Every Four Years

 

No not the olympics, but the UEFA Cup.  (pronounced You Aaaa fa) 

This is shamelessly lifted from their site.  http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/

UEFA EURO 2016 competition format

For the first time, 24 teams will particpate at a EURO final tournament following a qualifying campaign played under the new ‘Week of Football’ concept.

Contested every four years, the UEFA European Championship has been showcasing the continent’s top talent since its inception as the UEFA European Nations Cup in 1960. It consists of a qualifying competition, play-offs and a final tournament.

Qualifying
The qualifying round, featuring a record field of 53 nations, is made up of nine groups of five or six teams, who contest home and away fixtures. The nine group winners, the nine group runners-up and the best third-placed side will qualify directly for the final tournament. The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers for the finals.

For the first time, qualifying takes place under the new ‘Week of Football’ concept, which sees games played from Thursday to Tuesday. Kick-off times will be set mainly at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. On double-header matchweeks, teams will play on Thursday/Sunday, Friday/Monday or Saturday/Tuesday. Each day of the ‘Week of Football’ will have eight to ten matches.

©Getty Images

Action from the final of UEFA EURO 2012

European Qualifiers match dates
MD1: 7/8/9 September 2014
MD2: 9/10/11 October 2014
MD3: 12/13/14 October 2014
MD4: 14/15/16 November 2014
MD5: 27/28/29 March 2015
MD6: 12/13/14 June 2015
MD7: 3/4/5 September 2015
MD8: 6/7/8 September 2015
MD9: 8/9/10 October 2015
MD10: 11/12/13 October 2015

Play-off match dates
First legs: 12/13/14 November 2015
Second legs: 15/16/17 November 2015

Final tournament
For the first time, 24 sides will contest the UEFA European Championship. The inaugural final tournament in France in 1960 was a four-team affair, expanding to eight in 1980 and doubling in size again in 1996 to 16.

As hosts, France qualify automatically for a tournament that takes place between 10 June and 10 July 2016. They will be joined by 23 qualifiers and the teams will be drawn into groups of four, with the six group winners, six group runners-up and the four best third-placed teams advancing to the round of 16 when it becomes a knockout competition.

Regulations
The regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship, 2014–16 competition were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee in Bilbao, Spain in December 2013. The regulations were initially drawn up by the UEFA Administration before being submitted to the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee. They were then forwarded upon that committee’s approval to the UEFA Executive Committee for ratification.

©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.

Last updated: 29/02/16 17.01CET

 

As you can see, this current tournament has been going on since 2014….  These are country teams, not privately owned teams.  While the players may change the private team that they play for over a two year period, they do not change the country that they play for.  So unless there are injuries, the team that played in 2014 is the same as the team that will be playing in this tournament. 

The whole thing is a big deal here in Europe.  We watch BBC World News.  I have seen a crawler on the BBC News suggesting that employers should be more lenient about work hours during the UEFA Cup.  (Say it with me now,  You Aaaa fa!)  And Ben and I noticed that the BBC, which is not showing the games, but has developed an app  so that ‘you can follow the progress and keep track of your favorite teams’ has what must be a very expensive ad to promote this.  The ad is set in pre-revolutionary France in a Versailles type palace with the young king unlocking a cabinet to carry out the trophy, passing through a room full of period costumed actors with giant portraits of soccer players on the walls, out to a waiting crowd to display the trophy.  When we watch this ad, I just wonder about the cost of it,  the location, the costumes, the number of people, the rights to use the players image…. and this station is not even showing the games!!!!!!

Anyway, we got together as a village (as the owner of the property that we live on likes to call it) to sit outside and watch the game.  It was easier for Ben, for Ida and I to somewhat host it in our garden rather than in theirs.  We all pitched in with food and drinks.  Big tables appeared.  We hooked the TV up to our antenna and a wonderful night was had by all.  Non-villagers, John, Richard and William were allowed, but only because they had Irish connections and Italy was playing Ireland. 

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John and Richard straggling in…

 

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A spirited game of beach volley took place while cooking was going on.  The ground is uneven in this area so it was better for Ben to be in his wheel chair. 

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Giorgio tended his giant grill and cooked a huge amount of meat. 

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Hmmm, pancetta

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A polite pause for national anthems

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And the games get under way.  (yes that is a 13 year old carrying beer)

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By the time the food was done it was dark and the flash doesn’t really work on my camera.  Cleaning up this morning I found this, Ida’s creation.  The fruit salad must have been in it. 

Oh and Italy lost.  But they were already in the round of 16 so they play again on Monday night.   I know in America we would get together for a sporting event but would that be outside?  As a village?  Pretty sure this is one of the fun things that we will miss. 

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