Posts Tagged ‘ UEFA ’

LOI Supporter Workshop Aims To Make A Difference

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League of Ireland clubs survive and thrive because of the ongoing support, effort and dedication of their supporters and volunteers, and the ‘LOI Supporters: Making a Vital Difference‘ workshop will highlight much of the crucial work carried out by fans in the name of the crest of their football shirt.

The LOI Supporters: Making a Vital Difference workshop is organised by the Irish Supporters Network, and is open to everyone interested in building a brighter future for our game.

The event will be held at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 1st to coincide with one of the most important dates in the Irish football calendar: the FAI Cup final which pits Derry City against St Patrick’s Athletic.. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: Predictions For Every Team

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With the kick-off of World Cup 2014 now less than a week away, the excitement is starting to build. Coverage of the event is starting to really pick up, as the footballing world gets ready for the beginning of it’s biggest event of any calendar year. With that in mind, I would like to put forward my predictions for every team and how they will fare, including all the teams who will fall at the group stage hurdle, all the way on to who I predict will be the eventual winners.

Group stage eliminations

Cameroon

The most likely victim of what is a very tough draw, Cameroon seem like long shots to emerge from Group A. Hosts Brazil, potential dark horses Croatia and Mexico make up the rest of the group, and it may well prove too much for Cameroon to claim enough points to sneak in to the knockout stages. An experienced squad led by captain Samuel Eto’o as well as veterans Alex Song and Jean Makoun, Cameroon also boast young defensive talent in Nicolas N’Koulou and Joel Matip. Unfortunately for them, it seems unlikely that they will prove good enough to edge out two of the other teams, and so it looks like three games and out for Cameroon.

Mexico

It looks quite likely that Brazil and Croatia will emerge from this group, especially if the Croatians can get a point in the tournament’s inaugural match. Mexico had a very ugly qualifying campaign to even reach Brazil, finishing fourth in their group, behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras. They eventually beat New Zealand comfortably in a play-off, but it does not augur well for them in such a tough group. Still, Mexico boast a very experienced squad, with the likes of Rafael Marquez still around to organise them. If the likes of Javier Hernandez (who has a scoring rate of better than one every two games for his country) catches fire, then maybe they have a shot. But all signs point to an early exit for Mexico.

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Game Review: FIFA World Cup 2014

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EA Sports World Cup franchise is back after a four year absence as the party moves onto Brazil with enhanced features, befitting of a samba style party.

The modern FIFA games and the World Cup have long co-existed, with the latter serving as a taster ahead of the new club based game since its inception during World Cup 1998. EA Sports has always managed to capture the sense of occasion of a big event and they follow that up here in true World Cup style, akin to that of the three games that came before this title. Though there are tweaks to FIFA’s core mechanics, it’s the presentation that makes 2014 FIFA World Cup a souvenir piece worth bringing home, making it a stand out game among other souvenir games of our generation such as those titles associated with the Olympics or the Champions League. Continue reading

UEFA Announces League Of Nations Competition

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The 54 UEFA member associations unanimously adopted a four-point resolution entitled ‘National men’s A-team competitions 2018-2022‘ at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana which will see the launch of the UEFA Nations League from 2018.

The competition will feature promotion and relegation, will see a winning team every odd year and will replace most international friendlies.

“We accept and respect that all UEFA member associations have agreed to create a new competition,” said Wolfgang Niersbach, chairman of the National Teams Competition Committee. “This is a big step for national teams in Europe and we hope that fans will support the new format.”

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Champions League Quarter Final Draw Made

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Manchester United have been handed the toughest tie possible in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals as they were pitted against reigning champions Bayern Munich.

With United currently enduring a torrid season under the tutelage of David Moyes this clash could further highlight their woes or it could yet be the making of The Chosen One, should his charges halt the progress of Pep Guardiola’s  side.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have been paired with Paris St Germain. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co will offer a stern test to the blues, who coasted through against Galatasary in the previous round.

Real Madrid will face 2013 beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund while an all-Spanish meeting between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid completes the quarter final draw.

