Friday, November 23, 2007
Every 4 years all of Europe's attention focuses squarely on what nation will lay claim to be the best of the continent. Ever since the finish of the 2006 World Cup, these European Nations have been fighting to qualify for the occasion as only 16 Nations qualify. Only 14 when you take into account the hosting nations Austria and Switzerland received automatic births. And after 12 games played by each Nation the field has been set and it consists of not one team from the British Isles.
The lone British Isle who finished worst than 3rd in their qualifying group. Wales finished 5th in Group D, two spots behind Ireland.
Ireland finished third in their grouping much like the rest of the British Isles, however the were eliminated long ago as Germany and the Czech Republic cruised to Euro 08.
Northern Ireland made a significant push for qualifying, finishing 3rd in their grouping. However, 2 losses to both Latvia and Iceland spoiled the rest of their results which included going 2-1-1 against the eventual group qualifiers Sweden and Spain.
The Scots made a valient effort in a group that contained both France and World Cup Champs Italy. Going into their final match against Italy in Glasgow, the Scots sat a lone point behind France and a point above Italy in the standings and a win could get them into the field. However, the Italians broke the tie game in the 91st minute and the Scots were sunk for good.
Obviously the biggest failures of the group. England suffered some inexcusable outcomes but had one last match at home versus Croatia, where a victory would put them in place for qualifying. However, after pulling the game even a 2-2 they gave up the deciding goal and finished off the Isles for good as well as their manager who was sacked the next day.
Perhaps the Isles should just start their own tournament next year. British Isles 08. Atleast then there would be some kind of International football to look forward to off the mainland.