Euro 2012: Aside from England, Which Nation Are EPL Fans Rooting For?
Given the global nature of the English Premier League’s support, EPL fans could be native to a number of countries who are already in this year’s European Championships.
However, there are also fans of the Premier League living outside of Europe, who are wondering who to pull for in this summer’s competition.
England might seem like the most natural choice, but let’s face it, England aren’t particularly good.
If you’re a global fan of the EPL or a particular EPL side and you want some advice on who to cheer for, read on.
Republic of Ireland
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Other than England, there’s no other squad in the tournament that features as many EPL players as Ireland.
In fact, only a handful of the Irish players don’t play in the EPL. Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane and Darren O’Dea are the only ones to feature in other leagues.
Fans of the EPL will thus be familiar with a whole host of players when the Irish team play, from Shay Given in goal, to Richard Dunne in defence, to Shane Long up front.
Add to this mixture one of the most fanatical sets of fans at the Euros, as well as their underdog status in Group C, and fans of the EPL will want to get right behind Ireland during the tournament.
After all, who doesn't look good in a ginger wig?
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France? Aren’t they England’s oldest enemy?
Maybe, but they have plenty of top-quality players who fans of the EPL will have seen play on a regular basis.
Samir Nasri may not be the most likable of fellows, but there’s little doubting his ability as he showed on Monday with his wonderfully taken goal.
There are also a host of other EPL players in the French squad, representing a wide array of EPL clubs. Aside from Nasri, there’s Patrice Evra, Gael Clichy, Yohan Cabaye, Florent Malouda and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Add to this mix players like Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, and the French have a potentially cracking side at their disposal.
Now that the game with England is out the way, EPL fans might want to get behind France; until perhaps the two teams meet again.
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If the long-standing rivalries between England, Ireland and France make it hard for EPL fans to get behind the latter two teams, a nice alternative is the Netherlands.
Tipped as one of the pre-tournament favourites, the Dutch have quality throughout their squad, and have a number of both current and older EPL players.
There are hard-edged bruisers like Johnny Heitinga and Nigel de Jong, but also elegant attacking players such as Robin van Persie and Rafael van der Vaart.
Former stars of the EPL are also present, including Liverpool favourite Dirk Kuyt and Chelsea old-boy Arjen Robben.
With their qualification to the knockout stages in doubt after a shock defeat to Denmark, the Dutch could certainly do with some additional support at the moment.
So, Hup Holland Hup!
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Whether you’re a fan of the EPL or not, who doesn’t love watching Spain play?
They have a few players familiar with the EPL, including Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina and former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. Even if you’ve watched no other football apart from the EPL in recent years, you should still recognize a number of players in the Spanish squad.
Moreover, this Spanish team is destined to go down as one of the greatest of all time, with both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup under its belt.
Every EPL fan should enjoy watching the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta while they still can.
If England do get knocked out before Spain, EPL fans should feel no shame in backing this superb collection of players.
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All football fans, not just EPL fans, should be hoping that at least one of the host nations has a good run in the tournament.
One of the low points of Euro 2008 was the abject form of both host nations, Switzerland and Austria, who crashed out of the tournament without making much of an impression.
International tournaments are much more fun if the hosts can make it at least into the knockout rounds, as the atmosphere across the competition is buoyed by the local energy of the crowds.
Both teams have some great players to cheer for, such as Robert Lewandowski and the king of Ukraine himself Andriy Shevchenko.
His goals in Ukraine’s 2-1 win over Sweden on Monday were moments of pure footballing magic, a piece of true history unfolding before our eyes.
Let’s hope the hosts can manage a few more wins, so we get to see a few more of these great footballing moments before the tournament ends.