History UsefulNotes / EuroFooty

18th Jul '16 5:55:39 PM KYCubbie
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* The '''UsefulNotes/EuropeanChampionship''': a quadrennial competition for all European national teams. Germany and Spain have won it 3 times, France twice, and once each for Greece, Denmark, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Italy and the USSR. Portugal are the reigning champions.
* The '''UsefulNotes/UEFAChampionsLeague''': a competition for the top European clubs; which is neither a league, nor is it (since 1997) for national champions only. The tournament runs from August to May. Real Madrid have 11 wins; AC Milan 7; FC Barcelona (aka "Barça"), Liverpool and Bayern Munich 5 each; and Ajax 4. The current champions are Real.

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* The '''UsefulNotes/EuropeanChampionship''': a quadrennial competition for all European national teams. Germany and Spain have won it 3 times, France twice, and once each for Portugal, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Italy and the USSR. Portugal are the reigning champions.
* The '''UsefulNotes/UEFAChampionsLeague''': a competition for the top European clubs; which is neither a league, nor is it (since 1997) for national champions only. The tournament runs from August to May. Real Madrid have 11 wins; AC Milan 7; FC Barcelona (aka "Barça"), Liverpool and Bayern Munich 5 each; and Ajax 4. The Real are the current champions are Real.champions.



'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final. Finally, In 2016 they surprised everyone by winning their first international trophy, defeating the host France in Euro 2016 Final, and they did it without Ronaldo, injured after 20 minutes. Portugal was not considered the favourite by bookmakers, but managed to advance in the knockout phase as third placed team, and reached the final by winning just one match in the 90' minutes (the semifinal against Wales)

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'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final. Finally, In in 2016 they surprised everyone by winning their first international trophy, defeating the host France in Euro 2016 Final, and they did it without Cristiano Ronaldo, injured after 20 minutes. Portugal was not considered the favourite by bookmakers, but managed to advance in the knockout phase as third placed a third-place team, and reached the final by winning just one match in the 90' minutes regular time (the semifinal against Wales)
Wales).



French club football has a wide range of strong teams, with a large number of clubs having historically won domestic honours - though Olympique Lyonnais monopolised the title from 2001/02 to 2007/08, with FC Girondins de Bordeaux breaking the streak in the following season. Nowadays, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have their own (lesser) monopoly on the title, having won the last four (2012/13–2015/16). However, French clubs have rarely challenged seriously internationally, with Marseille's 1993 Champions League win the only occasion on which a French club has won the top European honour. Other well-known clubs include Saint-Étienne (the country's most successful team with 10 victories, and runners-up of the 1976 European Cup), Nancy-Lorraine and AS Monaco (which came closest to repeating Marseille's feat, losing the 2004 Champions League final to FC Porto). Also, there is Stade de Reims, who supplied many players for the French team of the 1950s and was twice runner-up of the European Cup, in 1956 and 1959, losing both to Real Madrid, and now is playing at the second national league.

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French club football has a wide range of strong teams, with a large number of clubs having historically won domestic honours - though Olympique Lyonnais Lyonnais, often known just as Lyon, monopolised the title from 2001/02 to 2007/08, with FC Girondins de Bordeaux breaking the streak in the following season. Nowadays, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have their own (lesser) monopoly on the title, having won the last four (2012/13–2015/16). However, French clubs have rarely challenged seriously internationally, with Marseille's 1993 Champions League win the only occasion on which a French club has won the top European honour. Other well-known clubs include Saint-Étienne (the country's most successful team with 10 victories, and runners-up of the 1976 European Cup), Nancy-Lorraine and AS Monaco (which came closest to repeating Marseille's feat, losing the 2004 Champions League final to FC Porto). Also, there is Stade de Reims, who supplied many players for the French team of the 1950s and was twice runner-up of the European Cup, in 1956 and 1959, losing both to Real Madrid, and now is playing at the second national league.



