The start of a major tournament is always a source of great optimism. Only one team will win Euro 2020 later this summer but, as one of the great events of the sporting calendar kicked off this weekend, hope sprang eternal for 24 countries all over Europe. This time, maybe, it would be their year.
But on only the competition’s second day, just how unimportant the winners and losers of a game are were brought into the sharpest of focus. The images of Christian Eriksen lying prone on the pitch during Denmark’s opening game with Finland on Saturday, mistakenly broadcast in grizzly detail all over the world, will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed them.
Despite how it often makes us feel, football is not a game of life and death. The perspective that is so often lacking at the top end of sport came crashing into the consciousness as doctors attended to the Denmark midfielder and battled to save his life.