Draw in full: 

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund

Paris St Germain v Chelsea

Manchester United v Bayern Munich

First-leg ties to be played on 1 and 2 April, with the second legs being played on 8 and 9 April.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

A Beautiful Game No More

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In the last number of weeks, we have been treated to a flurry of high-profile football games, with clashes at the top of the Premier League, big name ties in the FA Cup and the return of the Champions League with the first knock-out round. But did any of those big games bring about a truly enjoyable and competitive game? And if not, why not?

This week’s Champions League ties saw Barcelona take on Manchester City and Bayern Munich against Arsenal. All four teams would have to be considered expansive and attacking in their play, and with both English sides at home, the onus was on them to come out and attack. In theory, we were set up for two classic encounters with sides attacking and counter-attacking constantly. Yet the City game in particular was a huge disappointment. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have averaged 3.5 goals per home game, but ceded ground to the Catalan side from the off, which must have been why Aleksandar Kolarov was picked to play from the left wing. They only looked vaguely threatening and hugely dependent on Yaya Toure to roam forward from midfield and David Silva to create the chances. In fairness, it almost came off when Silva played in Alvaro Negredo, who rounded the goalkeeper only to be driven too wide to apply the finish. By and large though, City were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, and their attacks were few and far between.

They were largely successful in containing Barcelona until their defensive unit were complicit in giving up the lead. Barca won the ball up the field, Vincent Kompany dropped too deep too fast and played on Lionel Messi, and Martin Demichelis brought him down, giving up the penalty and earning a red card, and changing the complexion of the game from then on. It’s almost impossible to play gung ho against this Barca team at the best of times, but with ten men it becomes time to batten down the hatches. It is interesting to note that it was Jesus Navas, as well as Kolarov, who got withdrawn, as he had the genuine pace that could have offered City a swift counter-attacking option.

The Arsenal game was fairly similar, in that it was changed by the red card to goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, but really by that time Munich had taken hold of the game. But Arsenal did come out and play hard and fast for the first fifteen minutes, making Bayern look like a ragged bunch of journeymen. This spell culminated with the penalty won and missed by Mesut Ozil, who was presented with the chance to answer the bandwagon jumpers who have blamed him for most of Arsenal’s problems of late. Unfortunately for him and that game, he missed and the belief seemed to transfer from the Arsenal players to Bayern’s almost immediately. Arsenal barely had an attack of note after that, and certainly none after the red card.

In the case of Champions League ties, the home tie is a tricky one, given the importance of away goals. Even though the crowd are roaring you on and looking to take a lead for the away leg, it may suit a lot of teams to come out with a nil-nil, knowing a score draw in the next leg would see them through. For instance, if City had registered a scoreless draw the other night, would it have seemed farfetched that they could have nodded in a couple of goals from corners or free kicks in the Camp Nou, and put the game beyond Barcelona? Down a man, it is obviously pertinent to minimise the damage, and the couple of away goals both sides gave up mean they are highly unlikely to overturn the deficit and win their ties.

Pellegrini clearly has a lot of fear when thinking of this Barcelona side. Who wouldn’t? He has seen this team first hand a little too often for his own good in the last ten years, as he managed Villareal, Real Madrid and Malaga against them in La Liga during their pomp. It is unlikely he didn’t carry battle scars from all those encounters, and they possess great weapons. But Man City went away from their own strengths in the face of all this, when really they might have been better served by trying to put them on the back foot. Going forward, Barca’s most impressive player was Dani Alves, but he was on a yellow card from early on and is not the most accomplished defender on the planet, could they not have looked to exploit him more? Fortune favours the bold, and Man City had the team that could have troubled Barca a lot more than they did.

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What made these games in particular quite dull affairs was the possession-based game plan of both winning sides. As Bayern and Barca camped out in the English sides halves for the second half of their games, who was visibly enthralled? Toni Kroos smashed in a beautiful goal from outside the box, but Bayern didn’t really carve Arsenal open. Rafinha and Alves as full backs were the most incisive players of the midweek action as they had lots of space when defenders were already sucked in, but Bayern had to resort to lumping on big centre forwards to get the second goal. Nothing wrong with it, but they weren’t exactly cutting holes in the Arsenal rearguard by passing slowly and laterally outside the box. It was dull.