* '''Bosnia''': White shirt with blue stripes on the right sleeve and torso, blue shorts, white socks. Bosnia and Herzegovina entered international football amidst the desolation of the Bosnian War. The country lay in ruins and many young players were killed or wounded during the war- or simply elected to play for other sides (whether due to ethnic intolerance or simply to earn money.) Needless to say, it was an unsurprisingly weak team. Things began to change rapidly for the better after enough time passed for new players to grow up and train without war surrounding them, like Hasan Salihamidžić (formerly from Bayern Munich) and Manchester City's Edin Džeko. Still: corruption, underfunding and management-team conflicts are endemic to Bosnian national football. Since the mid-00s Bosnia has gained a reputation as a confusing team to play against- keeping up with giants such as Spain, Portugal, France and Germany during away games on one day and getting absolutely smashed the next. Due to this inconsistency Bosnia had yet to qualify for a major tournament despite being ranked 21st out of 208 teams in the world rankings. Things are looking up for them, however, as they directly qualified for the 2014 World Cup by winning a qualifying group that also included Greece and Slovakia.

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* '''Bosnia''': White shirt with blue stripes on the right sleeve and torso, blue shorts, white socks. Bosnia and Herzegovina entered international football amidst the desolation of the Bosnian War. The country lay in ruins and many young players were killed or wounded during the war- or war—or simply elected to play for other sides (whether due to ethnic intolerance or simply to earn money.) money). Needless to say, it was an unsurprisingly weak team. Things began to change rapidly for the better after enough time passed for new players to grow up and train without war surrounding them, like Hasan Salihamidžić (formerly from Bayern Munich) and Manchester City's Edin Džeko. Still: corruption, underfunding and management-team conflicts are endemic to Bosnian national football. Since the mid-00s Bosnia has gained a reputation as a confusing team to play against- keeping up with giants such as Spain, Portugal, France and Germany during away games on one day and getting absolutely smashed the next. Due to this inconsistency Bosnia had yet to qualify for a major tournament despite being ranked 21st out of 208 teams in the world rankings. Things are looking up for them, however, as they directly qualified for the 2014 World Cup by winning a qualifying group that also included Greece and Slovakia.



* '''Iceland''': all blues with red accents on the shirt. As the smallest football nation, the team didn't really do much until they made their first major tournament appearance at Euro 2016 after upsetting the Netherlands. They proceeded to stun people by drawing against Portugal and Hungary before defeating Austria to advance to the knockout round where they upset England. Just to put this in perspective, England was composed of all top league players and a manager who was paid millions while Iceland had several semi-pro players and their manager is a part-time dentist. Even though they were defeated by hosts France right after, they earned the respect and love of football fans everywhere for their performance.
* '''Ireland''': green shirt and socks and white shorts. Perhaps the ''least'' football mad nation in Europe, at least when it comes to local clubs, with attendance figures for League of Ireland matches being far below those for Gaelic Football and Hurling (though it must be said the British clubs have a lot of fans and when the national team is playing interest increases dramatically.) While its clubs are not continental-level contenders, the national team has achieved some degree of success, qualifying for three World Cups and advancing from the first stage in all three.

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* '''Iceland''': all blues with red accents on the shirt. As one of the smallest football nation, nations, the team didn't really do much until they made their first major tournament appearance at Euro 2016 after upsetting the Netherlands. They proceeded to stun people by drawing against Portugal and Hungary before defeating Austria to advance to the knockout round where they upset England. Just to put this in perspective, England was composed of all top league players and a manager who was paid millions while Iceland had several semi-pro players and their manager is a part-time dentist. Even though they were defeated by hosts France right after, they earned the respect and love of football fans everywhere for their performance.
* '''Ireland''': green shirt and socks and white shorts. Perhaps the ''least'' football mad nation in Europe, at least when it comes to local clubs, with attendance figures for League of Ireland matches being far below those for Gaelic Football and Hurling (though it must be said the British clubs have a lot of fans and when the national team is playing interest increases dramatically.) dramatically). While its clubs are not continental-level contenders, the national team has achieved some degree of success, qualifying for three World Cups and advancing from the first stage in all three.



