UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 19
Tuesday 26 June 2012
The second day of the break between the Quarter-Finals and the Semi-Finals so a chance to explore some peripherals of the European Championship, namely the trophy and the official Euro 2012 match-ball.
The trophy awarded to the winners of the European Championships is called The Henri Delaunay Trophy and is named in honour of Henri Delaunay, the first General Secretary of UEFA. Frenchman, Delaunay came up with the idea of a European Championship featuring international teams, but died five years prior to the first tournament in his homeland in 1960, when the Soviet Union were the winners. The trophy was designed by Arthus-Bertrand and overseen by Delaunay’s son Pierre. Since that initial tournament in 1960 it has been awarded to the winning team until the Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal, where Greece were the winners. For the 2008 competition co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland, a new trophy was made and won by Spain. This latest incarnation of the cup has been remodelled making it larger, with the sterling silver trophy weighing 8kg and is 60cm tall. Other differences from the original include, the removing of a small figure juggling a ball on the back and the marble plinth. The names of the winning countries which previously appeared on the plinth have now been engraved on the back of the trophy and the silver base has been enlarged to provide stability.
The official match-ball used at Euro 2012 is called The Adidas Tango 12. Football fans of a certain age will remember the original Tango ball which was used in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. This ball has been vigorously designed and tested, especially after the complaints about the 2010 World Cup ball the Jabulani. Adidas claim that the Euro 2012 ball is designed to be easier to dribble and control. Indeed at the tournament to date, there does not appear to have been any bad press for the ball at all. In order to reflect the identities of the current co-hosts, Poland and Ukraine, the ball features a coloured outline inspired by their respective flags. A feature less obvious to the eye, are three bespoke graphics which “…celebrate the decorative art of paper cutting, a tradition in the rural areas of both host countries which the designers say creates a link to the key characteristics of football – unity, rivalry and passion…” (from www.soccerballworld.com). Who will have the ‘balls’ come Sunday to lift the trophy?