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History Of UEFA European Football Championship

Posted on January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

First played in 1960 under the name of UEFA European Nations Cup, the idea of this popular European football league was first suggested by Henri Delaunay in 1927 who was a member of French Football Federation. Finally in 1960, his dream turned into reality and the tournament was held in France. In his honor, the tournament trophy was named as Henri Deluanay Trophy. 17 teams participated out of which three teams did not played- West Germany, England and Italy. Among the 14 remaining teams, USSR made its way into the final and won the first tournament trophy by outsmarting Yugoslavia by 2-1.

After that, the name of this tournament was changed to European Football Championship in 1968 and then since 1992, this tournament became popular as Euro. Held once in every four years; statistical reports show that this is the third most popular sports tournament in the world after Olympic Games and World Cup. So far, 13 tournaments had been played and this Euro 2012 is the 14th session. Germany is the most successful team in this tournament who had been in the final six times and won championship title three times.

In 1964, Spain was the host of the tournament with 29 teams participating in the tournament. The host succeeded in bagging the championship title by defeating the last time champion USSR by 2-1.

In 1968, the tournament name was reframed but the format remained same with two new teams. Held in Italy, the championship title also went to the host country when they defeated Yugoslavia in a replay match by 2-0. The most notable incident in that year was a coin toss to decide a semi-final match. This coin toss was the first and the only time incident in Euro history.

Belgium was the host in 1972 when West Germany (now Germany) won the final beating Soviet Union by 3-0.

1976 tournament was held in Yugoslavia and that was the final year to put an end for two things- host team had to be in the final and four teams qualifying in the final. That year is also notable for the newly introduced penalty shootout. Czechoslovakia won the final.

The next tournament in 1980 was organized in a new format in Italy. The concept of group came up and eight teams participated with winners of each group getting into the play-offs and then to the final. West Germany won once again and this was their second championship title.

In 1984, the concept of semi-final also emerged which gave totally a new format to this tournament. France won the tournament by smashing Spain in 2-0. Michel Platini was then the Captain of France who was an impressive player of the tournament. He scored 9 goals in 5 matches.

The two times champion, West Germany hosted the 1988 tournament where Netherlands defeated the host to win the championship title. This year is still considered as a glorious year in football history because Marco van Basten made a spectacular goal over the goalkeeper straight from the right wing.

Then in Sweden in 1992 when European Football Championship became Euro 1992 for the first time! Denmark won the league by defeating unified Germany by 2-0. Yugoslavia was not allowed to participate in the tournament that year as they were in a state of war.

16 teams participated in UEFA Euro 1996which was organized in England. Germany ousted newly-formed state Czech Republic by 2-1 and bagged another championship trophy for the third time. But for unified Germany, this was the first time.

Belgium and Netherlands were the host for Euro 2000 when France was the emperor of football. As expected by the entire world, France once more succeeded in retaining their position as champion when they defeated Italy by 2-1.

The championship trophy of UEFA Euro 2004, held in Portugal, was won by Greece who defeated the host team by 1-0 in the final.

Switzerland and Austria, again two countries hosted UEFA Euro 2008 where Spain defeated Germany by 1-0 in the final to become the champion.

Finally 2012! This year Ukraine and Poland will host the tournament where 16 teams are participating from four groups, each group having four teams. Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Russia are from Group A, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Holland are from Group B, Croatia, Spain, Italy and Ireland are from Group C and England, France, Sweden and Ukraine are from Group D. This exciting tournament will start on June 8, 2012 and will continue till July 1, 2012.

European Footballer of the Year Candidates

Posted on January 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Real Madrid president, Ramon Calderon announced that his newly signed Italian centre-back Fabio Cannavaro had won the prestigious Ballon D’Or, or Golden Ball, and was to replace Ronaldinho as the European Footballer of the year. This came to the surprise of many and rose more than a few eyebrows. Not, through the fact that Cannavaro had been the selection, far from it given his dominant displays during the World Cup, but due to the fact that the winner of the much hyped award is not actually announced until 27th November. Surely this means one of two things. The first of these is that France Football, the magazine that actually host the prize, have a mole in the camp and need to seriously bolster their security, alternatively Senor Calderon is living up to the traditions of the Madridistas and filling newspaper columns with self gratifying propaganda.