* '''Turkey''': white shirt with a red horizontal band and white shorts and socks. Showed the world what they are capable of by clinching the 2002 World Cup third place, but have since faded dramatically. Its main teams are all from Istanbul: Galatasaray (who beat Arsenal to the 2000 UEFA Cup win), Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. That Bursaspor won the 2010 national championship was a major upset made them only the second non-Istanbul club to do so; the other was six-times champion Trabzonspor.

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* '''Turkey''': white shirt with a red horizontal band and white shorts and socks. Showed the world what they are capable of by clinching the 2002 World Cup third place, but have since faded dramatically. Its main teams are all from Istanbul: Galatasaray (who beat Arsenal to the 2000 UEFA Cup win), Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. That Bursaspor won the 2010 national championship was in a major upset made them only the second non-Istanbul club to do so; the other was six-times champion Trabzonspor.



* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. This proved a mere prelude to a run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, with another win over Belgium along the way before Portugal ended their dream of glory. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.

to:

* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. This proved a mere prelude to a run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, with another win over Belgium along the way before Portugal ended their dream of glory. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table mid-table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.
11th Jul '16 2:37:32 AM MrValle
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'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final. They now have a second chance at Euro glory, as they have made the 2016 final, where they await the Germany–France winner.

to:

'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final. They now have a second chance at Finally, In 2016 they surprised everyone by winning their first international trophy, defeating the host France in Euro glory, as 2016 Final, and they have made did it without Ronaldo, injured after 20 minutes. Portugal was not considered the 2016 final, where they await favourite by bookmakers, but managed to advance in the Germany–France winner.
knockout phase as third placed team, and reached the final by winning just one match in the 90' minutes (the semifinal against Wales)
10th Jul '16 3:35:26 PM dwibs93
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* The '''UsefulNotes/EuropeanChampionship''': a quadrennial competition for all European national teams. Germany and Spain have won it 3 times, France twice, and once each for Greece, Denmark, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Italy and the USSR. Spain are the reigning champions.

to:

* The '''UsefulNotes/EuropeanChampionship''': a quadrennial competition for all European national teams. Germany and Spain have won it 3 times, France twice, and once each for Greece, Denmark, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Italy and the USSR. Spain Portugal are the reigning champions.
9th Jul '16 2:42:27 PM kquinn0830
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Added DiffLines:

* '''Iceland''': all blues with red accents on the shirt. As the smallest football nation, the team didn't really do much until they made their first major tournament appearance at Euro 2016 after upsetting the Netherlands. They proceeded to stun people by drawing against Portugal and Hungary before defeating Austria to advance to the knockout round where they upset England. Just to put this in perspective, England was composed of all top league players and a manager who was paid millions while Iceland had several semi-pro players and their manager is a part-time dentist. Even though they were defeated by hosts France right after, they earned the respect and love of football fans everywhere for their performance.
6th Jul '16 7:15:55 PM KYCubbie
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'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final.

to:

'''Portugal''' play in red shirt, white shorts and green socks and have been a frustrating side to support: [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut brilliant at times and with some hugely talented players but never ''quite'' able to parlay this into a trophy win]]. The closest they got to this was when they hosted Euro 2004, but surprisingly enough, they lost to Greece in the final.
final. They now have a second chance at Euro glory, as they have made the 2016 final, where they await the Germany–France winner.



Going into Euro 2016, the attitude was one of cautious optimism thanks to a crop of highly talented young players (with an average age of 25, England have the youngest squad at the tournament) who defied the English norm of a) [[WeAreStrugglingTogether not playing as a team]], b) [[MilesGloriosus collapsing like wet paper after going behind,]] which executed a faultless qualifying campaign (they won all ten of their matches, conceding only three goals) to become the first team to qualify after the hosts France and beating both France and Germany, the current World Champions, in friendlies. In the former case, it was just after the Bataclan Attacks, so French minds were understandably elsewhere and the focus was on [[DueToTheDead remembering the dead]] and the CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming that was the (somewhat uncharacteristic) English response. In the latter case, England came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Berlin and did so in style. Then Euro 2016 came around... and England made the knockout stage... and immediately crashed out to ''Iceland'', a team that had never before qualified to a major tournament. The British media went nuclear on England, immediately branding the loss the worst in the country's history;[[note]]even surpassing the infamous 1–0 defeat to the USA in England's first World Cup appearance in 1950[[/note]] manager Roy Hodgson resigned before the FA had a chance to fire him.

