugal and Italy. Lets see the current best players in European football - the likes of Pirlo, Ribery, Fabregas, Ronaldo, van Persie, playing and achieving next year. And Scotland, sorry, but, please stay at home.



JJ said...

I wouldn't be too hard on the scots mark, what with their tendancy to bottle people and all that. I can see your point but to be honest, I'd much rather they were at euro 2008 than england anyway. Possibly Portugal too as, aside from qualifiers, they play brutal stuff in tournaments.

If the scots don't fuck up in the last two games they deserve to be there, if they do - as most suspect - then I don't actually care enough to be upset about it.

Mark said...

i'd like to see the scots, just not at the expense of one of the world cup finalists....

i feel i'll get abuse for this blog...

Anonymous said...

I hope the scots get there at the expense of the smug french. i don t care if they are crap. the french annoy me.

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