There is a trend in football now, largely thanks to the successes of Barcelona in the last decade, to play possession-based attacking games. Hog the ball, wear down your opponent, wait for your moment when the concentration levels drop, then pounce.  This has seen the rise of the offensive full-back, who is seemingly the player with the most space available to them. In turn, it now seems the centre-back is the new full-back, as the wider areas are closed down and the middle is where the space lies, so if you are lucky enough to have a centre-back with good ball skills they can drive forward and pick a pass, allowing your team to recycle possession effectively. But it is this type of dominant attacking that is making games less open. Opponents are generally pinned back and have to play with a defensive mind-set. There have been examples of teams capable of getting results with strong counter-attacking, such as Gareth Bale’s Spurs (no offense, AVB) and Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan team. These sides were able to take advantage of the major weakness of teams like Barca and Bayern, which is the defensive side of the game. Inter were able to knock out Barcelona and eventually win the Champions League by attacking when the moment was right, and defending solidly otherwise. But teams down the bottom of the league rarely have the speed of thought found in that Inter team’s Samuel Eto’o or Wesley Sneijder, nor the clinical finishing of Diego Milito. Thus, they spend the whole game defending and more or less awaiting the inevitable.

Even away from the elite teams in Europe, this trend can still be the case. The Europa League game between Swansea and Napoli had a similar plot. Swansea were always going to enforce their possession game too, but with all due respect they are not at the same standard as Barca or Bayern. The Napoli line-up was also one that boasted great talent, particularly going forward with the tremendous Gonzalo Higuain and the high profile Marek Hamsik, as well as winger Lorenzo Insigne who has played for Italy and Jose Callejon, who came through the ranks for Real Madrid before making a summer move to Naples. Add in counter-attacking away-leg specialist Rafa Benitez (see; any successful Liverpool European tie during his reign), and this should have been a rip-roaring tie with back and forth attacks. Unfortunately, not the case. Swansea played well but didn’t create too many clear chances, while Napoli were quite poor and resigned themselves to defending from early on.

Liverpool have played Arsenal twice in the last few weeks, with the first game a one-sided slaughter as Liverpool exposed Arsenal’s defence repeatedly in the first twenty minutes. The game was over after those early exchanges, and the second game could have gone the same way, with Daniel Sturridge having two great chances early on. Admittedly, the FA Cup game was a much more competitive game than any of the others mentioned, particularly in the second half. But it still wasn’t an end to end kind of game, as Liverpool dominated possession while pushing for an equaliser. The dross served up in the Arsenal versus Manchester United fixture was perhaps explainable by the frailty of both sides. Arsenal were just coming off the hiding at Liverpool, while United have struggled all year as a particular game plan and style remains unclear.

This is not to say anything is wrong with being a strong defensive side. Some of the best games in history have been based on a strong defensive effort defying a ferocious attack, like the Italian win over Brazil in the 1982 World Cup. There is certainly an art to defending, and it seems to evade the Pep Guardiola inspired teams like Munich and Barcelona. But if opposing teams are unwilling or unable to launch attacks and get at their back four, they will continue to get steamrollered. A fascinating encounter (not unlikely after the first leg results) would be a two-legged affair between these two teams down the Champions League line. None of the other games mentioned were uninteresting in their own right, but a tie between Bayern Munich and Barcelona might give us the furious, frenetic end to end game we’d all love to see.

Images courtesy of uefa.com, uefa.com/AFP/Getty Images

Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers

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With the nine automatic 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualification spots sealed in Europe, plus the eight contenders in the upcoming play-offs known, for many it is hard not to think how different it all could have been.

The final matchday of the European qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina,England,Russia and Spain join already qualified Belgium,Italy,Germany,Netherlands and Switzerland on the plane to Brazil. Continue reading

The State Of Our Game

A fans survey on the League of Ireland and Irish football as a whole, run by Dr. Adam Brown of Substance, a Manchester based social research co-op has offered a great insight into the level of involvement fans have with their clubs and how it can be improved.

The Irish study formed a part of a wider European study, where fans in each country would have to answer specific questions relating to the running of their club and football in their country. The surveys, which were conducted online, took place between September and October. 1,262 Irish football fans completed the survey, the vast majority (34.2%) of which were Cork City fans, followed by Shamrock Rovers (15.4%) in second place.

