Next in line Euro 2016 is Group E. Also known as the group of death.

Why ? Because this group has Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland and Sweden.

I know that there is a chance for the best 3rd placed finisher to progress to the knockout stages, but would any of these want to take that risk ?

BELGIUM

They’ve inherited the phrase that cursed England a few years ago: The golden generation. They have a collection of players who all make their living in the toppermost clubs in various european league and most of them are on form at the moment. There is a chance that because of injuries, they’ll miss a few key players. Their captain, Vincent Kompany has a persistant hamstring problem. Who else that we know currently injured… Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Benteke, Divock Origi… But even if some of these players don’t make it they are still going to the finals with Thibaut Courtois, Thomas Vermaelen, Mousa Dembélé, Dries Mertens, Nacer Chadli, Adnan Januzaj, Kevin Mirallas and the very prolific Romelu Lukaku.
Star names everywhere and unlike that England ‘golden generation’ these players do gel together as a team. As to how far they can go in this one… There’s the group stage banana skin to avoid first, then after that who knows. I’m saying Semi-Finals at least.

I am happy to tell you that the national Belgium team sang a song for the 1980 European championships. Which by they way they also reached the final, so this must have brought them a bit of luck.

Actually I am not just happy, I’m overjoyed because of all the ingredients added to this single – For the song itself they chose a very well known instrumental tune – then added lyrics to it. As mentioned they sang on the record and here’s the peak of the mountain – the multi-lingual Belgians sang this in English.

Marvel then at the delight that is Red Devil Rock:


ITALY

Very much a team in transition. Very much a team that doesn’t have that many recognisable names right now. They’ve still got the backbone with players like Buffon, Bonucci, Antonelli and Motta, but they are still looking to find the right players for other positions. Especially up front there are issues. Stephan El Shaarawy hasn’t lived up to his potential, but they also have Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne. I’m not discounting them though. Traditional cold starters (which might be a hindrence if they do in this group, but always thereabouts in the Quarters or Semi Finals. It all depends on what they do at the beginning.

We are going back to the 1982 World Cup for this song about the Italian national team back then.

Before I mention the song I have to mention and remind you of another very famous tune also released in 1982 that (if you were around at the time) you heard everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If you had one of those Casio VL-Tone keyboards

If you didn’t click that link: The aforementioned keyboard had on one of the default settings a repetative beat which inspired a German band to create this:

It says that it is the official video but this is the one I remember.
After it’s release there were hundreds of cover versions. (The French one was another of my favourites).

And yes you know where this is going. There was a football and music version. It was created by an Italian producer and in the lyrics you’ll hear the names of the Italian national team being read out.


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

They barely scraped in via the playoffs. This is only their third Euro appearance. Their first one in 1988 was memorable because in their opening match, the Republic of Ireland beat England 1-nil, but sadly never got out of the group after that. They had to wait until 2012 for their next chance and this time… err let’s talk about Euro 2016 shall we…? Because nearly all of the national team earn their living in the Prem or Championship you’ll know nearly all of them. They have the ability but have to face facts here. With this group draw that they’ve got… Ah you know the fans will have a great week in France.

I’ve posted mentions about the Republic of Ireland’s football and music many times. Have a look. It’s just a choice of which song to highlight here.

I have decided to go back to their first Euro championship and the official song, sung by the team.
There’s a bonus – here’s a video of them singing the song along with Gay Byrne:

» The (1988) Republic of Ireland Soccer Squad – The Boys In Green


SWEDEN

They too had to qualify via the playoffs and were rewarded with a spot in this group. They have this one player… Well alright they have others too, but nobody will notice or pay any attention to them. I mentioned above about there being an opportunity for the best placed team that finish 3rd in their table going through. This might be their best chance. But then again the Republic of Ireland might be thinking that too.

A quick aside before we continue… Yes we are talking about him again:
In the other major european competition – Eurovision – this year Sweden is going to be represented by Frans. He’ll be singing If I Were Sorry and he will win it with that song. Frans has a football and music connection. When he was 7 years old he sang on a tribute song to Ibranmaich: Who’s Da Man (Zlatan).

The band and song I want to feature is actually a very, very decent tune. It is by a Swedish band which sadly looks like they are not around any more. Name of the band is The Charade and they were band of the week back in 2006.

In that same year they did an unofficial song about the Swedish team for the World Cup. The video is below.
The audio below that is a Euro 2008 remix of the same tune.

» The Charade – Dressed In Yellow and Blue (Beatfanatic Euro 2008 Remix)

Group E finish. Now on to the final Group: F.

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