how to stay in europe

Euro 2016 IRL-ITA

I love this Euro 2016 football tournament. I love Europe in general, let me be clear about that – I was born European, and will remain European. The EU referendum news is fresh, new and bitter – and Cameron just resigned a few minutes ago – so to cheer you up again, I’ll bring it back to the football. I’ve often been frustrated by the European Football Championships, the less fun little brother of the World Cup. Perhaps it was the Years of Hurt – as a fan of both Ireland and, yeah, England disappointment went hand in hand. I still have a celebratory t-shirt from the famous Ireland victory over England back in 1988 (“These boys made history” it read, my mum got it for me from the Irish festival in Willesden Green). Despite some World Cup fun times since, the Republic of Ireland have either not qualified or just been rubbish at the Euros. England, well, Euro 96 was a fun ride, with a depressing end. These Euros have seen Wales, England, Northern Ireland and now the Republic of Ireland qualify for the knockout stages in dramatic fashion. Kind of pales into insignificance now with the political earthquake of “Brexit”, but while the two final group matches played yesterday lunchtime I sketched them both simultaneously (I do love split-screen). Ireland beat Italy 1-0 with a late winner, and I leapt off my seat, fist pumping. Even the Italians celebrated with the Irish. Both Ireland teams in the next round! Wales and England too! And Iceland, who are close enough to Scotland! Another of the teams I like, Belgium (I lived there for a year, during Euro 2000 funnily enough, I lived opposite the stadium where England beat Germany) beat Sweden, and I sketched some of them to, Belgium in their cool away kit. The outcome was finely balanced, but Belgium scored about 20 seconds before the Irish did, and suddenly Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career was over. There he is there, looking rather like a comic villain, Dick Dastardly but without the evil smirk. At least he wasn’t throwing on-pitch tantrums like Ronaldo was (though at least Ronaldo looked more like he cared, and scored a couple of goals out of it – not free kicks, of course). Zlatan has left the building – “Zlexit”, as I’m calling it.

Euro 2016 BEL-SWE

I sketched these partly for practice. I just finished writing a book about sketching people in five minutes (coming out in the Fall!) and one section is about sketching people playing sports, live, so these are my efforts. There’s no football tomorrow, either. Well it’s already tomorrow now. But two days without football, just as all these teams celebrate staying in Europe, and what goes and happens? It all starts up again on Saturday – Wales v Northern Ireland! – and then the big one for Ireland against France on Sunday (6am wake-up for me), with England v Iceland on Monday. Allez les Euros.

8 thoughts on “how to stay in europe

  1. francifularts says:

    My son is a “soccer” player with dreams and aspirations of becoming a soccer pro like many young men. We were just talking about saving money to travel to Europe to watch football! As I drove home late last night I listened to some in depth reporting about the Brexit. It’s hard to imagine what happens next. I am very much looking forward to your book about sketching…so please post when it’s published!

    • pete scully says:

      Probably no need to save now, the pound has just plummeted! I took my son to see Spurs at White Hart Lane in December, makes such a big difference for kids going to see the real thing. Yeah, I’ll be posting about the new book “five-minute sketching”, it’s already on amazon for pre-order (though i hope they change the cover…)

  2. unironedman says:

    Zlexit! Love it! Bizarrely was thinking of your blog watching the Croatia game, and it occurred to me what a rich of vein of possibilities there are to be mined with the surnames. Alas, they fell to Portugal, so no more Modric and Rakitic to take advantic of that situation. I’m off to make a sandwic. C’mon Ireland!

    • pete scully says:

      Yeah, gutted for Modric and Croatia, they were pretty great. I did sketch that game too. Sad for Ireland, but I think they did themselves proud this time around so I’m happy they got this far, despite the loss.

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