After some quiet years, English football clubs are once again dominating the European scene. How is the sport played across Europe, and is this a golden age for English football?
What is special about football in Europe?
Football is the world’s favourite sport, played by nearly 300 million people around the globe. However, Europe alone is home to the world’s biggest clubs (including all 20 of the world’s richest teams) and the Champions League, which many see as the world’s most prestigious football tournament.
Is football played differently across Europe?
Each European country has its own league, with its own style. English football is famously fast and direct, in contrast to the slower, defensive Italian game. German teams are famed for their tight organisation. Spain’s football, meanwhile, is all about short passes and flamboyant ball skills.
Which league is the best?
Of course, every country loves their own league, but most fans agree that there are only two real contenders for Europe’s best: the Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
The Premier League is easily the most-watched sports league in the world. It is screened in 212 countries to 643 million homes, with a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people.
But, for years, it is Spanish teams who have done the best in European competitions. Seven of the last 12 Champions League finalists have come from Spain’s La Liga.
However, in 2019, England is back on top. Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal all made it into the finals of the Champions League and the Europa League.
It was the first time in history that all four finalists in Europe’s two major tournaments have come from one country.
Is this a golden age for English football?
It’s certainly an exciting time, and not just for clubs. England beat expectations to reach the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup for the first time in almost thirty years — and followed up with success in the Nations League tournament.
In the early 2000s, the so-called golden generation of England players, including Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard, failed to get past the World Cup quarter-finals. Many of today’s England stars are still in the early days of their careers, so fans believe the future is bright.
What is the secret to England’s success?
For one thing, English football clubs are very rich. English teams make up six of the world’s 10 richest clubs, and the Premier League earns around £5 billion a year from deals with TV companies.
But it’s not just about money. Many of the best managers in the world are working in England today, such as Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp; Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.
As Britain seeks to break away from the continent through Brexit, football is a success story of people from all over Europe working together.
- Do you like playing football?
- Which football club is the best in the world? Write a one-minute speech, stating your case. Get into pairs and debate your choices.
- Respected, admired.
- A defensive team will focus on stopping the other team from scoring, rather than trying to score for itself.
- Confident, stylish.
- Champions League
- The best clubs from each European league compete in this tournament.