Playing Out Euro 2020 Based on the Participant’s National Anthems – Because Why Not?

Playing Out Euro 2020 Based on the Participant's National Anthems - Because Why Not?
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​It’s not happening this year. Whether they’re still intent on calling it Euro 2020 or not, all our pre-summer excitement has been quelled for another 365(ish) sodding days.

While there will likely be plenty of us playing out the tournament virtually in the hopes of recreating something remotely similar to the actual event, in times like these, we best think outside the box. 

Theoretically and literally, that is, since we’re all confined to the four walls we’re isolating in and slowly starting to ponder whether instant noodles are a nutritious accompaniment to frozen hash browns.

So, in an effort to bring the public what they want – without a ball being kicked – 90min has proposed we finish the competition anyway. Only this time, based on the respective countries’ national anthems.

Whether you like your nation’s or not, whether you’re secretly jealous yours isn’t as powerful as your bitter rival’s or whether you couldn’t care tuppence, fear not, we’re here to help.

Without further ado, here we go playing out Euro 2020/21 based on those brief moments that occur while all the players lock arms and do their upmost not to look into the camera.

Disclaimer: Apologies if you disagree. But equally, it’s not that big of a deal. After all, this isn’t real.


Determining the Unclaimed Spots

As you will know, some nations have yet to decide their fates. A series of playoffs are still due to take place and, don’t worry, they will. So ease up, yeah, we haven’t forgotten about Scotland.

Playoff Semi-Finals

To lessen the load, Romania (already forgot it), Bulgaria (meh), Northern Ireland (England suffer a similar fate), Slovakia (dull), Isreal (so flat), Norway (sorry Haaland), Georgia (forgettable) and Kosovo (unlucky in fairness) fall short in their ties.

Promise you though, there was a thorough and objective call made on all these semi-finals. 

Playoff Finals

James Forrest,Greg Taylor,Callum McGregor

Hungary vs Iceland – Despite a 65-year-old Zoltan Gera coming out of retirement for this one, it’s not enough as Iceland reach the promised land with their gorgeous anthem. Not a thunder clap in sight.

Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Republic of Ireland – Stephen Kenny’s men march on to the finals. Breaking Bosnian hearts along the way, a special mention is given to their sweet, but ultimately too short anthem. Didn’t have the legs.

Serbia vs Scotland – There is nothing more menacing than seeing Aleksandar Kolarov growl with passion as his nation’s anthem, but ultimately, the sense of pride and the unofficial ‘basturts!’ line in ‘Flower of Scotland’ edges this one ever so slightly.

Belarus vs North Macedonia – The unthinkable happens, somehow, against all the odds, North Macedonia find themselves in the European Championships. Todor Skalovski’s beautifully crafted and composed piece does the business.


Group Stages

Still with us? Not utterly disgraced, shocked or appalled yet? Fantastic, then let’s move on into the nitty gritty of this imaginary competition.

In normal circumstances, national anthems are a source of pride and patriotism. When they’re bellowed around football stadiums ahead of international fixtures, they become battle cries of sorts. They represent the history, tradition and beliefs of a nation and its people, and this can prove crucial in giving the players the extra jolt they need to win a football match.

However, this is just about how nice they sound. So, enough of that, let’s move onto the group stages.

Group A – Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales

FBL-EUR-EURO-2020-DRAW

Matchday 1: Turkey vs Italy – The powerful drum beat of the Turkish anthem is enough to inspire. But, but, have you heard Italy’s? It’s early days yet, but we’re looking at a serious contender for the title here – even if it does sound slightly like two different songs in one.

Matchday 1: Wales vs Switzerland – We’ve got something of a ‘Group of Death’ on our hands here. Strong contenders all round, and two favourites for the title. On this occasion, though, the Swiss’ fairytale-esque rendition is no match to Wales’s stunningly sublime melody.

Matchday 2: Turkey vs Wales – The Welsh are on one here, despite only sealing their place in the competition late in the group stages, they’re on a charge towards the title.

Matchday 2: Italy vs Switzerland – L’Italia ‘è desta!!!!!!!!!! 

Matchday 3: Switzerland vs Turkey – Salvaging some pride, the Swiss push on through with ‘Schweizerpsalm’, and Turkey avoid a whitewash as well.

Matchday 3: Italy vs Wales – Three out of three, incredible. But it’s to be expected. ‘Land of My Fathers’ is a gorgeous tune, and it’s on a one-way road to victory. Few anthems can evoke such emotion. If only England’s were half as good, eh?

Team Wins​ Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points​
​Wales ​3 ​0 ​0 +​4 ​9
​Italy ​2 ​0 ​1 +​3 ​6
​Switzerland ​0 ​1 ​2 ​-3 ​1
​Turkey ​0 ​1 ​2 ​-4 ​1

Group B – Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland

Belgium v Cyprus - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

Matchday 1: Belgium vs Russia – A somewhat uninspiring Belgian anthem is by no means poor, but there is simply no contending with the magnificence of ‘Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii’. The name may be long-winded, but the song is anything but. Among the early favourites for the title.

