Russian taunts, bubble trouble and England players being booed before tournament even starts sets up 11-city Euro 2020 experiment
The 2020 European Championships of soccer - Euro 2020 to its friends - which kick off today in Rome are going to have quite the number of quirks. First off, it's currently 2021 but the one-year delay is not really the fault of the organizers.
Second, to match some of the most complicated times imaginable in which to host a major international sports tournament, Euro 2020 has been organized in the most complicated manner imaginable for players and fans with the 51 games taking place in 11 host cities around Europe. To be fair though, that's about as many as the Copa America has had in the past three weeks.
The pre-tournament stories from some of the camps of the 24 teams competing have a vibe very much of these...unusual...times. Ukraine caused a kerfuffle by daring to include territory on a map on their jerseys that Russia invaded. Rude.
England supporters are booing their footballers before a ball has even been kicked due to the players taking a knee to support racial justice.
Spain have currently got two rival Euro 2020 squads in two locations due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the first team's bubble. The second squad is made up of footballers who no doubt had plans to be in exotic locations that the average supporter can't afford, taking endless photos of themselves.
It's been left to the French to have a pre-tournament controversy of a more traditional and tremendously French nature - in-fighting within the camp. In this case Kylian Mbappe and Oliver Giroud.
A giant experiment in environmental destruction through airline emissions and COVID-19 complexity gets underway today in Rome with Italy hosting Turkey.
Copa America gets official go-ahead with two days left
Copa America are very much asking Euro 2020 to hold its beer in terms of drama. The tournament set to start on Sunday only just got the go-ahead to do so on Thursday night. That's when Brazil's Supreme Court listened to and promptly rejected two legal challenges claiming that the tournament would cause a health crisis due to a COVID-19 wave in Brazil.
However, the Court ruled that the Copa America should continue as there was nothing in the constitution to suggest otherwise.
A host of tournament sponsors have announced that they will no longer market their products during the competition while the players of the host nation itself declared that they are only playing the tournament for the fans.
The good vibes Copa America gets under on Sunday with Brazil taking on Venezuela.