Football Fever

Euro 2012 is in full swing, and where better to follow it than the very heart of Europe itself here in Suisse? It’s all anyone is talking about, all we spend our evenings watching, and it’s all the more fun here because my fellow exchange buddies are from all over Europe. I have also suddenly come over exceedingly and unexpectedly patriotic. If I were in England I would doubtless not give two hoots about the football but now that I’m in a foreign country and I am the only English person in the vicinity, I need to represent! Funny how that happens…

The atmosphere is fantastic. The weather here in Lausanne has recovered from a recent miserable bout of clouds and rain to give way to blue skies and sweltering sunshine. Switzerland did not qualify for the Euro, so support for various countries feels (in typical, democratic Swiss fashion) fairly evenly spread. It’s very easy to get caught up in the ambience and find yourself getting emotional and shouting along with the other spectators, cheering and swearing in a variety of languages.

It’s not only England that I am supporting, either. I think I’ve already mentioned my steadily increasing German credentials thanks to the sheer quantity of Germans whom I have befriended here, so of course Germany also has my support. In addition, Greece’s victory against Russia last night was a welcome pleasure thanks to a Greek I am fond of here.

So it’s nice to have more than one team to support in favour of those people you care about, but the flipside to this will fast become apparent come next round. What if Greece plays Germany? I have already been grilled with regard to this possible outcome as to which team I would give my support… Torn loyalties, anyone? If England were to face Germany, that would be a most amusing but rather out-numbering (for me) experience, though hopefully not too personal… It’s sheer politics!

I don’t pretend to know the first thing about football (though I do know the offside rule, a’ight?), but I do know that it is a hell of a lot of fun bringing all us different Europeans together to have a beer (or three) and enjoy a bit of healthy rivalry. It’s been funny watching some of the gentlest people I have met here become impassioned and vociferous before the television screens; I guess competition and patriotism can do that. I don’t have an England football strip or flag, but I’ll be showing the love on Tuesday, and tonight, it’s all about Deutschland.

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