The magic’s gone, Euro 2020 format a real turn-off

I considered myself a football fan. Heck, I would watch any game on television. That was how it used to be. But it’s over now.

All those sleepless nights and hangovers in the morning are now few and far between, as lately, I only stay up to watch Liverpool’s games – be they friendlies during pre-season, or the actual competitive matches.

This is why this confession may shock some of my friends – I have yet to watch a Euro 2020 match.

I have seen bits and pieces while flipping channels, and was lucky to catch a couple of goals, but I have not cared enough to watch a game in its entirety.

Crazy, right? What with all the “best” players on display and virtually non-stop matches… I have probably caught not more than 20 minutes of action.

And that, despite Astro having repeats of all the matches, plus the highlights of each match.

Perhaps, it is because I do not care for any of the teams.

I certainly do not support England – which some friends consider strange, since I’m a staunch Liverpool supporter.

It has nothing to do with the feelings of some on Merseyside, who have long considered being “abandoned” by the country.

It is just that I’d rather support Harimau Malaya, Brazil and other South American teams over any from Europe.

Or perhaps, one reason I have not watched a match is because of the tournament’s format, which sees 16 of the 24 teams reaching the knockout stage.

Yes, 66.6 per cent of the teams who started the competition would find it difficult to be knocked out at the end of the group stages.

It was different before 2016, and I remember getting a kick out of the tournament, even though I did not care who won.

Even this year’s so-called Group of Death, which featured Germany, France, Portugal and Hungary, lost some of its suspense as there was a possibility none of the big boys would be eliminated.

And so it proved with France and Germany going through after finishing first and second and Portugal sneaking in as it was among the the four best third-placed finishers.

It was the same format five years ago, but then, I was working for an English daily.

We had to fill up the pages with news from the event, and had a special online edition focusing on the tournament and Copa America.

As such, I had to be on the ball.

Things should get more interesting now that the Euro 2020 knockout stage starts on Sunday (12am), with Wales taking on Denmark.

On a side note, it is a little disappointing that there is no ‘live’ telecast of Copa America.

RTM showed the tournament two years ago, and I remember vividly watching a match on my phone – while waiting for my daughter to compete in a choral speaking competition.

If only there was Copa America instead of Euro 2020.

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