The Euros, also known as the World Cup’s less-glitzy-but-still-adored sister, begins tonight. As its name suggests, the football tournament solely comprises European nations. This year’s finals, held in France, will span over a month from 10 June till 10 July.
Unfortunately for those of us in Singapore, the venue for this year’s Euros means having to get up at ungodly hours to watch football again. So wives, girlfriends, and partners, we apologise in advance if our yelling and screaming at the TV disrupts your peaceful slumber.
To my fellow football kakis, here are a few things you need to know before tonight’s kick-off. No, I will not be giving you advice on who you should bet on (we have a Fantasy Euro League running in the office so I can’t divulge my strategies), but I’ll cover some stuff you can use to show off to your other kakis.
1) France hosts the Euros for a record third time
This year’s tournament will be the third time this Western European nation plays host. No other country has achieved this. The two previous Euros held in France include the one in 1960, which was the very first iteration of the tournament, and the one in 1984, which the French team won. That was the last time a host nation won a Euro on home soil. Make of that what you will.
2) Oldest and youngest players
As it stands the oldest player to have played in a Euro is Germany’s Lothar Matthaus, who was 39 when he competed in Euro 2000. This year it seems that Hungary’s 40-year-old first-choice keeper, Gabor Kiraly is set to break that record.
On the other hand Marcus Rashford (born 31st October 1997), England’s exuberant forward, is Euro 2016’s youngest player at 18-years-old. Unfortunately, the accolade for the youngest ever player to compete in a Euro belongs to Jetro Willems of Netherlands.
3) More teams in the finals
When the tournament first began, only four teams were featured in the final stage (after qualifying). In 1980, that number was increased to eight. In 1996, that number was doubled again, bring the grand total of teams in the finals to 16. This year’s finals will feature the most number of teams yet, with 24 teams set to compete for the trophy. This means Euro 2016 will see a whopping 6 groups of teams.
4) Hugo Boss and Germany
For a long time now fashion has played a huge role in football, with players becoming exceedingly concerned about how they look both on and off the pitch. This has made for some very curious but very dapper collaborations between fashion labels and football teams. Since 2013, the German squad has been sponsored by German luxury label Hugo Boss. So thanks to this collaboration, the world champions have been rolling up to their games looking “fly AF”.
5) Tallest, shortest, heaviest, and lightest teams
It’s no surprise here that where average team heights are concerned Sweden are the tallest, with an average height of 1.86m. Spain, on the other hand, is the team with the shortest average height, measuring 1.80m. As for average weights, the Germans are the heaviest at 80.3kg (we imagine Hugo Boss aren’t too thrilled about the extra material they have to use) and the Turkish are the lightest at 74.3kg.