I remain a little underwhelmed with the event. The last one, in 2004, was won by Greece. How in the hell that happened I don't know. Greece didn't even qualify for the 2006 World Cup, and the Greek domestic football league probably would be defined as Division I-AA or Division II if you think of it in terms of American college football. But they won it, and they're the defending champs.
Another thing about this tournament that makes it a little hard to get all hot and bothered over it is that England is not in it. I kept looking for them in the group tables. I must have looked about 10 times, thinking I was just missing them. But no, England is really not in this. They did not qualify. So they are not competing for the European championship, which is kind of like having an American football tournament that doesn't have America in it.
But, all this considered, it's still probably the next best thing to the World Cup, and it started today.
This Is Why Switzerland Doesn't Fight Any Wars
CZECH REPUBLIC 1, SWITZERLAND 0
Switzerland is one of the host countries for this tournament, and they treated their fans to a 1-0 loss that was as boring as everyone says soccer is.
That's to be expected though, because that's just the way Switzerland rolls. They are as neutral on the football pitch as they are in international affairs. In the last World Cup, they were the first team ever to be eliminated from the tournament despite not having conceded a goal. I won't get into the metaphysics of how that is possible, but let's just say it involves some excruciatingly boring football.
They came with more of the same, and it seemed for a while that they would get one of their patented 0-0 draws. Former Hertha Berlin scrubeenie Vaclav Sverkos ruined that though, when he came on as a sub and scored in the 70th minute. The Czechs took 2 shots the whole game, and this one went in. Now all the Swiss fans will have to cry themselves to sleep tonight on their big piles of Nazi gold.
A Manly Embrace Of a Guy Named "Pepe"
PORTUGAL 2, TURKEY 0
Portugal was the team that lost to Greece in the 04 Euro finals. They also were a semifinalist in World Cup 06. They're good, and they've got the consensus best player in the world right now in Cristiano Ronaldo.Ronaldo didn't score in this game, despite being turned away on a few opportunities. Ream Madrid defender Pepe, who is actually a native Brazilian, broke the tie in the 60th minute, and the Portugese added a goal in extra time to stuff Turkey.