Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Expanded Euro 2016 could be a blessing, not a curse


During a so far excellent Euro 2012, there have been rumblings of discontent over the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams in four years’ time.

The big football nations of Europe will in all likelihood dread playing an extra game en route to the latter stages of what will be a month-long Euro 2016, if they don’t get knocked out by one of what will be a pack of success-hungry underdogs. 

In contrast, there is little doubt that second and third tier teams were purring with delight after UEFA President Michel Platini boldly announced the tournament’s expansion from the present 16-team format. 

The likes of Scotland, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania and to an even bigger extent Wales, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Finland, as well as a myriad of other limited teams which qualify once in 20 odd years or never, have suddenly been given a real chance to appear regularly on the big stage, as have their fans who are largely confined to watching the Euros on television.   

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is Eduardo’s two-match ban too harsh?

UEFA's decision to hand Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva a two-match ban for diving has infuriated the Croatian media, many fans and national team coach Slaven Bilic.

"It is a shameful decision, especially in view of the fact that Eduardo personifies everything that's decent in professional sport," Bilic told Zagreb daily Vecernji List after learning the verdict.