Some interesting findings arose from the statistics relating to which fans completed the quiz. 1.7% or 26 respondents were fans of the now defunct Galway United while fans of Manchester United (1.6%) and Liverpool (1.1%) finished ahead of Longford Town (1%) who had the fewest respondents. Bray Wanderers and  UCD were the only two Premier Division clubs whose fans offered no views while fans of first division sides Athlone Town, Mervue United, Salthill Devon (SD Galway) and Wexford Youths did likewise.

The average age of supporters surveyed was 32 while the average length of time that fans have supported their clubs was 18 years. Unsurprisingly 95% of respondents where male.

Interestingly a large proportion of fans (59.5%) admitted that they are not a member of a supporter’s organisation at their club. Of those who revealed they are a member of such an organisation, 44.4% said the organisation is one which exists as a members group that owns shares in their club. This correlates to the fact that most of the fans who took this survey are Cork City fans and as a result this statistic is unsurprising given the recent ownership history of the famed Rebel Army. Other answers showed that there is little difference between official club sanctioned fan organisations (23.7%) and independent fan organisations (20.9%).

Fans revealed the main purposes of such groups were to get or maintain a share of ownership (30.5%), to raise money for the club (20.6%) and to improve the matchday atmosphere (16.3%). Fans are certainly more involved at club level than national level, perhaps due to the current state of the Irish national team. Only 4.9% of respondents belong to a national supporter’s organisation.

League of Ireland fans are among the most committed in the world, willing to follow their team the length and breadth of the country. It’s therefore surprising that most (41.9%) feel they have little involvement in their club, only on rare occasions. Is it a case that clubs have enough volunteers and support or that fans aren’t too interested in helping out? Clubs should certainly endear themselves more to these fans in an attempt to increase their involvement, something which will be beneficial to all and comes at a time when the League of Ireland is in great need of everyone pulling in the same direction. 22.2% professed they have no involvement whatsoever, claiming they are almost completely ignored. How can any club, be it in Ireland or elsewhere, survive by ignoring such a percentage of fans? 82.7% of fans revealed they have no involvement at national level which is of no surprise as recent trends have shown that the FAI possess little or no desire for fan involvement.

42.4% expressed an interest in joining a supporter’s organisation that had the aim of getting/maintaining an ownership stake at their club with 9.8% saying they wouldn’t be interested, with a further 16.7% believing it wouldn’t achieve anything. Fans highlighted the main benefits of such a move which includes the club board listens to fans more (69.2%), maintaining an ownership stake (55.7%) and getting representation on the board (53.7%). 39.8% of fans revealed they wouldn’t join a national supporters organisation as the association/league will never listen (37.1%) and because they are not interested (34.5%). 33.8% admitted they would join such an organisation.

One of the most striking findings emerging from this study is that 60.4% of respondents are very unsatisfied with the way football is run in Ireland. Bear in mind that the fans answering the questions in this study are by enlarge devout League of Ireland followers, fans that have watched clubs such as Monaghan United, Dublin City, Kilkenny City, Sporting Fingal and Galway United go bust in recent years. Fans that have seen endless scandals from points deductions due to financial irregularities and player registration issues. It’s no surprise they are fed up with the way the footballing authorities allow the game to become a laughing stock, something which won’t help bring armchair Premier League fans to Irish stadiums. Is it not the mission of the FAI and the league to entice such fans to League of Ireland matches? If anything their actions are forcing fans away rather than bringing them in.

51.1% of fans are however satisfied with the way their club is run, with only 8.3% saying they are unsatisfied.

Respondents were asked to list two single words which best described the running of football of Ireland. Among the top answers were shambolic, poor, amateur, shambles ,corrupt, disgraceful, terrible and unprofessional. Positive answers were sadly few and far between, with fans instead tending to focus on the unhealthy state of the game, something that has existed for such a long time yet we are yet to see any significant changes.

Irish institutions are certainly out of touch with the people, be it government or sporting organisation. They fail to see what matters at ground level, they refuse to listen to those who in reality have a far greater sense of perspective and who can build a better future. Football in Ireland is the exact same, 38.9% of fans believe greater supporter ownership or involvement would improve the running of their club a lot with only 3.1% stating it wouldn’t improve it at all. On a national level, 52.4% believe that such would improve the running of football in Ireland. Sadly these figures are unlikely to strike any chord with the powerbrokers at Abbotstown.

24.4% of fans believe that UEFA’s financial fair play rules won’t improve the running of football in Ireland at all.

