Relief for the recent debt troubles of the eurozone has come in unexpected form this week, with three of the countries using the single currency making it to the World Cup semi-finals – and both finalists being eurozone members (Spain and the Netherlands for those living in a cave with internet access to this blog). It was only a matter of time, of course, before some eurozone leader made this point - and here is ECB Head Jean-Claude Trichet:
“Three Eurozone countries are among the best football teams in the world: that’s very impressive!”
Is it possible that there is an inverse relationship between currency success and performance on the football field? Without bothering to do any sort of analysis – let us conclude No – and rest assured that joining the euro would not have improved the performance of England’s World Cup squad, nor Sweden’s chances of qualifying.
But perhaps what is more interesting to postulate – is can it be long until some bright soul suggests a eurozone football team – or a European Union one? Lest we forget the proposal for a single EU Olympic team…
Perhaps the Netherlands and Spain could play the game in the spirit of the West Germany/Austria match at the 1982 World Cup and declare a victory for the eurozone as a whole – boosting consumer and investor confidence?
In the likely (and welcome) absence of such an outcome, Paul the psychic Octopus has predicted that Spain will win Sunday’s World Cup final – and he has been right about every game predicted so far this tournament. Despite the threats on his life outlined in various German newspapers - Spanish PM Jose Luis Zapatero has offered (£ link) to send protection teams to ensure he lives to see if his prediction comes true.
As for us? We’re backing Team Eurozone!