At the most dire bail-out time, Madrid taught Brussels – to quote John Doyle (The Globe and Mail, July 2) – “that in tactics and thinking Spain will be copied endlessly.” And Italy received comparable praise for its fortitude, and sympathy for its bad luck. It must have occurred to the decision-makers in all European capitals that people who can be so brilliant at that can be just as brilliant at anything else if the conditions are right. So the right conditions must be created.
Vicente del Bosque, only the second coach to win a European Championship and a World Cup, said, “We played our own game. There were no real external influences – we were faithful to what we’ve done in recent years. I didn’t really want to be the coach who wins but the coach who educates. I want to keep preparing them for the future.”
That is said in the same forward-looking tone as the remarks of UEFA President Michel Platini who said the 2020 European Championship could be spread across various cities in Europe, rather than having a single host. Traditionally, one or two countries have hosted the tournament, which was held in Poland and Ukraine this summer. The next competition in 2016 will be hosted by France.
“The Euros in 2020 could be held all over Europe,” said Platini. “It could be either one country and 12 stadiums, or one stadium in 12 or 13 cities.”
That is very different from the backward-looking tone of the Tsar who decreed that Russian rails should be different from Polish rails to keep foreign influences out of Mother Russia. This made it necessary for the fans on the train from Warsaw to Kiev to wait for two hours at the Polish–Ukrainian border while the wheels were being changed.
Forward-looking was not the Tsar’s forte.