If it was a media frenzy that Calderon wanted, then he will be a happy man. Italian newspapers were not slow in announcing: “Cannavaro, it’s all true.” (Gazzetta dello Sport) and: “Golden Ball to Cannavaro.” (Corriere della Sera). Despite the excitable nature of the Italian media, it would appear that the issue is done and dusted. Which would change the purpose of this article from a preview of the front-runners, to a selection of the nearly men. However, the famous trophy is not yet causing the Italian skipper feng shui difficulties at chez Cannavaro and so I will continue with my initial intentions.

The Ballon D’Or was created in 1956 by France Football magazine. At a time when Europe had begun to come out from the hangover of World War II a decade earlier, and football was enjoying its progression as a worldwide game. The inaugural European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) was played out in the same year, and Stanley Matthews, the Blackpool winger was pronounced as Europe’s first Player of the Year. In the years that followed, the awards were dominated by the all conquering Madrid side, their forward Alfredo di Stefano claiming the title twice. The very idea of the award showed that football was now a sport that could bring people of different countries together, such an important factor when we consider that much of the continent had been a battlefield little over a decade before. Despite being held by France’s leading football publication, the award is based upon the considered opinion of journalists Europe-wide.

The award has been pretty evenly distributed around the leading lights of European club football over the years, Juventus lead the way with a total of eight winners (a total that could well have been further extended had the Calciopoli match fixing scandal not intervened), AC Milan (seven), Barcelona (six), Real Madrid (five) and Bayern Munich (five) all follow. Of course we must take into consideration that the award ceremony is traditionally held in November of every year, so many victorious players may well have been at new clubs at the time of the award, having earned the plaudits that lead to the prize at another side (both Luis Figo and Ronaldo are examples of this, having only moved to Madrid a few months prior to the presentation). The only major change in the award since it began came in 1995 when it was decreed that the winner need not be European in nationality himself, merely have his contract held by a club that comes under UEFA’s jurisdiction (much to the delight of the Liberian forward George Weah who took full advantage of the rule change in 1995).

An obvious start point for such an award would be to begin where we left off last year. The Brazilian Ronaldinho, who won last years award (to sit proudly on the mantelpiece next to his World Player of the Year award) to reconfirm him as being regarded as the planet’s finest player. The Barcelona man, by his very high standards, had a disappointing year. Despite adding the Champions League to his collection of medals, he was relatively below par in the World Cup (a competition that usually can be considered the deciding factor for the award) as his Brazilian side (and pre-tournament favourites) limped out in the quarter finals having been widely tipped to take a sixth title. Of his compatriots, only really Kaka’ shone in Germany and unfortunately the AC Milan forward ended the season medal-less despite enhancing his growing reputation as a force to be reckoned with in world football, and possible future winner of the award.

As we have previously examined, major tournaments often have a large impact on who is to be the recipient of the award. Take, for example, Ronaldo’s Ballon D’Or of 2002. Following yet another injury plagued season in Italy with Internazionale, el phenominon (as he is known by his adoring fans) turned it on in the Far East to help Brazil claim a fifth World Cup, scoring an incredible eight goals along the way and exorcised the some of the demons of his breakdown in the 1998 competition. Although many commented that surely seven games does not make a season, Ronaldo, who had since joined the Galacticos of Madrid, took the coveted prize.

From this theory, we can assume that this year’s victor will most likely hail from Italy. As previously mentioned, all of this talk is fairly irrelevant as Fabio Cannavaro has been, although as yet unconfirmed, declared by his club’s president as the winner. In reality, should this be the case, few could argue. The Italian captain was a lion in the heart of the formidable Italian defence that provoked headlines of ‘campione del mondo’ (‘champions of the world’) across the Mediterranean peninsula. However, the 33 year old former Juventus man is himself not getting as excited as his President (at least not before the famous ‘fat lady’ has had her moment). Cannavaro has said: “Of course I would like to win it. It would be wonderful and very gratifying on a personal level.”

