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Friday, June 10, 2016

UEFA Euro 2016 to start in a few hours ~ 'Super Victor' the mascot ..

After IPL comes the launch of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) in Chennai. “The main idea behind TNPL is to bring cricket to the districts of Tamil Nadu and explore local talent,” said N.Srinivasan, TNCA president and managing director of India Cements Ltd. The eight franchises (representing districts) for the TNPL that will begin in the fourth week of August are Karaikudi, Dindigul, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruvallur, South Chennai, Thoothukudi.

The sporting arena is agog with activity.  Reports state that two English football fans have been arrested after police used tear gas to disperse a brawl in Marseille. Police said one of the fans was arrested for assaulting a barman and the other for violent disorder. Police in riot gear were on the streets after the incident outside a pub shortly before midnight on Thursday. Locals are quoted as saying that the use of tear gas seems quite dramatic to us from England and the United Kingdom because we are not used to seeing it - but in mainland Europe it is a regular tactic and they restored order fairly quickly. It is all because, supporters have travelled to Marseille ahead of England's game with Russia on Saturday.

For those not abreast with news, it is UEFA Euro 2016 – the 2016 UEFA European Championship, or simply Euro 2016, the 15th  edition of the UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organized by UEFA. It is scheduled to be held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.  Spain are two-time defending champions.  For the first time, the European Championship final tournament will be contested by 24 teams, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996.  Under this new format, the finalists will contest a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage including three rounds and the final. Nineteen teams – the top two from each of the nine qualifying groups and the best third-placed team – joined France, who qualified automatically as hosts; a series of two-legged play-off ties between the remaining third-placed teams in November 2015 decided the last four spots at the final tournament.

France was chosen as the host nation in  2010, after a bidding process in which they beat Italy and Turkey for the right to host the 2016 finals.  The matches will be played in ten stadia in ten cities: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris,Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse. It will be the third time that France hosts the tournament, after the inaugural tournament in 1960 and the 1984 finals. The French team have won the European Championship twice: in 1984 and 2000. The winning team earns the right to compete at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Russia.

Some statistics researched by the Romanian daily newspaper, “Adevărul”: only three of the current Romanian national team's players were born 32 years ago, when Romania participated at the first EURO final tournament: Răzvan Raț, Lucian Sănmărtean and Cristian Săpunaru. The same newspaper emphasises that whilst Răzvan Raț played 111 times for the national team, only three French players have more than 50 caps: Hugo Lloris (75), Patrice Evra (73) and Bacary Sagna (57). It is also reported that there would 15000 flags in the stadium, which is seen at the start.

The official logo was unveiled in  June 2013, during a ceremony at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris. Conceived by Portuguese agency Brandia Central, which also created the visual identity for the previous European Championship, the design is based on the theme "Celebrating the art of football". The logo depicts the Henri Delaunay trophy with the blue, white and red colours of the French flag, surrounded by a mixture of shapes and lines representing different artistic movements and football elements.

Romania are confident they can weather a France storm in the early stages against the Euro 2016 hosts in the Group A opener at the Stade de France on Friday. Although Romania have recently proved a tough nut to crack for France, with the two sides drawing four of their last five matches, they have not beaten Les Bleus since 1972.  France, looking to win their third European title after their 1984 and 2000 triumphs, have shown impressive firepower recently, scoring 13 goals in their last four games.  Romania, who will also take on Albania and Switzerland in the group stage, have had mixed results in the buildup to the tournament, beating Georgia 5-1 last week following a 4-3 defeat by Ukraine.

The competition's official opening song is "This One's For You" by David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson, and the official closing song is "Free Your Mind" by Maya Lavelle.  

The official mascot of the tournament, Super Victor, was unveiled in Nov  2014. He is a child superhero in the kit of the France national football team, with a red cape at the back, to echo the colours of the Flag of France. The cape, boots and ball are claimed to be the child's superpowers. The mascot first appeared during the match between France and Sweden at the Stade Vélodrome, in  2014. The name of the mascot was revealed after receiving about 50,000 votes from the public on the official UEFA website, beating the other nominated names of "Driblou" and "Goalix". 

In a build-up marked by tension over weightier matters, Euro 2016 organisers face embarrassment of a different kind after it emerged their mascot shares its name with a popular sex toy. At a time when organisers are hoping for a sizeable income from merchandising featuring the Euro 2016 mascot,  potential purchasers face a surprise when they search for the name of the toy online, with the results split between a sex toy available from sites such as Amazon and products featuring the tournament mascot.  A  spokesman added: ”All we can say is that they [the sex aids] are not produced by Uefa!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

10th June 2o16.

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