It seems that it was yesterday, or maybe it was, when the club season in Europe ended with the Champions League final and we are already a week away from the start of Euro 2020. Or 2021, but what difference does it make in these times where nothing is what it seems.
And when these great events start —this article is also valid for the Copa América to play, in the end, in Brazil, or for the JJ OO that we will see if they are held in Japan—, we all begin to play with the imaginary of options, favorites , possibilities and possible champions.
If we take the European Championship it would be said that France, current world champion, presents a group full of stars, team players, forwards of all types and modalities to whom it has added a Benzema in full class and football knowledge. He also has a solid coaching staff that is very clear about how he wants his team to compete. It would seem that we can play everything to the blue that we will be sure winners. The expectation with the French team is so high that even its always prudent president, Noël Le Graët, has already declared that, at least, his team has to be in the semifinals and surely Didier Deschamps has brought out that half smile that gives away the coaches caught between the convinced and the pressured.
The expectation regarding the French team is so great that other favorite classics have gone into the background, either because they seem to be in full reconstruction – such as Germany, Spain, England, Croatia or Italy – or because others like Belgium, magnificent third in the World Cup from Russia, can be weighed down by De Bruyne’s injury or Hazard’s physical condition, two key players in Roberto Martínez’s game.
And it does not seem to be visualizing a revelation team with enough power to challenge the big favorite. That team that becomes the one loved by all those already eliminated.
The question is that if we look at the group of France, the F – is it chance or fate? -, we will see that Portugal, Germany and Hungary appear there. Giving the Hungarians as victims, or decisive, that this condition varies a lot in the course of a classification, the other two confrontations are of enormous level. They are those games that you want to see even if you are not a follower of any, just for being a soccer fan.
And from there we are going to begin to take the temperature of the favorites combined with the doneness that each selection shows after such an atypical season, plus the sum of trips and sanitary situations that can occur in each team and in each expedition.
Because let’s not forget that the level of our expectations will be directly proportional to the intensity of the perception of defeat, which is now quickly classified as failure.
If they want to see it in another landscape, we go to Paris, always France in between, and we are on the slopes of Roland Garros, where they have just put a statue of Rafa Nadal and they should almost give him an apartment because that is more his home than Mallorca, and where it seems that you do not have to follow Rafa’s path until that last step or until he meets one of the illustrious names in tennis, assuming that until then the tournament will be a bed of roses. And it does not matter that Nadal remembers in each press conference the difficulty of the tournament, of the rivals, of the atypical season, that we will always look for him in the quarterfinals to accompany him on that final stretch.
And how good to celebrate it if it wins, because it makes us all champions; and if tennis, the rival on duty or a ball out by one centimeter leaves him out of the tournament, then let him fail because we are only here to celebrate joys, that we have enough with day to day to also lose in front of the TV.