When England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, I asked who I should cheer for at Euro 2008. Almost midway through the group stages, and I’m still undecided. Of course, one doesn’t have to pick a team to cheer for; plenty of enjoyment can be had as a neutral (unless you were watching that France-Romania game). But it’s always more fun to have a little partisan leaning one way or another.
Without much continental European ancestry to draw on (Ukraine is my only real claim, but they didn’t make it, of course), I still haven’t found a team. The Dutch are close to drawing me in based on their football, as they often have in the past, but there’s something about their inevitable implosion that’s putting me off. Same goes for Spain. I get enough of that with England already.
A reader emailed me a potential solution: don’t choose on football criteria, but on ethical criteria, by using the website Who Should I Cheer For, which ranks teams on a variety of criteria, ranging from carbon dioxide emissions to military aid (England would have ranked second last had they qualified, unsurprisingly).
The site is an initiative of the World Development Movement. The top three by this ethical criteria are Sweden, Austria and Croatia, and I’m fully behind ruling out the likes of Italy (14th) or Russia (last) on this criteria.
Not a bad trio for me to pick from. I’m tempted by Croatia, as there’s something slightly redeeming about the team that knocked you out of the competition winning the whole thing; and Modric’s on Spurs now, my second English team. If Austria somehow won it, the atmosphere at the tournament would explode, so I’ve nothing against that.
And the Swedes: I like the kooky combination of the resurrected Henrik Larsson and the genius of Ibrahimovic. And, well, then there’s this:
So from whichever way you look it, be it ethical leanings, interesting football or base objectification of their female supporters, Sweden wins! (I hope you enjoyed the deterioration of the criteria used to make the decision)
And how about you: if you don’t have a native team at Euro 2008, who are you supporting, and how did you choose?