The Euros are fast approaching, and Indians across the globe are wondering which team to support. It is common knowledge that most Indians are big time followers of the English Premier League. That should naturally mean they support England, right? But no. England is infamous for its ability to never make it to the top in any big stage. We need to go 20 years back in time to weed out the last time they made it to even the semi final of a big tournament – the 1996 European Championships.
And just like the FIFA World Cup in 2014, I’m unable to make my mind up on which team to support. During the World Cup, I picked Germany because four members of my favourite club Arsenal played for them, including Mesut Ozil. But whatever amounts of the Die Mannschaft statuses I put up on various social media, I still couldn’t entirely connect with them.
People support a country for different reasons. The primary reason would be because their favourite player plays for that country. This may not be long term, and could terminate when the player stops being their favourite player, or when the player retires. Another reason would be due to the genuine fondness of the country itself. ‘Switzerland is such a pretty place. They make the best chocolates, best watches and produced the best tennis player in the world. Why not Switzerland?’
One set of people support a country because their relatives live there. And no, I’m not kidding. This girl told me she supports the Netherlands because her aunt and cousins live there. She might not even know the players in the team, but “Netherlands FTW! Yeaah”. Some guys out there are fans of France because they make the best wine and Italy for their wood fire pizzas. I remember my uncle asking me back in 2006, “Who do you support, in the Final? Pizza or wine?”. Apart from the disturbing fact that I was asked about wine when I was 13, I realised people do pick a team because of reasons like that.
I’ve also seen people support a club because of the colour of their jerseys. This list includes me in my formative years. I liked yellow a lot, and hence loved Brazil. Same with Australia in cricket before I changed for the good. Else I’d be supporting Norwich City in the league right now. Oh, and I almost forgot the bunch of people who play fantasy football and want the player who they have on their teams to do well irrespective of the overall result.
Finally, there is this huge section of football enthusiasts who support the underdogs. They wouldn’t support any one team in particular, but keep switching from match to match. They love upsets and showcase extreme joy and face the brunt of genuine fans of the opponents.
This time, I’m still in two minds. Germany are definitely the favourites and they won it when I supported them last time. There’s star studded Belgium who anyone would love to support, and then as always, there’s England. I’ll be deciding in the next two days. What about you?