An overwhelming 97.4% of fans would like to see an organisation established that would allow League of Ireland supporters to have meaningful input into issues affecting the Airtricity League. Fans were also asked what are the biggest factors facing supporter groups in securing a shareholding within their club, with answers including finance (48.9%), little support from the wider football community (33.1%) and current club owners unwilling to cede any control (21.3%).

League of Ireland supporters ranked their main priorities as ensuring the long term stability of their club (78%), being able to watch their team every week (57%) and having an active underage structure producing players (35.3%). 68.9% of supporters believe their clubs main priority is the same.

This study is one that was long overdue. It contains fundamental elements for progress at both national and club level. The opportunities arising from such a study are endless. The way football is run in this country needs a serious revamp but sadly it may take a long time for Brown’s findings to come to fruition such is the ill mannered and outdated policies of both the FAI and the League of Ireland.

Major Boost For Celtic Nations Euro 2020 Bid

On May 15th, as time was drawing to a close, the Celtic nations – composed of Ireland, Scotland and Wales – made it known to UEFA that they were interested in entering the race to host the 2020 European Championship. “We can confirm that we have had initial discussions on the principle of a joint bid with both Wales and the Republic of Ireland and have declared our interest to UEFA in order that we can fully explore the opportunity in more detail,” said the Scottish FA in a statement released to the press. A statement of interest is all that this is; the official bids won’t be made for another 18 months or so.

This isn’t the first time the Celtic countries have formed an alliance in an attempt to secure the European Championship. Some may remember with shame the fiasco that was Ireland and Scotland’s attempt at hosting Euro 2008. Despite being proclaimed as one of the best choices, Irish and Scottish football officials were shocked and dismayed to learn that not only did they fail to secure the competition, but their joint bid was never really a serious contender. Several reasons were behind this revelation, and perhaps reasons behind the addition of Wales in the current bid. Firstly, the issue of which Dublin stadiums were to be used was unresolved. The GAA refused to allow the use of Croke Park to host a foreign game, while the IRFU wanted a new stadium built-in exchange for the use of rugby’s Lansdowne Road. Fears were also raised by UEFA regarding the concentration of too many stadiums in one city – Glasgow held three of the required arenas and should several matches be scheduled there for the same day, security and control could have been a major issue. Further problems surrounding financial and political stability in Ireland gave organisers little choice but to move on to more suitable candidates.

Ten years after that failed attempt, things are looking better. The exclusion of the use of Croke Park was a stumbling block in 2002 yet the proceeding years have seen the playing of several international football games at the home of the GAA, and the temporary relaxation of Rule 42 (prohibiting foreign sports utilising GAA grounds) so as to allow Irish rugby a temporary home during the construction of their new stadium. Considering the potential advantages for the Gaelic organisation, one would think that a second relaxation of their ban might not be a difficult thing to negotiate.

In addition, the bid is made possible by issues surrounding their opponents. As of the May 15th deadline, only two other countries had put forward their name for contention – Turkey and Georgia. Turkish football is currently under intense scrutiny by Uefa following the match fixing scandal that rocked the federation. Fenerbache had been excluded from the Champions League this season, while their club chairman currently resides in jail, awaiting a verdict. Also affecting the Turks is the soaring chance of Istanbul being chosen to host the 2020 summer Olympics. Uefa’s President, Michel Platini, has warned that if Istanbul were to be awarded the Olympics, he wouldn’t vote for them. However, he needn’t worry. The International Olympic Committee had itself reminded the country of its rules – an Olympic host nation cannot hold another major sporting event in the same year. Speaking to the Press Association, a senior Uefa official commented on both situations, saying “this could be good news for Scotland, Wales and Ireland if they were to proceed with a bid.”

But the good news for the Irish, Scottish and of course the Welsh too, doesn’t just end there. In relation to the Georgian bid, the threat doesn’t seem to be overly great. Though the original plan had been to pursue a joint bid with fellow ex-Soviet country, Azerbaijan, the latter elected to focus their attention on the 2020 Olympics, and soon after it was announced that Georgia was now attempting a solo bid. However, hosting such major competitions on their own is beyond most countries. Ten stadia with a minimum of 30,000 seats and rising are required; Georgia’s biggest stadium seats 55,000 and is the only one to cross the 30,000 threshold until the Bantumi Stadium opens next year. With low average income and GDP and 34 per cent of the country living below the poverty line, it’s hard to see eight more suitable stadiums being constructed, especially when they will see minimal use once the Euros are over. In recent days, news has come through regarding Azerbaijan’s failed Olympics bid, and their intention to rebid for the Euros alongside Georgia once more. But considering they have only one 30,000 seater stadium at present, and a 65,000 arena planned for 2015, they would fall far short of Uefa’s requirements. The Celtic nations have everything in place already, bar the possibility of having to construct one extra stadium, Georgia/Azerbaijan would face a bill for at least six arenas.

