International Children News Bureau EURO2020: Digest 1 – Baku, Rome, Seville
Fight. Support. Luck. Victory. Drama. The football world will remember this summer as one of the most exciting, as the long-awaited UEFA EURO2020 covered the entire continent with football fever for a whole month. It was very special – just imagine, it was held in 11 cities at once: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Glasgow, London, Rome, Copenhagen, Munich, Seville, and Saint Petersburg. And the young journalists of the Football for Friendship programme from these 11 cities got united in the International Children’s News Bureau to see the events of the tournament with their own eyes and tell the whole world how it was.
It all started in Italy. On the 11th of June the most awaited sports championship in the world – Euro 2020 – finally took its start in Rome. Despite all the difficulties, pandemic restrictions, and cancellations, this year 24 national teams finally will be able to meet on the pitch to decide which one is the strongest (and the luckiest) football team of the continent. That’s very remarkable that the opening game took place in Italy – a country that suffered a lot from the coronavirus pandemic.
Riccardo Collante, 14 y.o., F4F young journalist from Italy: “Before the match we were lucky to see the colorful opening ceremony. Bright fireworks have illuminated the sky. Famous musicians Andrea Bocelli, singing Nessun Dorma, and Martin Garrix with the official song of Euro 2020 took part in the show. If you ask what unites music and football – I will say that both of them are kinds of art”.
“It happened so that the first game threw together on a field two of the most temperamental teams. And the most emotional part of the start of Euro 2020 was the moment when the players sang national anthems. Together with the fans from the stands, of course. Though it was only allowed to fill 25% of the stadium, it seemed like the whole city was there. We were singing songs, shouting chants, and giving maximum support to our players. Turkish fans were also very loud, whistling” – continues his colleague Adriano Neri.
Young Journalist Marco D’Achille noted the unique atmosphere of passion for football and support that he called a “True spirit of sport”:
„My name is Marco and I am a player of the Under13 Delfino Pescara 1936 – Italy team. Yesterday I was in Rome, thanks to Football for Friendship, as a journalist to tell you about the atmosphere that I experienced in the first UEFA EURO2020 Turkey-Italy match. In this photo, I see the true spirit of sport. It was exciting to witness the opening ceremony of Euro 2020 and to be able to see the fans cheering together for their national teams. The atmosphere in the stands amazed me because I was able to notice the true values of friendship, respect, equality, fairness, peace, traditions, and honor that make me even more passionate about the splendid game of Football.
The game was really fascinating. In the first half, there was a hard struggle and the forces were equal. But by and by the Azzurri started to dislodge the Turks to their side of the field and after their mistake and sending a ball to their own net the Italian team became encouraged and scored two more goals in the second half. Our team proved to be one of the strongest on this tournament. Forza Italia!!!”
Games were held in Baku no less brightly, colorfully, and noisily. A special feature of this country was cordiality and hospitality – despite all the restrictions, the city was decorated for football fans, and around the stadium before the matches the audience was entertained by artists of all types – musicians, actors, dancers, cosplayers, and illusionists. This city has become a domestic arena for the national team of the neighboring country of Turkey. The players received a lot of support from the spectators in the stands.
F4f Young Journalist from Baku Fatima Maharramli noted: On the 20th of June, I went to the Switzerland-Turkey match held at the Olympic stadium. We arrived at the stadium in 2 hours as a full house was expected. Going to the stadium, I saw hundreds of fans with flags, drums, and national costumes. Just on the way to the stadium, I saw all sorts of robots, dancers, animators. It was expected to be a very difficult game, despite the fact that most bookmakers put the odds on Turkey much more than on Switzerland. The match started very interestingly. The Turkish team played very well but unfortunately, on the 6th minute, the Swiss team scored a goal. A quick goal always demotivates the team but Turkey remained strong. After scoring the goal, Turkey continued to offer strong resistance to Switzerland, but unfortunately, after 20 minutes, the second goal was scored. Both goals were not scored because of the mistakes of the Turks, but Switzerland was on guard that day. Unfortunately, after the second goal, some fans started to leave. This of course had an impact on the Turkish national team, but most of the fans stayed to support the fraternal team. The referee’s whistle sounded and both teams left for the break. After the break, the Turkish team returned to the stadium very encouraged and on the 62nd minute, the motivated team scored a goal. There was a celebration at the stadium. The fans were delighted with the filigree goal of Irfan Kahvetchi and after the goal, the Turks increased their chances of winning. Personally, I sat with bated breath for the whole match, it was so interesting, but unfortunately, the Swiss scored the third goal on the 68th minute. The Turks were completely demoralized realizing that at least for a draw you need to win back 2 more goals Until the very end the fans believed in the Turkish national team but unfortunately their hopes were not fulfilled and the score remained unchanged. After the match I was very disappointed The Turks showed a very good game but Switzerland was just better that day. Unfortunately, Turkish national team does not leave the group for Euro 2020 but the fans will not abandon their favorite team.”
The small town of Seville hosted the European Championship matches in Spain. The local team turned out to be a strong contender and, with the support of the audience, was able to reach the semifinals. And for F4F journalists, attending matches was an opportunity not only to cheer for their team but also to gain invaluable journalistic experience. Armando Martinez shares some insides of a successful work of the young journalist: “First and most important is that you have to know what are you going to talk about, you mustn’t talk about things that people don’t care to read, you have to talk about the important things and you mustn’t say the first thing that comes to your mind. You have to be concentrated. When you are in the place you are going to talk about like in a football match, you have to see all the details that happen there, so when you are going to write about that, the report will be more interesting. Another tip is taking notes during the time that you are there. “
Young journalists have truly become our eyes and ears, helping to move to each of the 11 host cities. Next time we’ll continue our journey to how Euro 2020 took place in some other countries.