2016, the Summer for Football Glory
While the season may be seen in a time where the roar of the crowd becomes a mere distant whisper, the summer of 2016 has reignited the spark for football, but not for club wins. Instead, this is for honor, pride, and glory for every single country participating in the Copa America, Euros, and summer 2016 Olympics. Usually during this time, soccer fans and critics alike will have to resort to the summer transfer window as their only source of entertainment until the start of the season in August. But for 2016, we are greeted with the gift of life where the honor for redemption, success, and fame will be battled out for the ultimate international football glory.
To start, seeing big name players like Messi, Gareth Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo win back to back silverware for their clubs is an incredible sight. But to see these players bring international glory to their countries is a completely different story. Unlike the club level, the international football competition will always be seen as a sense of pride and honor for these players. For them, each win is not a step closer to a trophy. Instead, it is a memory that will be forever be marked into their country’s history. In the grand scheme of things, international level competitions are our modern day war where every game is a battle and every win is a national treasure.
During this summer, we will be witnessing three incredible competitions. On the Western side of the world, we have the Copa America where 16 nations have already begun to battle it out for the international bragging rights of the Americans. And across the pond on the Eastern side of the world, we have the infamous UEFA European Championship, a competition held with 24 nations fighting to be the champions of Europe. Last but not least, we have the 2016 Olympics where nations will seek redemption after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
For the Copa America, while at times over shined by their European counterparts, is one of the oldest and most widely viewed event in the world. Held every four years, this international continental football competition contest 16 nations within the North, South, and Central America to compete for the title. During this summer, the Copa is held on United States soil for the first time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of South America’s regional championship. With the competition already hitting the quarterfinals, we have already seen an incredible display of play from the top-seed Argentina, ‘The Chip on their Shoulder’ Colombia, the former Copa America champions Chile, and the prideful underdogs the United States of America. For some of these teams, they have already surpassed the expectations set upon them during the start of the campaign. For others, like Argentina, their pride and honor rely on them only winning the competition. Whatever happens, just know, you will be in for an exhilarating treat.
Now for Europe, the UEFA European Championship, held every four years since 1960, is an international football competition played across 24 selected nations. While Spain currently holds the title as the champions of Europe, the World Cup champions, Germany, will continue to be seen as the powerhouse and favorites to win the title. Still, in the world of football, anything could happen. Just this weekend we saw the magic of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal fall flat in the tournament. While the road to glory will never be easy, the group stages definitely give us insight to who can be our next Kings of Europe.
Last but not least, we have the summer 2016 Olympics hosted in Brazil. As much of an honor as it is to represent your country in this type of international stage, the Olympics will always be a step below the Copa and Euros. The reason why is that many high-level international star players will be forced to opt out in order to represent their country for either the Copa or Euros. Regardless, the title, honor, and recognition of winning the bronze, silver, or gold medal will be something special for those nations. Some countries have even gone as far as to pull some of their best players away from the two competitions so that they are playing ready for the gold medal.
So to my soccer fans, enjoy this summer because soon we will be seeing a majority of these countries take the battle in the holy grail of tournaments, the 2018 World Cup.