As well as the Madrid man, Italy can boast strong claims for the award through both midfielder Andrea Pirlo and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Pirlo, during the previous season with Milan, and the World Cup with his nation, enhanced the reputation that he had, in his early career at least, threatened without ever achieving. Some superb displays in the heart of the Azzuri’s midfield raised Pirlo’s profile to be rated amongst the continent’s finest in his position, although lack of success on the domestic front may have cost him. More interesting though, is the calls for the award to be given to Gigi Buffon. The Juventus and Italy stopper has long been regarded as the finest in the World in his position. In Germany, Buffon further embellished this claim. Some heroic performances, most notably in the semi final against the hosts and his penalty saving performance to claim the trophy in the final, gave credence to him becoming only the second goalkeeper to win the award. In claiming the Ballon D’Or he would truly claim a place amongst the greats as the only other ‘number one’ to have won the award was the Russian Lev Yashin in 1963. He also has the support of Italy legend, and former European Footballer of the Year, Gianni Rivera. Upon hearing of Cannavaro’s premature victory, Rivera proclaimed: “I would have chosen Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon but if it is true that Fabio is to win it, I’m happy anyway.”

If the Golden Ball is to head to Italy, it will be the country’s forth winner after Rivera himself (1969), Paolo Rossi (1982) and Roberto Baggio (1993).

However, not all are in agreement that the award should be given to an Italian. Upon hearing Ramon Calderon’s claims, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacted in typically defiant fashion: “Congratulations to Cannavaro if that’s the case,” Wenger said Friday. “But for me there’s only one candidate this year, it’s Thierry Henry. He just deserves it.

In retrospect, this is a fair argument. Henry appeared in both of the showpiece events in world football during 2006, and despite being on the losing side in both the World Cup and Champions League finals, getting to both is a testament to the man. Henry is widely regarded to have been the best striker in world football of the past few seasons. Consistently the English Premiership’s leading marksman and considered amongst the finest ever to have graced these shores, so perhaps, for once, Mr Wenger has seen something, he went onto say: “What does he have to do? Just to keep going. Sometimes you get rewarded at the moment where you expect it the least. That’s as well the sign of a superchamp.”

Other possible contenders are pretty thin on the ground. Samuel Eto’o of Barcelona was at his explosive best helping propel his side to titles in both La Liga and the Champions League, although not appearing in the summer’s festival of football due to Cameroon’s failure to qualify did not help his cause, as neither did the long term knee injury that will keep the striker out of action until the new year. The Portuguese midfielder Deco is another who has been mentioned in relation to the award. The diminutive string puller was considered to have been as, if not more, vital than Ronaldinho to Barcelona’s success last term. Another option, and one for the romantics, would be if the award was to go to Zinedine Zidane. The mercurial Frenchman finally hung up his golden boots during the summer after dragging his nation to the final. Some imposing performances from the one di Stefano dubbed ‘the maestro’ won Zizou the World Cup Golden Ball for being the tournament’s most outstanding player. However, we all know how it ended and, head-butts aside, the play-maker had a relatively poor season with Real Madrid.

With all considered, I feel I am largely discussing the competitors in a race already won. From a personal perspective I find this somewhat disappointing as it appears to be the closest competition for the award for some time. Not that I do not perceive Cannavaro a worthy winner, we have to go all the way back to Franz Beckenbauer in 1976 to find our last defender to have won the prize in a roll-of-honour dominated by players more accustomed to creating and scoring goals rather than stopping them. In this similar vein it would appear that given our three perceived favourites of Cannavaro, Buffon and Henry, only one is a striker. Perhaps a reflection upon the changing face of football? Perhaps merely a reflection of an Italian World Cup win? Either way, for me it is sad that such a prestigious award may not be announced with all of the pomp and ceremony that the eventual winner would undoubtedly deserve.

