It was an historical day in Wroclaw and Warsaw yesterday – and for two fine football games. 27 Summer Olympic Games, 18 World Cups and Eight European final tournaments have taken place (in early years the location was just chosen from amongst the semi-finalists) and no-one thought of awarding any hosting rights to this battered region called Eastern Europe.
Czechoslovakia had won the European championship and played two World Cup Finals – the Czech republic came close to winning the Euro in 1996. Hungary too are twice World Cup runners ups. Poland has won two World Cup bronze medals. When Yugoslavia existed it was a world power too. Now they have declined a notch for economic region but still have potential in droves.
The players from this region that have graced the games – such as Puskas, Florian Albert, Masopust, Sekularac, Boniek, Nedved and so many others have graced European football – usually for western Clubs.
I don’t think the thousands on Wroclaw streets yesterday gave a thought to historical significance. They were just pairing their faces and drinking beer and singing and having fun. But for the first time in history European football was giving back.