The FIFA World Cup took over for most of the early part of the spring and summer this year. No matter where in the world you were, you’d hear something on the news almost every day about the World Cup, which took place in Brazil for the second time in its history in June and July.
To begin with it was coverage on whether the stadiums would be ready, then news on which players would be fit for which teams, and which teams were doing well in their training. The focus on the tournament was intense, and we all learnt a lot about Brazil and its recent history through various World-Cup connected or themed programmes.
For football fans, it was great, but for some of the rest of us, it was a little over the top. You could have been forgiven for thinking that nothing else was happening in the world! However, don’t think that you’re now safe for another four years – when the World Cup 2018 takes place in Russia.
There’s another international footballing tournament to come in just two years from now – the UEFA European Championship, otherwise known as Euro 2016. It may not be on the same scale as the World Cup, but it still features 54 national teams, that will be whittled down through qualifiers to the 24 teams which will take part in the Finals section of the tournament in France in June and July 2016.
Already those who like to keep their hand in Premier league cup betting can be easily distracted into looking at the odds for Euro 2016. Germany are the current favourites to win, with odds of around 7/2 at sites such as Bet365. Given the German victory in the World Cup last summer, perhaps this should come as no surprise. But France, as the host country, is also a firm favourite to win outright.
Currently the Premier League is on an international break as this weekend there are a number of Euro 2016 qualifiers taking place with England facing Slovenia at home, Germany playing minnows Gibraltar, Spain against Belarus and Italy playing Croatia.
For the traveller who has a football-mad partner, there is an upside. Euro 2016 could be your ticket to a great French holiday. It may not be possible to get tickets to any of the matches – but there’s time for that yet – but even just being in the country during this footballing bonanza will be a great experience.
As with most international sports tournaments these days, the matches are spread out across the country, with nine cities providing the match venues. These include Paris, Lille, Marseille, Lens, Bordeaux, St-Etienne, Toulouse, Nice and St Denis; any of which you can base a really interesting trip around. For the first time visitor to France, Paris seems like the most sensible choice as you can combine the fun of the Euro 2016 Finals with seeing one of the world’s most iconic and beautiful cities.
Instead of dreading the next footballing international tournament, take the opposite tack – grasp it with both hands as a great excuse to go and discover France!