Matchday 1: Denmark vs Finland – There is something just a bit off with Finland’s anthem, neither here nor there, therefore Denmark steal in to snatch a late draw with an equally average anthem. Teemu Pukki is powerless.

Matchday 2: Denmark vs Belgium – With such a star-studded lineup, Belgium manage to creep their way past the Danes ever so slightly as ‘La Brabançonne’ just about has the legs.

Matchday 2: Finland vs Russia – They may share a border, but there is no love lost here. Russia is home to some of the world’s finest composers – Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to name a few – and it shows. It will take something mighty to beat this banger.

Matchday 3: Russia vs Denmark – No competition, move on.

Matchday 3: Belgium vs Finland – They may have about 300 languages they speak, but just the one suffices here and Belgium march on.

Team Wins​ Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points
​Russia ​3 ​0 ​0 +​7 ​9
​Belgium ​2 ​0 ​1 +​4 ​6
​Denmark ​0 ​1 ​2 -5 ​1
​Finland ​0 ​1 ​2 ​-6 ​0

Group C – Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, North Macedonia 

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Matchday 1: Netherlands vs Ukraine – Both elegant in their own right, a winner is too hard to pick and a draw is the end result

Matchday 1: Austria vs North Macedonia – ‘Land der Berge, Land am Strome’ just doesn’t go anywhere, it’s all quite flat, and the tournament underdogs romp to victory.

Matchday 2: Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Continuing their unlikely surge, ‘Denes nad Makedonija’ doesn’t stop dazzling.

Matchday 2: Netherlands vs Austria – Dutch delight as ‘Wilhelmus van Nassouwe’ makes light work of the Austrians. Whoever William was, he did well.

Matchday 3: Ukraine vs Austria – Sorry Austrians, it’s another disappointing display on the European stage. It’s not an anthem you’ll be humming in the shower tomorrow.

Matchday 3: North Macedonia vs Netherlands – You better believe it.

​Team Wins​ Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points
​North Macedonia ​3 ​0 ​0 ​+3 ​9
​Netherlands ​1 ​1 ​1 +​3 ​4
​Ukraine ​1 ​1 ​1 +​1 ​4
​Austria ​0 ​0 ​3 ​-7 ​0

Group D – England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia

Gareth Southgate,Zlatko Dalic

Matchday 1: England vs Croatia – So much hope. All for nothing. ‘God Save the Queen’ is powerless. 

Matchday 1: Serbia vs Czech Republic – Subtle but effective, the escalating tones of ‘Kde Domov Můj’ put up a decent fight, but Serbia’s emotional anthem has an endearing melody to it. Advantage Serbia.

Matchday 2: England vs Serbia – We know the answer.

Matchday 2: Croatia vs Czech Republic – A cracking contest, but one ultimately too close to call.

Matchday 3: Croatia vs Serbia – Top of the pile and into the next round. Fully deserved for the Serbs.

Matchday 3: England vs Czech Republic – The same can’t be said about England.

​Team Wins​ Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points
​Serbia ​3 ​0 ​0 +​4 ​9
​Croatia ​1 ​1 ​1 +​2 ​4
​Czech Republic ​1 ​1 ​1 +​1 ​4
​England ​0 ​0 ​3 ​-1966 ​0

Group E – Spain, Poland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland

FBL-EUR-EURO-2020-DRAW

Matchday 1: Spain vs Sweden – Another enticing battle with two songs that just feel like national anthems. However, on this occasion, the added tinge of raw emotion that comes with ‘Du gamla, Du fria’ is level pegging with Spain’s fine melody.

Matchday 1: Poland vs Republic of Ireland – Lyrically perhaps not, but there is cheerfulness to the Polish anthem that just doesn’t quite stand up to the Irish one. Johhny Logan steps in for added effect.

Matchday 2: Sweden vs Republic of Ireland – You might not know it from the music, but lyrically the Viking spirit lives long in Sweden’s anthem. Victory for those in yellow and blue.

Matchday 2: Spain vs Poland – Many anthems can be deemed boring; Spain’s, however, is not. Adding something different to proceedings is worthy of victory.

Matchday 3: Sweden vs Poland – Three defeats may be harsh on the Polish, after all, it’s a lovely anthem. Unfortunately, there’s stiff competition.

Matchday 3: Republic of Ireland vs Spain – Spain ‘Royally March’ there way into the knockouts, which is an impressive feat since their anthem has no official lyrics. Yes, I know, mad right?