Do You Know All About The Debt Consolidation Loan That You Are Taking

Posted on January 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

I heard a friend saying that he no more feared debts because of the ease with which he can repay them through a debt consolidation loan. Is it so easy to counter debts through a debt consolidation loan? Are there any issues attached to this method of debt settlement that needs appropriate consideration? The following article is a guide to debt consolidation loans in the UK and discusses important issues that linger in the mind of borrowers related to it.

It is really easy to avail of debt consolidation loans. Almost every lender in the UK would willingly offer you the necessary finance to eliminate your debts. This is even when there is no collateral to back the loan amount. Gone are the days when the persons in debts were considered pariah. Debt is an accepted fact, which with the present materialistic lifestyle crops up because of increasing expenses. Thus, debtors are able to get finance easily to settle their debts.

However, there is a limit to the times that one can push his finances to the edges. Accumulating a huge mound of debts every time to be cleared through a debt consolidation loan will be unwise. When the debt consolidation loan has been secured on ones home or certain moveable or immoveable assets, the stake is directly on the asset pledged. Incapability to repay loan instalments will result into repossession of the asset. Even when the debt consolidation loan is unsecured, lender has the right to recover the amount unpaid through court proceedings.

Another argument for a judicious use of debt consolidation loans is that the equity in home so consumed could have been used for other important purposes. Equity in the home makes the borrower eligible for better deals in whatever loan that he approaches for. Having consumed the whole equity will force the borrower to accept deals at par with the non-homeowners or at comparatively higher rates of interest.

Doesn’t that make up a good case against the misuse of debt consolidation loans? The first step in preventing the misuse of debt consolidation loans is deciding when to allow the interference of a debt management agency. This step will involve gauging ones capability in relation to the debt amount. An accurate measure of the capability must be reached to avoid future repercussions. Engaging the services of a debt management agency when the debts can be easily eliminated through ones own resources will amount to a misuse of debt consolidation opportunities. On the other hand, not involving a debt management agency knowing that the debts are beyond reach will only give debts a greener pasture to grow without bounds. Thus, a proper appraisal of ones capability must precede any decision to draw debt consolidation loans.

Having accepted the intervention of the debt management agency, the next important task will be to decide the amount to be drawn as debt consolidation loan. No, you are not to quote an amount randomly. The best measure of the appropriate amount of debt consolidation loan can be had by consolidating or clustering the various debts. Debts include debts on account of credit cards, store bills, bank overdrafts, etc. While listing the debts for settlement, debtors must ensure that no debt is left unattended, whether big or small. The amount drawn under debt consolidation may exceed the amount of debts. Cheaper finance available for debt settlement can be saved for use in other purposes.

What distinguishes a debt consolidation loan from the other loans is the guidance provided by the lender in eliminating debts. This facility is purely optional and borrowers can themselves conduct the repayment. However, the facility that is being talked of is for individuals for whom it is difficult to take time out of their busy schedules. Moreover, they would willingly engage the services of the debt management agency to avoid confrontation with the creditors. Lastly, and the most important of all, debt management agencies have better faculties to deal with these situations. They are good negotiators and can bargain a deal that can save several pounds for the borrowers.

Like in any financial matter, the structure of the debt consolidation loan should be decided with prudence. By the structure of the loan is meant the terms on which the loan is taken. This includes the rate of interest, amount of monthly instalment, prepayment facility, etc. Do not hesitate in questioning the terms that you find unjustifiable. Take independent advice if necessary from independent financial advisors. This would be helpful because they have a specialised knowledge of the field. The independent financial advisors provide guidance on important matters related to the loan. Many easy to use softwares like debt consolidation loan calculator have also come up to help borrowers in the decision making process.

These steps, though being time consuming will ensure that the debt consolidation loan eliminates a burden and does not turn into one. A strict adherence of the steps ensures but not guarantees against the bad effects of the debt consolidation loan. However, there is the assurance that you took sufficient steps though the debt consolidation loan turned bad because of certain unavoidable factors.

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