Three things to watch for in Euro 2012

It’s day one of the Euro 2012 championship, the world’s most prestigious soccer tournament after the World Cup. Will Spain defend their title, or will a challenger like Germany or the Netherlands usurp the throne? How will Poland and Ukraine perform as the tournament’s first Eastern European hosts? Here are three things to watch for as the month-long tournament unfolds:

1. The favorites: Will the tournament be a repeat of World Cup 2010?

Armando Franca/AP
Germany team players listen to head coach Joachim Loew, center right, during the official training on the eve of the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group B match between Germany and Portugal in Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, June 8.

The European Championship tournament is widely considered second only to the World Cup in terms of talent and prestige. While the finals round of the Euro competition is smaller – 16 teams compared to the World Cup’s 32 – the concentration of top-flight teams, of which Europe has so many, means the quality of matches is higher.  
Indeed, an initial glance at the favorites indicates the European finals could be the World Cup 2010 in microcosm. Most pundits expect a repeat performance from the reigning World Cup champion Spain, which also won the last European championship in 2008. But the challengers look familiar as well: both Germany and the Netherlands, Spain’s opponents in the WC 2010 semi-finals and finals respectively, look set to challenge for the Euro 2012 title.
The Germans and the Dutch are not the only World Cup 2010 also-rans who have a shot at Euro 2012 greatness. The English and Portuguese, who fell to Germany and Spain respectively in the WC knockout rounds in 2010, both look to challenge. And France looks to be on the rebound from its moribund World Cup performance two years ago.

1 of 3

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.