The highlight of the summer is going to be the UEFA’s European Football Championship. Either that or the Olympics. It’s a toss up really. Either way, it looks like everybody is going to be glued to the TV this summer. Like the rest of the civilized world, except for those barbarians in North America who call it soccer, Icelanders are crazy about football. We are yet to formally qualify as a nation for the big event, the Euro Finals, but we still reserve the rights to go absolutely insane this time of year. We cancel our summer vacation plans, or ditch work completely. Our GDP takes a hit, but for two weeks everyone just thinks about football. Good thing this is only every four years.
The Grapevine office pool is underway. Here is the rundown of the picks and the logic behind them. Yours truly, the trusted editor, has picked France to go all the way this year. I believe that no team can match their depth, and combination of speed and power. Also, I picked France for the World Cup in ’98 and the Euro 2000 and both times they made me look good. I believe they will do so again. Assistant editor Steinunn Jakobsdóttir is picking Germany. Germany is considered a slight favourite to win the title this year by most sports betters, carrying 4/1 odds. I still think they will choke in the first stage of the competition. The Grapevine’s art director, Gunnar, is picking Portugal, for aesthetic reasons obviously. Our photographer, GAS, is going with Croatia, still blinded by his love of Davor Suker in ‘98. The Grapevine’s staff writer, Haukur, refuses to acknowledge this as an event of any significance, but still wants to be in the pool for the off chance of winning a lot of money. He has decided to pick Portugal as well, as he believes our art director is the in-house authority on all things football. He will obviously lose as well. The Grapevine’s sports commentator, Páll Hilmarsson, is choosing underdogs Sweden. His unwavering faith in Zlatan Ibrahamovic is admirable, but ultimately unfounded. He will not earn a part of the office pot, obviously.
So, France it is then.
The opening match of Euro 2008 kicks off on Saturday, June 7 at 16:00. All matches will be broadcast live on RÚV – The National Broadcasting Service. Check www.ruv.is for a full schedule.