Euro 2012: Enjoy It While You Can, It Can Only Get Worse

Craig DaviesContributor IIIJune 8, 2012

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 08:  Dancers perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 group A match between Poland and Greece at The National Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The European Championships, now underway in Poland and Ukraine, are a thing of beauty.

Or, were a thing of beauty.

This year's tournament will be the last time that 16 teams will contest the finals. Michel Platini seems to think tinkering with a tried and tested formula that works extremely well is a good idea.

In France 2016 there will be 24 teams in the finals of the competition, opening to the flood gates to a wave of mediocrity .


The thing that makes the Euros stand out is the heavyweight nature of the battles involved from the off.

Germany vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Italy will grace our screens on the opening weekend, while England vs. France will be following the next day.

It is for this reason the tournament is a success, and what has previously led Zinedine Zindane and Steven Gerrard to echo the following sentiments.

The French legend is quoted as saying:  "For me, the European Championship is harder to win than the World Cup." 

"There are only big teams."

"At the World Cup, you have time to get going but here you cannot afford to make a single mistake."

While England captain Gerrard proclaimed:  "This is a very difficult tournament to win." 

"It's harder than the World Cup because the standard is even higher. The 16 teams are all very strong. It's going to be tough."

Slippery Slope

By installing an extra eight teams, you are taking away what makes the tournament such a roaring success.

Thirteen of the top eighteen teams in FIFA's world rankings are to contest this year's tournament, highlighting the high standard expected and the stark difference to a World Cup,

Or as Wesley Sneijder rather nicely puts it:  "You don't have the teams from Africa or wherever when you know you are going to take three points."

Whilst being a harsh comment, and inaccurate in some instances, it does get the message across.

Enjoy this years offering. Next time will be very different and I'm willing to bet far less exciting.