to:

Going into Euro 2016, the attitude was one of cautious optimism thanks to a crop of highly talented young players (with an average age of 25, England have the youngest squad at the tournament) who defied the English norm of a) [[WeAreStrugglingTogether not playing as a team]], b) [[MilesGloriosus collapsing like wet paper after going behind,]] which executed a faultless qualifying campaign (they won all ten of their matches, conceding only three goals) to become the first team to qualify after the hosts France and beating both France and Germany, the current World Champions, in friendlies. In the former case, it was just after the Bataclan Attacks, so French minds were understandably elsewhere and the focus was on [[DueToTheDead remembering the dead]] and the CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming that was the (somewhat uncharacteristic) English response. In the latter case, England came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Berlin and did so in style. Then Euro 2016 came around... and England made the knockout stage... and immediately crashed out to ''Iceland'', a team that had never before qualified to a major tournament. The British media went nuclear on England, immediately branding the loss the worst in the country's history;[[note]]even surpassing the infamous 1–0 defeat to the USA in England's first World Cup appearance in 1950[[/note]] manager Roy Hodgson resigned before saved the FA had a chance to fire him.
the trouble of firing him by resigning.



* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. This proved a mere prelude to a run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, with another win over Belgium along the way. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.

to:

* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. This proved a mere prelude to a run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, with another win over Belgium along the way.way before Portugal ended their dream of glory. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.
4th Jul '16 2:08:23 PM ScorpiusOB1
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'''Spain''' play in red shirt with yellow accents, blue shorts and black socks and, like Portugal, have often promised much and delivered little in the way of silverware. Unlike Portugal, however, the Spanish team (affectionately dubbed ''La Furia'', "The Fury", or ''La Roja'' after the red jerseys) have won the European Championship three times: once in 1964 and two consecutive titles in 2008 and 2012. The 2008 winning team also went on to record Spain's first World Cup win at the 2010 edition held in South Africa, and their hegemony was confirmed again at the Poland-Ukraine Euro 2012. They entered the 2014 World Cup as the reigning European and World champions, and were generally considered to be the best national side in the world—but their World Cup campaign went disastrously wrong, with ''La Roja'' assured of exiting in the group stage after their first two matches. Nonetheless, Spain is the first European champion to successfully defend the crown and the first national team in the world to win three back-to-back major international titles since Italy in 1934-36-38.

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'''Spain''' play in red shirt with yellow accents, blue shorts and black socks and, like Portugal, have often promised much and delivered little in the way of silverware. Unlike Portugal, however, the Spanish team (affectionately dubbed ''La Furia'', "The Fury", or ''La Roja'' after the red jerseys) have won the European Championship three times: once in 1964 and two consecutive titles in 2008 and 2012. The 2008 winning team also went on to record Spain's first World Cup win at the 2010 edition held in South Africa, and their hegemony was confirmed again at the Poland-Ukraine Euro 2012. They entered the 2014 World Cup as the reigning European and World champions, and were generally considered to be the best national side in the world—but their World Cup campaign went disastrously wrong, with ''La Roja'' assured of exiting in the group stage after their first two matches.matches, as well as in the 2016 European Championship when Italy defeated them after the knockout stage. Nonetheless, Spain is the first European champion to successfully defend the crown and the first national team in the world to win three back-to-back major international titles since Italy in 1934-36-38.
4th Jul '16 2:37:52 AM KYCubbie
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'''Italy''' play in blue shirt and socks and white shorts and are (as of 2014 together with Germany) the most successful European team in the [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cup]], their 2006 triumph being their fourth - although their 1934 win on home soil remains controversial, thanks to Mussolini's attempts to influence referees. Due to their geographical closeness, Italy has a major rivalry with [[SiblingRivalry France]], increased in the last decades with France eliminating Italy with penalties in 1998 World Cup Quarters (and then winning the tournament), and again winning in 2000 European Championships Final scoring the equalizer gol in the [[DownToTheLastPlay last second of the match]] and then winning in the Golden Goals. However Italy has been able to get his [[Revenge]] in 2006 World Cup Final, defeating the old rivals with the penalties and winning the tournament in front of them. The two teams faced each other again in 2008 European Championship Group Stage, with Italy defeating France, kicking them out of the tournament and advacing to the next round (only to be defeated by Spain).

