A great little free-associative blog-post on the continent's favorite sport and the questions it raises:

What else could have us feeling sorry for Switzerland and cheering for Austria? Isn’t Europe a more harmonious entity without the English? Would Brussels be paralysed by protests today if Belgium had qualified? And would Ireland have voted No if they were in the tournament?

Part of the fun of football is the way in which it overturns the international order of power politics. The US, Russia and China can be expected to top the medal charts in the Olympics, as usual, but Croatia had already triumphed over two of the Great Powers – England and Russia – in qualifying before beating Austria and Germany last week. Up next: Turkey, the former Ottoman Empire. Most of Europe got a, er, kick out of Croatia’s victory over Germany last week, in what everyone was too polite to call the Group of the Third Reich. We could all feel sorry for Poland once again as Germany beat them with two goals from a player born in Poland, Lukas Podolski.

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