The King of Prediction
Remember Paul, the legendary octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2010 World Cup? Two years later in Kiev, a psychic pig takes over where Paul the Octopus has left off. Khryak is the latest addition to the Ukrainian squad to tip the winners of the Euro 2012 matches. Although not the most photogenic among the psychic, organizers say his telepathic abilities are real. Kiev Euro 2012 PR Director, Official Kiev Euro 2012 Fan Zone Pr Director Svitlana Bovkun, saying (Russian) “We checked over two weeks his ability to predict outcomes of local and international matches and well… he has a psychic ability, we would not have taken him otherwise. We’ll see how accurate he is in just a few days.” Khryak’s powers will be officially tested on June 8th when the European soccer championships kick off in Poland and Ukraine. And even if Khryak miss-sniffs the winner of a match, organizers promise that he’ll be safe from the butcher’s knife. Elly Park, Reuters.
The curse of the European champions
Spain will begin UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying in high spirits as both reigning champions and FIFA World Cup holders, but if they are to triumph in Poland and Ukraine, they must perform an unprecedented feat.
While there has been a successful title defence in every other existing UEFA national-team championship – three for men, three for women plus one for futsal – no country has triumphed in the flagship tournament twice in succession. In fact, by the time the final is played in Kyiv on 1 July it will be 36 years since the previous occasion the holders even made it that far.
The first attempt to retain the European title was nearly a success. Having won the inaugural 1960 edition, the Soviet Union travelled to Spain four years later and reached the final, only to lose 2-1 to the hosts with a goal six minutes from time. As holders, Spain themselves and then Italy, the 1968 champions, missed out on the following four-team final tournament after suffering two-legged quarter-final defeats.
This is a uniquely European phenomenon with other senior continental competitions featuring at least one successful defence at some point – in fact the same team triumphed at the first two editions of the CONMEBOL Copa América (Uruguay), CAF Africa Cup of Nations (Egypt) and AFC Asia Cup (Korea Republic).
这是一个和奇特的欧洲杯现象。在其他的洲际大赛中，至少有一个冠军能成功实现卫冕 —— 事实上，乌拉圭就在成功地连拿两届美洲杯（最早的两届），埃及卫冕过非洲杯，而韩国卫冕过亚洲杯。