Despite being one of the most successful Wuropean sides, Italy is famous for winning when they're not considered favourites by the bookmakers. In the 1982 World Cup for instance, their victory came as something of a shock. After an underwhelming first group stage, they defeated both Brasil and Argentina (with Brasil in particular being the favourite by bookmakers to win the tournament) in the second round and then beat West Germany in the final. Again in the 1994 World Cup, after only advancing from the group stage as one of the best third placed teams, they were able to reach the final and only lost, on the penalties, against Brasil (thanks to the infamous missed penalty by Roberto Baggio, [[TheLeader the biggest star in the team]]). The last example is in 2006 World Cup; after a huge match-fixing scandal in Italian Football which saw most of the big teams forcibly relegated to the lower divisions and/or being stripped of any titles won that year (namely Juventus - which paved the way for Internazionale to regain domination of Italian football, having not been national champions for 16 years at that point), the national team was able to avoid any distraction and go forward to win the World Cup making a huge comeback.

In recent years, despite reaching the European Championship Final in 2012 (where they were [[CurbstompBattle curbstomped]] 4-0 by the all-conquering Spain), the Italian team is in something of a transition period, with the best players retiring and the new leads not being good enough to make a team that can compete with the best.

Italian sides have also been very strong in Europe, and there are several different teams that have won major honours at home and internationally: [[RedOni AC Milan]] and [[BlueOni Internazionale]] (both from Milan) won respectively seven and three European Cups, [[BoringInvincibleHero Juventus]] of Turin is the most dominating team inside the borders, with 32 and counting titles. Other famous teams are [[SiblingRivalry AS Roma and Lazio]] from the capital, [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut Fiorentina]] of Florence and [[AlwaysSecondBest Napoli]]. In recent years, however, the reputation of the Serie A for quality has taken a nose dive, being eclipsed by the resurgent Bundesliga. However, this may be changing, due to Juventus reaching the 2015 Champions League final.

'''Germany''' play in white shirts (sometimes with highlights in the flag's black/red/gold colors) and socks and black shorts, and the current national team is regarded as the continuation of the old West German team which won three [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cups]] (in 1954, 1974 and 1990). In 2014 they won their fourth overall World Cup title and their first as a unified nation. If Italy is the most successful World cup team in terms of victories, Germany beats them statistically by a longshot, thanks to their [[GermanicEfficiency consistency]]: out of their 18 appearances, they reached the final 8 times, and were semifinalists 6 other times. Germany have a reputation for being a tough team to beat, even when they're having an off-day, and are a particular bogey team for England. It is perhaps for this reason that it was an English footballer (specifically, Gary Lineker), who remarked that "Football is a simple game. Twenty two men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win." That said, the most recent match ended in a stunning comeback win for England in Berlin, having been 2-0 down before winning 3-2. Have a strong rivalry with the Dutch based [[strike:partly on WorldWarTwo history and partly]] on the German win over the Dutch in 1974. Their own bogey team is Italy, with Germany's only win in a competitive match against them having come on penalties in their most recent encounter in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals.

