Euro 2016: Whose team has played like their wine industry? (Part 2)

Group C

GERMANY

Football - Das Team might have the most uninspiring nickname possible but once again they look very good. Like France however they lack a world class striker and played the first two games with attacking midfielder Mario Götze up top, and managed only a 0-0 draw with Poland. Finished 1st.

Wine – German wine can be exceptional but is still unfashionable, except with the wine trade (which is a bit like Würst being fashionable in Germany). There is also a large amount of wine of questionable quality at lower prices in a country where the ripening of grapes can be hit and miss.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Australia - Solid at the lower end and incredibly exciting in the mid to high price. Lacking a striker also compares echoes in Australian wine, where the real top wines are very heavy, extracted and tend to be sold to the Chinese.

POLAND

Football – Qualified with relative ease, scoring twice and not conceding at all. they have a world class striker in Lewandowski but perhaps lack the midfield creativity to go all the way. Finished 2nd.

Wine – There are currently six wineries in Poland certified to produced wine. So absolutely tiny!

Whose wine industry have they played like? Hungary – solid at the lower end of the market and world class at the top end (Tokaji) but lacking that excitement at the middle price.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Football – A surprise win over Ukraine was an excellent result, and Northern Ireland will be ecstatic to qualify form a tough group.  Finished 3rd (qualified).

Wine – What wine?

Whose wine industry have they played like? Luxembourg - There are a few really interesting Luxembourg wines but you rarely see them in the world of wine (much like Northern Ireland at a major tournament).

UKRAINE

Football – Ukraine got drawn in a horrible group and would not have been expected to break into the top two, but they would have expected a better performance against both Poland and Germany. They will be even more disappointed at their performance against Northern Ireland. Finished 4th.

Wine – Perhaps surprisingly Ukraine has long-established winemaking tradition dating back to the 11th century. Not exactly well known but they do produce some exciting sparkling and sweet wines.

 

Group D

CROATIA

Football - Croatia have been a revelation, and the true dark horses of this competition (see Group F for clarification). Produced possibly the best performance so far to hand Spain their first loss at the Euros since 2004. Finished 1st.

Wine – Croatian wine is little known in the UK, but what you can find is truly exciting. Very little is produced at the lower end but those in the mid to high price range can be brilliant. 

Whose wine industry have they played like? Italy - solid enough at the lower price, and very exciting above that.

SPAIN

Football – Looked imperious in first two games and continued to pass the opposition into submission. Impressive yes, interesting... I'm not so sure. They made a number of changes against Croatia and have paid the price of falling into the harder side of the draw. Finished 2nd.

Wine – Consistently in the top three producers in the world by quantity, and typically the country with the most vines. Spain can produce some spectacular wine at all prices but as always when you produce so much there is bound to be some which is not quite so impressive.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Spain – some great wines across the board with plenty of strength in depth. The football team left out Juan Mata - what England would give for his creativity in this tournament.

TURKEY

Football – A tight loss to Croatia and a thumping by Spain left Turkey staring at an early exit, but they beat the Czech Republic to give hope of a best third place qualification. Were not expected to make much more of a mark on the championships. Finished 3rd (did not qualify).

Wine – There is a long history of grape growing in Turkey, and neighbours Iran and Georgia are thought to be where winemaking originated. Turkey is the world's fourth largest producer of grapes but much of this is for table grapes and raisins.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Not particularly impressive with some way to go - India.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Football – Poor. Finished 4th.

Wine – Once again, not widely known but there is a strong Czech wine industry, focused on the south of the country along the border with Austria, thus sharing many grape varieties with it's neighbour. Has some way to go but there is definitely some excitement around.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Thailand - there is some semblance of life but nobody is really yet aware they are on the scene.

Group E

ITALY

Football - Solid as always, and they produced a tactical masterclass against Belgium. Completely out-played by the mighty Republic of Ireland though and that should worry them. Plus there are serious concerns about the future of Italian football with very few talented youngsters coming through. Finished 1st.

Wine – One of the global powerhouses. Regionally diverse and strong across the board with plenty of young exciting winemakers maintaining quality and intrigue.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Champagne - often brilliant, the absolute top at marketing their wine, but with global warming, what will the future hold?

BELGIUM

Football – Tactically outclassed against Italy, perhaps demonstrating naivety, but produced a couple of displays which perhaps show what this team of extremely talented youngsters is capable of. Finished 2nd.

Wine – Well, it exists.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Austria – its wine industry has some of the most exciting young winegrowers in the world.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Football – Possibly the toughest group of the lot and to get four points as well as beat Italy to seal qualification meant they became heroes. Finished 3rd (qualified).

Wine – I know there is the odd winery but really?!! It rains more in Ireland than in England!

Whose wine industry have they played like? New Zealand - Impressive for it's size and hugely popular.

SWEDEN

Football – No dream swansong for the self-anointed "legend" Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Actually not very impressive and you feel that the heady days for Sweden (Larsson, Ibrahimovic et al) might be behind them. Finished 4th.

Wine – Some exists but this is very much not the climate for it!

Whose wine industry have they played like? Bordeaux - clinging on to former glories.

Group F

Hungary

Football - Hungary have been superb. They have a rich history of footballing brilliance and it is great to see them back at the top of their game. You do question the strength of this group though. Finished 1st.

Wine – World renowned for Tokaji, the unctuous dessert wine. There is also an abundance of cheaper wine due to the low production costs. The wine industry is increasing in quality and there will soon be lots of buzz around Hungarian wine (watch this space).

Whose wine industry have they played like? France - regal brillance

ICELAND

Football – Proof that hard work and team spirit can get you a long way. What would the odds on Iceland going unbeaten in the group stage? Surely everybody's second team. Finished 2nd.

Wine – Does not exist.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Portugal - Great at the lower end and of late a real success story in the wine industry.

PORTUGAL

Football – Have had a nightmare. Should have beaten Iceland and Austria, then played their part in the game of the tournament against Hungary. Lucky to qualify and showing defensive frailties. Finished 3rd (qualified).

Wine – Portuguese wine has been a real success story of late. The hot climate produces fruit forward wines, coupled with the relatively low labour costs, making Portugal among the most consistent producers in the world for inexpensive wines. Despite a burgeoning artisan industry, they're yet to win many accolades for their top wines, but they have time on their side.

Whose wine industry have they played like? Wales - not looking like ripping up any trees any time soon.

AUSTRIA

Football – Pundits had been picking Austria as the dark horse for these championships and they have flattered to deceive. They certainly have a number of quality players but never appeared to gel as a team. Very disappointing. Finished 4th.

Wine – One of the most exciting wine nations in the world. There is a strong and resurgent industry. There are also a number of brilliant, artisan growers crafting innovative and often well-priced wines from some of the lesser known regions. 

Whose wine industry have they played like? Never even arrived at the party - Eritrea

 

*Please note all opinions are my own and are both arbitrary and subject to change daily, depending on what wines have impressed me.

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