Once a year, European nations come together to battle it out on the football field, with the dream of holding aloft the finely polished piece of silverware, the Axios Euro Cup. This prestigious award that signifies a year’s worth of sweat, blood and tears, will be won and lost on Saturday in the picturesque, wine region of Bordeaux, France.
Proceedings were officially kicked off on Friday night at the opening ceremony, which was attended by captains and coaches of the twelve competing nations in the men’s competition, and the two women’s teams that will be competing for their own Euro Cup.
Madame Bouvier, President of the parent body of football in France, Leo Lagrange, addressed an eager crowd, welcoming them to Bordeaux and thanking all of the people who have made the event possible.
Bouvier stated that the event should focus on the “values of Leo Lagrange” and that all players must respect their opponent, the rules of the game and the umpires decisions.
AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow then also welcomed the crowd and thanked Leo Lagrange and the other supporters of CNFA for their support.
Dow went on to express his delight with the venue and how well the event has been organised. He reminisced about the ANZAC Cup, which was held in France in April this year, and stated that he is “[looking] forward to France putting on a great show.”
In 2013, the twelve teams who will be vying to have their country’s name forever etched into AFL Europe history are; Finland, France, Croatia, Spain, Ireland, England, Iceland, Norway, Italy, the Crusaders, Catalunya and Austria. The two women’s teams who will contend the Championship match are France and the Crusaders.
Matches begin this morning with defending champions, Ireland running out against Norway in their first match. Croatia, who won the first Euro Cup in 2010, will play the Crusaders first up and the strong lineup of England will tackle Catalunya in their first round match.
You can stream all the matches on pitch 1 live here