Between the three countries that have banded together, there are seven possible stadiums that do already meet the criteria or could with a little upgrade. What could make or break this bid, just like the last time, is whether or not the GAA decides to play ball. Across the 32 counties, they have eleven stadiums above the 30,000 mark alone, many of which are far greater in size than, several more whose capacity could be increased with the addition of a few thousand more seats. Now perhaps only a few, Páirc Úi Chaoimh or Semple Stadium, for example, might be actually usable. But France 2016 will be using ten stadiums, and with the GAA’s help, the three countries could easily match this.

But are three host countries too much, taking up 3 automatic slots? Three joint hosts aren’t exactly unheard of but usually one or two countries band together to shoulder the burden. And with all of these stories being thrown around about the ‘Celtic nations’, one little state in the middle of all this must be feeling left out and a little angry. Four host countries are far too much, two would nearly be better. So what about a joint bid with Northern Ireland? After all, our footballing world has been quite bound up with theirs in the last number of years. Northern footballers are entitled to play for the Republic, and have done so time and time again, and not to the best reception north of the border. Perhaps it is time to reconcile and offer the hand of peace. Through showing off their players in our jersey on the island as a whole. Joking aside though, there is a small possibility that it might work. Again, we would need the GAA’s help to succeed, as well as some stadium renovation north and south of the border. I won’t be as naïve to suggest that this could do something to heal the tension that still exists on both sides of the border once and for all. But surely a joint hosting of an event of such magnitude could do something good for relations between our two states? And perhaps a joint effort at hosting the summer championships in 2020 could bring both football associations back on more cordial terms since the FAI broke away to form their own organisation south of the border all those decades ago. At the very least, it’ll ensure they qualify for the event, not to mention ourselves, so on that basis they might go for it. And even more unlikely but still possible, such a venture, were it to go well, might allow for thoughts of a united Irish football team to begin to swirl back to the surface once more.

Considering there are 18 months left until concrete bids are submitted to Uefa, we might as well use the time to consider our plans as well as our alternatives. Discussion isn’t concrete and it doesn’t do any harm. What we do know is that the Euros are between a country that can’t really afford to host, one that seems quite preoccupied with the Olympics and then our own band of merry suitors. With the deck so stacked in our favour, God help us if we can’t manage to win this time around.

Top Apps For Euro 2012

Euro 2012 is fast approaching and with Ireland’s inclusion in the major competition, much of the country is quivering with anticipation. And in the days of Android and iPhone technology, being away from a television doesn’t mean missing out on all the excitement. Today, Irish News Review takes a look at the top apps available for Euro 2012.

1. UEFA Official Euro 2012

Platform – iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone

Cost – Free

Requirements – Android 1.6, iOS 4.2

The basic companion app to UEFA’s Euro 2012 competition, the official UEFA app offers everything the working fan might need – a full calendar of fixtures and results, national team selections, news in the run up to the competition as well as videos and pictures from the games. Basic player statistics from the qualifying stages of the competition are also included, updated along with each stage of the competition, including bookings, age and matches played. The interface itself is bordering on dull yet is easy to use, and even the most technophobic of users will have no trouble in finding out the latest results or searching for pictures from match day.

Pros

Despite not being the greatest app ever designed, it offers plenty for a freebie. Results are delivered straight to your hand, and with videos and match side pictures, the app has potential to become a fan favourite.

Cons

There are already several similar apps in usage, some better though a few worse. Early users have also reported that the app is a power hog, eating battery overnight while running in the background.

Verdict – 3.5/5 A decent app, offering everything one could expect from UEFA. Although it doesn’t contain much in the way of innovation, the lack of a price helps it just a little. Not much good to you at work, however, if you haven’t enough power left to turn your phone on to check the scores.

