The European Championships have long been my favourite sporting event, featuring more parity than the World Cup and more football than the Olympics. But the 2016 tournament, which kicks off with a clash between France and Romania this morning (NZT), has inspired plenty of reasons for hate ...

Michel Platini

As someone born after the brilliant midfielder played his last game, the Platini I know is a bumbling and corrupt administrator banned from football for four years. And his chief accomplishment in the role? Being the man responsible for this year's diluted 24-team format. Seriously, to hell with that guy.


It was heart-warming, kind of, to see England fans in Marseille chanting, "Isis, where are you?" But surely it would be a greater sign of solidarity toward the hosts if we go back to hating the French? It feels like it's been too long since someone called them the cheese-eating surrender monkeys.


Kickoffs in New Zealand will be 1am, 4am and 7am. Which is giving me horrible, sleep-deprived flashbacks to Euro 2012. Why can't the tournament change things up? How about a midnight kickoff or, even better, one at the crack of dawn? Really test the players' quality by screwing with their melatonin levels.



Iceland! Really? Are we 100 per cent sure Iceland are in this tournament? The Iceland with a population of 330,000 and an area of 100,000 square kilometres? The Iceland who have never before qualified for a major event? Well, fair play. I'm rooting for Iceland.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Please. A nation of maritime explorers is now a nation of land-based divers.

The Netherlands

How the hell did the Netherlands fail to qualify for Euro 2016? A major tournament without the Dutch is like a US presidential election without Donald Trump: a lot less orange.


They're basically just a tarted up version of Central United.

Jamie Vardy

Anyone buying into the Vardy 'fairytale' must either be ill-informed or wilfully ignorant. This is a man who has been convicted of assault - being forced to play with an electronic tag for six months, which is admittedly impressive - and a man who has been caught on camera racially abusing a bystander at a casino.


Have you ever perused the Wikipedia page for famous Albanians? I'll save you some time: don't. It's bad when their most well-known footballers play for other countries (Shaqiri for Switzerland, Januzaj for Belgium). It's even worse when Melbourne Victory striker and all-around d-bag Besart Berisha makes the list.


If they don't ruin your tournament, they will ruin your life, at least if the Hostel movie is anything to go by (my only frame of reference for Slovakia).

Gareth Bale

Just check out this tweet from Opta Sports: "Gareth Bale had a hand
in 9/11 goals for #WAL in quals (82%), the highest ratio of players at #Euro2016." What's wrong with that? Well, try ending that sentence before the word 'goals'. We appear to have uncovered a shocking conspiracy.


Its most famous residents are a cartoon journalist and a statue of a boy peeing. And, as recently as March, they were No 1 in Fifa's inexplicable world rankings, despite having won precisely nothing. Jog on, Belgium.

Czech Republic

With the absence of Denmark, will easily win the Boat Races at the post-tourney party, with the Republic of Ireland the presumptive runner-up.


The last good team they had was in 1954. Unfortunately, Puskas, Kocsis and Hidegkuti are just past their primes.

Northern Ireland

It's not really a country, is it?

Antonio Conte

If it weren't enough for the Italian manager to be taking charge of Chelsea following the tournament, we also have his sordid past to despise, receiving a 10-month touchline ban for his involvement in the 2011 Italian match-fixing scandal. On the plus side, a player who was virtually bald now has a wonderful mane of hair.

Super Victor

Who is Super Victor? A creepy eight-foot tall boy who is the Euro 2016 mascot. Unless, that is, you Google it, which is when you discover Super Victor is actually far better known as a popular sex toy. At least a tournament spokesman cleared up any confusion: "All we can say is that they [the sex toys] are not produced by Uefa."


They welcome migrants and play beautiful football - what is this, opposite century? The world champions and tournament favourites, there is little to hate about Germany when assessing who will romp their way through Europe in a quest to achieve total domination.

Aside from, well, y'know ...