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Friday, June 06, 2008

Euro 2008 Opening Ceremony

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Euro 2008 is now the main attraction of the football world. Now with few hours to go before the kick off of the tournament, football fans across the world are now excited and eagerly waiting for some of the best football actions. Euro 2008 is going to be co-hosted by two neighboring countries, Austria and Switzerland. The 16-team tournament begins tomorrow on 7 June 2008 with a glittering opening ceremony at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland. Following the opening ceremony, co-host Switzerland takes on Czech Republic in the opening match of Euro 2008 tournament.

You know that European championship is the second most popular football tournament after FIFA world cup in world football in terms of its huge fan following across the globe. Though Euro only includes European teams, the tournament attracts football fans around the world. That means, since 2006 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2008 is the next big football tournament in the world. Naturally, world media is covering this tournament extensively and fans are also crazy for this tournament. Players, coaches, officials and organizers are now busy with their last minute preparation ahead of the tournament.

Formation of Euro 2008 Tournament

There are two divisions in the tournament: group stage and knock out stage. In the group stage, there are four groups of four teams. All the four teams of each of the groups will play against each other in a round robin league system and two top teams from each group on the basis of points achieved will progress to the knock out stage, which starts with quarter final. In knock out stage, each of the matches is very important because only the winning team can progress further in the tournament, while the losing side gets eliminated from the tournament. Following quarter final, four teams reach the semi final, and then two semi final winners will take on each other in the final of the competition. The winning team of the final will lift the prestigious Euro 2008 trophy on 29 June, which will be the end of the 23-day football extravaganza. A change has been brought in the formation of the Euro this year, by which there will be no rematch of the group stage in the final of Euro 2008 tournament. That means, the same two teams who face each other in the group stage, will not meet in the final of the tournament. You know that in the previous tournament in Portugal four years ago, tournament opened and ended with the matches involving same two teams, Portugal and Greece, with Greece winning on both occasions to win the title of Euro 2004. However, no such thing will happen this time around.

Euro 2008 Opening Ceremony Venue: St. Jakob-Park, Basel

I already mentioned that the opening ceremony as well as the opening match of Euro 2008 takes place at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland. St. Jakob-Park stadium is the largest football stadium in Switzerland with seating capacity 42,500. This stadium is the home of local club FC Basel. This is actually a new stadium which replaced former St. Jakob Stadium and reopened in 2001 as St. Jakob-Park. The stadium received four stars from UEFA, which is highest among the stadiums of that size. There will be 6 matches of Euro 2008 at St. Jakob-Park in which three are groups stage matches, two quarter finals and one semi final. The opening match of Euro 2008 will also take place in this stadium when host Switzerland faces Czech Republic.

Euro 2008 Opening Ceremony Date and Time
I have already mentioned the kick off date of the tournament which is 7 June 2008 on Saturday. However, I could not find any specific time of the opening ceremony from any reliable sources in internet today. Switzerland vs Czech Republic opening match begins at 18:00 (Central European Summer Time (CET), UTC+2). So, it is for sure that the much awaited opening ceremony will take place before 18:00 CET Summer time. While searching in the net, I came across a question in the Yahoo answers site where I got to know that opening ceremony of Euro 2008 starts at 17:00. However, I am not sure about it. I will write about it if I can get the exact time of the opening ceremony from a reliable source.

Euro 2008 Opening Ceremony

Why people are interested about Euro 2008? The answer would come like some of the best football playing countries take part in the tournament, or some would say that some of the biggest stars of the world will play in the tournament. Well, that is true. However, with less than 24 hours to go before the tournament kicks off, fans are now also excited about the opening ceremony of the tournament. Euro is a big competition and any big competition has a grand opening ceremony because it is a good way to expose the culture and heritage of the host country. This time, Switzerland has the chance to show what the country possesses and what it has to be proud of and to attract the foreign people in the country. You know that Switzerland is one of the tourist destinations in the world because of the beauty of the country.

However, to be honest, I could not manage to know many things about the opening ceremony of Euro 2008 in the net. However, I think, there will be some glittering performance by the local performers which might include fire works, different acrobatic displays. Actually, I am just guessing that these events might happen, from my experience of some other opening ceremonies of big tournaments like world cup football. Reports have it that Guns n' Roses, a popular band, might perform the 'Paradise City’ track in the opening ceremony. Moreover, it is well-predicted that the theme song of Euro 2008 will be performed too. UEFA President Michel Platini has launched the Euro 2008 party on 6 June. I think, Michel Platini will also be present in the opening ceremony as well.

Do you know what is the biggest catch of Euro 2008? Why specialists are looking to experience the best ever Euro tournament this year? I think, it is because there are a number of favorite teams in the teams. Besides the conventional favorites like France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, there are emerging teams like defending champion Greece, Czech Republic, Croatia and to some extent, Russia and Croatia are on the right tack too. Well, you might argue that the teams like Russia, Croatia and Czech Republic are not that much strong to win the title of Euro 2008, but if you look back to the triumph of Greece in the previous tournaments, you can not write off the teams like Russia, Croatia and Czech Republic. This is where the biggest attraction of Euro 2008 tournament remains.

Do you agree with me?

Related article:

Wikipedia (Euro 2008)

Yahoo answers



Wikipedia (St. Jakob-Park)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:07 AM

    hi! It really sucks that it doesn't says anywhere when the opening ceremony starts. I have looked for almost an hour for the info.. but no result!