2. UEFA Euro 2012 by Carlsberg

Platform – iPhone, Android & Smart TV

Cost – Free

Requirements – Android 2.1, iOS 3.0, a Smart TV

Also free of cost, Carlsberg’s offering for the Euro 2012 market looks somewhat similar to the official competition app, unrelated, undoubtedly to the fact they are the games’ official sponsors and have been involved with the European Championships since 1988. The app is easy and pleasant to use; a mix of the familiar and complementary colours makes for a rather pleasant experience, and the app’s simple yet efficient layout means that getting lost is quite a hard thing to achieve. Unsurprisingly, Carlsberg offer a list of fixtures and results from the qualifiers to the very end of the Championship, including the international friendlies along the way. Some stats on all the players taking part in the event are included, yet, as before, they rarely delve into any great detail. The obligatory news section keeps the fan up to date on all national goings-on, videos too are offered, yet nothing overly bold or revolutionary. Should the user grow bored of results and match events, Carlsberg also offers a competitions tab, as well as a barfinder, for anyone stuck in Poland or Ukraine with a thirst.

Pros

Once again, the cost of the app is nil, which alongside brand recognition should draw quite a number of users. The eye-catching yet simple interface supersedes that of the official app.

Cons

Carlsberg’s offering isn’t much different that a range of apps already available. Statistics on both players and teams barely go into any great detail.

Verdict – 3/5

Ultimately, like the official UEFA app, shiny and simple to use without much effort, the app has been designed without a great deal of thought into making it the best that it could be, and simply settles for serving fan’s simplest needs.

3. Live Score Addicts

Platform – iPhone, iPod, iPad

Cost – Free

Requirements – iOS 4.2

For the football fan on the go, for whom immediate results are required, LiveScore Addicts is the app for you. The aim is simple – comprehensive results from just about every professional football league imaginable with no frills attached. Off-putting brown colour aside, setting up is easy, with users ready to go in a matter of minutes. For the Euro fan, selecting the European Championships is hassle free, with the app poised to bring in goals and match events as they happen. Though the font size may be a bit on the small side in an effort to squeeze a lot in, users have the option to switch to single match view, with clear indicators of each match event. Notifications can also be set for a variety of instances, including goals or bookings, or even simply when a particular team is playing.

Pros

The sheer scale of the app is impressive, comprehensive doesn’t do it justice. Simple and easy to use appears to be a byword for successful apps these days and LiveScores is no different. Though not specifically designed for the European Championships, access to the results is only several clicks away.

Cons

The drab brown colour is somewhat off-putting; this is an app people won’t be inclined to spend too much time browsing. In addition, immediacy is the name of the game when it comes to LiveScores; users aren’t offered access to any results or fixtures further than yesterday or tomorrow.

Verdict – 3/5 A solid app in its own right, but unlikely to become an outright hit.

4. Euro 2012 +

Platform – iPhone, iPod

Cost – €0.79

Requirements – iOS 5.0

Developed by The App Team Ltd, Euro 2012 + offers a far more in-depth application for the summer Championship, combining the best features of current apps, and adding a twist of its own. “Right from the very start we understood that for an iPhone app for Euro to be genuinely useful, it can’t be just a gimmick which merely displays a list of fixtures, but should allow users to quickly access all the detailed stats and information about the teams and players they are interested in”, explained Tom Kotecki, Director and Co-Founder. With detailed head to head stats for each fixture, past competition performance and brilliantly detailed information on each player and team, on top of news, fixtures and results, Euro 2012 + is certainly worth its small price tag. Stylistically, the purple/black design works well and navigation is a simple task and when combined with its impressive stats on everything Euro 2012 it makes for an interesting mix.

Pros

Obviously the stand out feature is the sheer amount of information on players and teams that users have access to, ensuring no fan will lose any pub argument during the Euros this summer.

Cons – With few drawbacks, this handy little app is one of the best on the market for its price, even head to head against the freebies. While the design and usability is near flawless, users on other platforms are left empty-handed, while only Apple users with iOS 5.0 or over will be able to access the app.

Verdict – 4.5/5 Fun and easy to use, thoroughly informative, it’s easy to see why its flying to the top of the download charts, though disappointing that Android users can’t take advantage of its impressive features.