Spain beat Italy with a score of 4-0 and won the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (also called Euro 2012). Euro 2012 was held in two countries, Poland and Ukraine, from June 8 to July 1. Sixteen countries participated in the soccer tournament. The Championship started in 1960 and is held every four years. It is considered to be one of the world’s major sporting events. Spain also won Euro 2008, and is the only nation that has won the European Football Championship twice in a row. Andres Iniesta, a 28-year old Spanish footballer, was named the best player of Euro 2012.
The ball used in the Championship was made by Adidas, a German company. Some of the colors used on the ball represent the colors of the flags of the two host countries (Ukraine’s flag has bands of blue and yellow and Poland’s flag has bands of white and red). The Euro 2012 logo, also drawn on the ball, is made up of flowers. The logo represents paper cutting, called Vytynanky or Wycinanki, which is a craft popular in both the host nations.
Soccer’s original name is “Association Football”. Most countries around the world just call it “football”. Some countries that have another sport called football, refer to it as “soccer”. Why “soccer”? “Association Football” was referred to as “Assoc” for short, which became “socca” and then “soccer”.
Many people are extremely passionate about soccer, and the game has played a role in both “peace” and “war”! In 1967, Nigerians stopped an ongoing civil war for 2 days so that they could watch a famous soccer player, Pele, play a match. In 1970, a four day war broke out between Honduras and El Salvador after fans insulted and harassed each other’s teams (though, tensions were already high between the two countries before the match). In 2009, two sports companies, Puma and Adidas, played a friendly soccer game ending a 60 year old rivalry.
Did you know?
Two brothers in a small town in Germany started a sportswear company in 1924. As the years went by, the brothers started fighting. In 1948, the brothers split their company into two, creating Puma and Adidas.
Image Credits: Mongo444 for the soccer Adidas ball image; Кирилл Крыжановский for the image of Andres Iniesta