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'''Italy''' play in blue shirt and socks and white shorts and are (as of 2014 together with Germany) the most successful European team in the [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cup]], their 2006 triumph being their fourth - although their 1934 win on home soil remains controversial, thanks to Mussolini's attempts to influence referees. Due to their geographical closeness, Italy has a major rivalry with [[SiblingRivalry France]], increased in the last decades with France eliminating Italy with on penalties in the 1998 World Cup Quarters quarterfinals (and then winning the tournament), and again winning in the Euro 2000 European Championships Final final, scoring the equalizer gol in the [[DownToTheLastPlay last second of the match]] and then winning in the Golden Goals. on a golden goal. However Italy has been was able to get his [[Revenge]] its {{revenge}} in the 2006 World Cup Final, defeating the old rivals with the rival on penalties and winning the tournament in front of them. The two teams faced each other again in the Euro 2008 European Championship Group Stage, group stage, with Italy defeating France, kicking them out of the tournament and advacing advancing to the next round (only to be defeated by Spain).

Despite being one of the most successful Wuropean European sides, Italy is famous for winning when they're not considered favourites by the bookmakers. In the 1982 World Cup for instance, their victory came as something of a shock. After an underwhelming first group stage, they defeated both Brasil Brazil and Argentina (with Brasil Brazil in particular being the favourite by bookmakers to win the tournament) in the second round and then beat West Germany in the final. Again in the 1994 World Cup, after only advancing from the group stage as one of the best third placed teams, they were able to reach the final and only lost, on the penalties, against Brasil Brazil (thanks to the infamous missed penalty by Roberto Baggio, [[TheLeader the biggest star in the team]]). The last example is was in the 2006 World Cup; after a huge match-fixing scandal in Italian Football football which saw most of the big teams forcibly relegated to the lower divisions and/or being stripped of any titles won that year (namely Juventus - which paved the way for Internazionale to regain domination of Italian football, having not been national champions for 16 years at that point), the national team was able to avoid any distraction and go forward to win the World Cup making a huge comeback.

In recent years, despite reaching the European Championship Final in 2012 (where they were [[CurbstompBattle curbstomped]] {{curbstomp|Battle}}ed 4-0 by the all-conquering Spain), the Italian team is in something of a transition period, with the best players retiring and the new leads leaders not being good enough to make a team that can compete with the best.

Italian sides have also been very strong in Europe, and there are several different teams that have won major honours at home and internationally: [[RedOni AC Milan]] and [[BlueOni Internazionale]] (both from Milan) won respectively seven and three European Cups, [[BoringInvincibleHero Juventus]] of Turin is the most dominating team inside the borders, with 32 and counting titles. Other famous teams are [[SiblingRivalry AS Roma and Lazio]] from the capital, [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut Fiorentina]] of Florence and [[AlwaysSecondBest Napoli]]. In recent years, however, the reputation of the Serie A for quality has taken a nose dive, being eclipsed by the resurgent Bundesliga. However, this may be changing, due to Juventus reaching the 2015 Champions League final.

'''Germany''' play in white shirts (sometimes with highlights in the flag's black/red/gold colors) and socks and black shorts, and the current national team is regarded as the continuation of the old West German team which won three [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cups]] (in 1954, 1974 and 1990). In 2014 they won their fourth overall World Cup title and their first as a unified nation. If Italy is the most successful World cup Cup team in terms of victories, Germany beats them statistically by a longshot, thanks to their [[GermanicEfficiency consistency]]: out of their 18 appearances, they reached the final 8 times, and were semifinalists 6 other times. Germany have a reputation for being a tough team to beat, even when they're having an off-day, and are a particular bogey team for England. It is perhaps for this reason that it was an English footballer (specifically, Gary Lineker), who remarked that "Football is a simple game. Twenty two Twenty-two men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win." That said, the most recent match ended in a stunning comeback win for England in Berlin, having been 2-0 down before winning 3-2. Have a strong rivalry with the Dutch based [[strike:partly on WorldWarTwo history and partly]] on the German win over the Dutch in 1974. Their own bogey team is Italy, with Germany's only win in a competitive match against them having come on penalties in their most recent encounter in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals.



* '''Austria''': red shirt and socks and white shorts. Was known as the ''Wunderteam'' (Wonder Team) in the 1930s, before Nazi annexation crippled the team from its foundations. Along with Switzerland, was one of the joint hosts of the 2008 European Championship. Main clubs: Rapid Wien (from Vienna, most nationally successful team, with 32 league trophies), Austria Wien (trailing behind their rivals Rapid, with 23 wins) and Red Bull Salzburg (current two-time champions).

