17 June 12
We just returned from The Graduate, the biggest sports bar in Davis, where we were watching the final matches in Group B of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. The teams playing were Germany versus Denmark and Portugal versus the Netherlands, and the two matches were going on simultaneously. The two games in the final round of each of the groups takes place at the same time so as to avoid having the results from one match bias the play of the last match, and the concurrency makes for lots of drama. Going into play today any of the four teams could advance, though the scenarios for certain combinations were complicated.
All this makes for an interesting media experience, with half of the many screens in the Grad tuned to one match, half to the other match, and trying to pay attention to what is happening in both matches at once. I don’t think I have ever tried watch two sporting events like that before. I am pulling for Germany and Denmark to go through. But that means that who I root for at any given moment depends upon the scores in both matches. Let’s see — Netherlands are up 1-0….that means that if scores stay the same in the end Germany and Denmark go through, but we don’t want Netherlands to score 2 goals, because they would then go through, but now that Portugal has tied it up, we want Netherlands to score again…and wait, now that Portugal has taken the lead, if Denmark by some chance scores a goal, Germany would be going out…
In the end Portugal and Germany both finished strongly and won their respective matches 2-1 apiece. Portugal will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, and Germany will play Greece. It’s a good atmosphere at the Grad to watch these big footie matches, with quite an international crowd always showing up.