I know soccer in this country will never be in the top 5 of sports as far as interest level. I understand that. I am not a soccer snob who can't possibly understand why people don't like the sport. I understand why people don't like it. That being said the Euro 2008 Tournament, and today's game between Germany and Turkey, is as exciting as it gets in sports.
For a little background Germany as always is one of the top teams in the world. Turkey is the upstart team in this year's Euro. The Turkish team was without 5 players today due to card suspensions. That meant that going into today's game they only had 13 players available for the game. Turkey was listed as an 8-1 underdog in the European sports books. Germany fell behind 1-0 and then took the lead in the second half 2-1. But Turkey came back to score late in the second half to tie the game. Germany then comes back with a goal in the final minute for the win. It was an incredible game.
What made it more exciting and frustrating at the same time was that ESPN kept losing their feed due to the weather in Switzerland. It felt like we went back to a time of listening to the radio and picturing the game in your imagination. It was a blast watching this in the sports office this afternoon.
Tomorrow Germany will find out who they are playing. Russia comes into the game after shocking the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Spain has looked great thus far but historically speaking Spain is one of the greatest choke artists in world soccer history. It will be very entertaining tomorrow to watch. So I would strongly recommend if you have access to ESPN in the middle of the afternoon to turn it on.
I often compare soccer to NBA Basketball. Regular season games where nothing is on the line has little interest to me. But when the stakes are the highest, as the Euro 2008 is, the games are played at a level that makes the game and the sport the most spectacular. When a game is played for country, like soccer is, it is one of the most entertaining sports event to watch.
Euro 2008 has given a glimpse to the American viewer into how big the event is in Europe. It has been a blast to watch this past month and it shows how great soccer is when played at the highest levels.