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* '''Austria''': red shirt and socks and white shorts. Was known as the ''Wunderteam'' (Wonder Team) in the 1930s, before Nazi annexation crippled the team from its foundations. Along with Switzerland, was one of the joint hosts of the 2008 European Championship. Main clubs: Rapid Wien (from Vienna, most nationally successful team, with 32 league trophies), Austria Wien (trailing behind their rivals Rapid, with 23 wins) and Red Bull Salzburg (current two-time champions).(winners of seven of the last 10 titles, with a current streak of three).
4th Jul '16 2:28:09 AM KYCubbie
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'''Germany''' play in white shirts (sometimes with highlights in the flag's black/red/gold colors) and socks and black shorts, and the current national team is regarded as the continuation of the old West German team which won three [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cups]] (in 1954, 1974 and 1990). In 2014 they won their fourth overall World Cup title and their first as a unified nation. If Italy is the most successful World cup team in terms of victories, Germany beats them statistically by a longshot, thanks to their [[GermanicEfficiency consistency]]: out of their 18 appearances, they reached the final 8 times, and were semifinalists 6 other times. Germany have a reputation for being a tough team to beat, even when they're having an off-day, and are a particular bogey team for England. It is perhaps for this reason that it was an English footballer (specifically, Gary Lineker), who remarked that "Football is a simple game. Twenty two men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win." That said, the most recent match ended in a stunning comeback win for England in Berlin, having been 2-0 down before winning 3-2. Have a strong rivalry with the Dutch based [[strike:partly on WorldWarTwo history and partly]] on the German win over the Dutch in 1974. Their own bogey team is Italy, with Germany never having won a competitive match against them.

to:

'''Germany''' play in white shirts (sometimes with highlights in the flag's black/red/gold colors) and socks and black shorts, and the current national team is regarded as the continuation of the old West German team which won three [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup World Cups]] (in 1954, 1974 and 1990). In 2014 they won their fourth overall World Cup title and their first as a unified nation. If Italy is the most successful World cup team in terms of victories, Germany beats them statistically by a longshot, thanks to their [[GermanicEfficiency consistency]]: out of their 18 appearances, they reached the final 8 times, and were semifinalists 6 other times. Germany have a reputation for being a tough team to beat, even when they're having an off-day, and are a particular bogey team for England. It is perhaps for this reason that it was an English footballer (specifically, Gary Lineker), who remarked that "Football is a simple game. Twenty two men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win." That said, the most recent match ended in a stunning comeback win for England in Berlin, having been 2-0 down before winning 3-2. Have a strong rivalry with the Dutch based [[strike:partly on WorldWarTwo history and partly]] on the German win over the Dutch in 1974. Their own bogey team is Italy, with Germany never having won Germany's only win in a competitive match against them.
them having come on penalties in their most recent encounter in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals.



* '''Belgium''' play in red shirt, black shorts and yellow socks and, despite never really challenging for honours, have usually produced a much better team than you might expect of a small nation deeply divided along linguistic grounds. In fact, in early 2016, the "Red Devils" briefly reached #1 in the FIFA World Rankings (they entered Euro 2016 at #2). Co-hosted the 2000 European Championship with the Netherlands. Belgian club football is dominated by Anderlecht of Brussels and Club Brugge of Bruges, with Brugge being the current champions. Club Brugge did make it to the European Cup final in 1978, the furthest a Belgian team has gone in that competition.

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* '''Belgium''' play in red shirt, black shorts and yellow socks and, despite never really challenging for honours, have usually produced a much better team than you might expect of a small nation deeply divided along linguistic grounds. In fact, in early 2016, the "Red Devils" briefly reached #1 in the FIFA World Rankings (they entered Euro 2016 at #2).#2, but went out in the quarterfinals to Wales). Co-hosted the 2000 European Championship with the Netherlands. Belgian club football is dominated by Anderlecht of Brussels and Club Brugge of Bruges, with Brugge being the current champions. Club Brugge did make it to the European Cup final in 1978, the furthest a Belgian team has gone in that competition.



* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.

to:

* '''Wales''': red shirt with green stripes on the shoulder, red shorts and socks. Historically something of a joke and possibly the weakest of the so-called 'Home Nations', partly because the near religious reverence that the Welsh have historically held for rugby. Despite this, Wales has produced a number of great players, such as legendary Liverpool striker and all time top scorer Ian Rush, Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs. They were ranked 117th in 2011, they have progressively risen improved, only stalling because of the tragic suicide of their relatively young manager, Gary Speed. The emergence of fearsomely talented players such as Real Madrid winger (and most expensive player in history) Gareth Bale, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and to a lesser extent, Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen combined with Wales' strong team ethos has led to a meteoric rise up the rankings, breaking into the top 10 in July 2015 for the first time in their history thanks to being unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualifying, including a win over the highly rated and then World #2 team, Belgium. This proved a mere prelude to a run to the Euro 2016 semifinals, with another win over Belgium along the way. While Wales has its own league, the two best teams, Swansea and Cardiff, play in the English leagues, Swansea establishing themselves in the Premier League as an upper mid table side and winning the League Cup in 2013. Cardiff, by contrast, were promoted, then relegated the following year.
29th Jun '16 11:00:06 AM KYCubbie
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The two giants of Spanish club football are Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the rivalry between whom is intensified by politics and what can only be called a centuries old historical vendetta: Barcelona is capital of Catalonia, a proudly different region of Spain with its own language and customs, both of which were repressed during the Franco years. Consequently, the team became a centre of Catalan culture and a rallying point. Real ("Royal") Madrid, on the other hand, were Franco's "pet" team and ambassadors for the regime... Both teams have won many European honours, though Real Madrid have the edge with a record ''eleven'' European Cup/Champions League wins, five of them in a row in the late 1950s. Other teams include Atlético de Madrid (third force of the country; 1974, 2014, and 2016 European runner-up) and Valencia CF (runner-up of the 2000 and 2001 Champions Leagues).

to:

The two giants of Spanish club football are Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the rivalry between whom is intensified by politics and what can only be called a centuries old historical vendetta: Barcelona is capital of Catalonia, a proudly different region of Spain with its own language and customs, both of which were repressed during the Franco [[UsefulNotes/FranciscoFranco Franco]] years. Consequently, the team became a centre of Catalan culture and a rallying point. Real ("Royal") Madrid, on the other hand, were Franco's "pet" team and ambassadors for the regime... Both teams have won many European honours, though Real Madrid have the edge with a record ''eleven'' European Cup/Champions League wins, five of them in a row in the late 1950s. Other teams include Atlético de Madrid (third force of the country; 1974, 2014, and 2016 European runner-up) and Valencia CF (runner-up of the 2000 and 2001 Champions Leagues).
29th Jun '16 10:58:41 AM KYCubbie
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* '''Belgium''' play in red shirt, black shorts and yellow socks and, despite never really challenging for honours, have usually produced a much better team than you might expect of a small nation deeply divided along linguistic grounds. In fact, in early 2016, the "Red Devils" briefly reached #1 in the FIFA World Rankings (now #2 as of May 2016). Co-hosted the 2000 European Championship with the Netherlands. Belgian club football is dominated by Anderlecht of Brussels and Club Brugge of Bruges, with Brugge being the current champions. Club Brugge did make it to the European Cup final in 1978, the furthest a Belgian team has gone in that competition.

to:

* '''Belgium''' play in red shirt, black shorts and yellow socks and, despite never really challenging for honours, have usually produced a much better team than you might expect of a small nation deeply divided along linguistic grounds. In fact, in early 2016, the "Red Devils" briefly reached #1 in the FIFA World Rankings (now #2 as of May 2016).(they entered Euro 2016 at #2). Co-hosted the 2000 European Championship with the Netherlands. Belgian club football is dominated by Anderlecht of Brussels and Club Brugge of Bruges, with Brugge being the current champions. Club Brugge did make it to the European Cup final in 1978, the furthest a Belgian team has gone in that competition.
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