Alex Massie

Annals of Punditry | 7 June 2008

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Euro 2008 starts today and happily we're spared the agony of watching Scotland play. The BBC are doing their best to persuade us that even a tournament "without England" might be worth watching even though most sentient people appreciate that England's failure to qualify actually enhances the tournament, especially for the TV viewer who might have an increased chance of intelligent, astute, imaginative, perceptive TV coverage.

Not so fast my friends! Here's the BBC's Gary Lineker explaining why he thinks Spain can win the tournament:

It is open, but I am going for those perennial underachievers in Spain...the feeling is that [the] team chokes, but they have done well in sports like golf and motor racing where they have shown they have the bottle.

So: Sergio Garcia winning a golf tournament or two and Fernando Alonso's success in F1 enhance Spain's prospects of winning Euro 2008? Amazing. Lineker's other reason for supposing Spain can do well?

Spain also have this experience of players going abroad - their national team has never had that before.

By abroad, of course, Lineker means England. Well, maybe, but let's just say that having lots of chaps playing in the Premier League didn't exactly enhance England's prospects for winning the tournament, did it?

Gary Lineker is paid £1.5m a year. By you.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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