Are you an Everton supporter in need of a rooting interest at Euro 2012? Can you not bring yourself to root for an English side full of Reds? Are you an American neutral eager to cheer on countries that feature your Toffee heroes?
Well, look no farther. Everton might not be half their squad to Poland and the Ukraine like their Anfield neighbors, but they will be represented at the European Championship. In fact, certain countries may live or die depending on Toffee contributions.
Everton sports a player in Groups B, C and D, but lacks a representative in Group A. While the last three groups will have self-evident choices, Group A is difficult if you intend to root based on club loyalty. Here’s my thought process:
- Poland: No. The hosts are a sentimental choice, but they’ll start Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczęsny. Can’t root for a Gunner, can we?
- Czech Republic: No. A scrappy team that qualified via playoff, but the Czechs will start Petr Cech (Chelsea) in goal and Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) in midfield.
- Russia: No. The Russians would be my second choice, but they will employ Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin, two attackers formerly of Tottenham and Arsenal. That they showed poor form in England before retreating back to Russian clubs is satisfying, but I still can't bring myself to cheer them on. Premiership wounds run deep.
So by process of elimination, we are left with Greece, a team Evertonians will certainly be able to relate to. They wear blue kits, and represent a organization (the country of Greece) in deep financial trouble. Thin though it may be, a connection is there. Πάμε Ελλάδα!
That being settled, here are five Toffees and their respective nations to watch at Euro 2012.