​Team Wins​ Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points​
​Sweden ​2 ​1 ​0 +​3 ​7
​Spain ​2 ​1 ​0 +2 ​7
​Republic of Ireland ​1 ​0 ​2 ​+0 ​3
​Poland ​0 ​0 ​3 ​-5 ​0

Group F – Germany, France, Portugal, Iceland

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Matchday 1: France vs Germany – They may be powering through in their anthem, but they’re not above the French on this one. One of the pre-tournament favourites showing their mettle.

Matchday 1: Iceland vs Portugal – Tough call. Iceland’s big finale is both beautiful and forceful, but equally so Portugal’s. Draw it is.

Matchday 2: Portugal vs Germany – Once again the anthems can’t be split, and a draw is the end result.

Matchday 2: Iceland vs France – The blood waters the fields, France’s battalions continue their march.

Matchday 3: Portugal vs France – Revenge for the 2016 final is swift but assured. Even with Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks, the French battle cry inspires victory.

Matchday 3: Germany vs Iceland – Another draw makes for a gripping conclusion, but Germany’s superior goal difference sees them sneak through in second.

Team Win​s Draws​ Losses​ GD​ Points
​France ​3 ​0 ​0 ​+6 ​9
​Germany ​0 ​2 ​1 ​-1 ​2
​Iceland ​0 ​2 ​1 ​-2 ​2
​Portugal ​0 ​2 ​1 ​-3 ​2

Round of 16

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Russia vs Iceland – If the Russian anthem doesn’t inspire you to victory then what will?

Wales vs Netherlands – Having reached the semi-final stage four years ago, there is little stopping Ryan Giggs from repeating the feat of Chris Coleman as the Welsh suffer no hiccups against the Dutch.

France vs Ukraine – It was a valiant effort from Ukraine to reach this stage, but ultimately, the draw was unkind to them and, in this case, they were the ‘impure blood’.

Croatia vs Spain – While their lack of official lyrics may be a hindrance, the melody is inherently pleasant in the Spanish anthem. It’s called the ‘Royal March’, and that comes across in the song. Croatia put up a valiant effort, but they just fall short.

Sweden vs Czech Republic – Quite possibly the toughest tussle thus far. Both are magnificent in their own right, but something about the line ‘I want to live, I want to die in the north’, sets the Swedish one apart. Stolen in extra time.

Serbia vs Germany – They’ve improved on their World Cup performance, but Germany fall short to ‘God of Justice’ and, in this case, justice is served.

North Macedonia vs Iceland – It’s victory in itself for North Macedonia to reach this stage, however, it’s the end of the road. Iceland’s ‘Lofsöngur’ is a majestic piece of music and all in the stadium appreciate its beauty. 

Italy vs Belgium – The Italians do everything with class, music being no different. Belgium squeezed into this round, but they’ve been hounded out at this stage by some margin.


Quarter-Finals

UEFA Euro 2020 Final Draw Ceremony

Serbia vs Sweden – The Vikings continue their march through Europe and book themselves a place at the home of football. Serbia were staunch oppositions throughout, but their journey ends here.

Spain vs Wales – Fiercely contested, there was still no matching the energy of the Welsh on this one. Spain’s was originally written as a military march, but on this occasion, they’re stopped in their tracks.

France vs Russia – Controversy, perhaps, but take one listen to the Russian anthem and try not to get caught up in its grandeur. There are equal levels of brilliance to ‘La Marseillaise’, but if you’re going to go into battle with one of these songs as inspiration, Russia gets the nod. It’s an almighty upset, but try telling that to the Russians.

Italy vs Iceland – The curtain draws on Iceland’s European adventure. Deserved of a place in the quarter-finals, but they were simply no match for the Italians. 


Semi-Finals

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Wales vs Sweden – The English may not like it all too much, but Wembley Stadium plays host to the greatest night in Welsh football (anthem) history. A sea of red does ‘Land of My Fathers’ proud. It’s stunning to witness. Wales are in the Euro 2020 final.

Italy vs Russia – A turn up for the books. Close your eyes, listen to that crescendo, and try to envisage anything other than victory. It simply can’t be done. ‘Il Canto degli Italiani’ is spectacular, if Russia had not have been involved then Italy may have navigated their way past France, but as it is, they’re out. 


Final 

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Wales vs Russia – Can we flip a coin?…..No? We can’t? Bugger. Well, in that case, this isn’t going to be easy. It’ll definitely be penalties, as there is no way of deciding this after 120 minutes. However, Wayne Hennessey is too busy saluting someone in the crowd as the tenth and final of nine perfect penalties so far takes place. It is stroked into the bottom corner, and Russia, yes, Russia, win Euro 2020(21).

The crowd goes utterly mild.

They realise this was all just a ploy to listen to music for over 2,000 words of text and in fact means absolutely nothing at all to anyone. 

For roughly 12 minutes, Euro 2020 came, saw, disappointed, offended and concluded. Russia scoop the ultimate prize, and they probably have no idea any of this actually took place.

Goodbye, and goodnight.


For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter





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