Knowing European football

By DEBORA RUBI

For most European football news, the best approach is to go through its governing body: UEFA.com (www.uefa.com). The website is most useful in finding information regarding any of the teams that are involved in any of its three main competitions, those being the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League and Euro 2012.

The UEFA does not directly categorize the independent leagues, so researching smaller teams from those leagues would be done through their specific websites. For bigger teams that are involved in continental competitions — such as Barcelona, Manchester or even Lyons — information can be found on many of the teams.

Clicking on any of the tabs of the individual competitions takes you to many features. For this example, we’ll look at the Euro 2012 as qualifiers for the competition are being placed this weekend. We’ll focus our attentions on Ireland and teams in its specific qualifying group.

The Euro 2012 page has the latest news on games, players, and teams. It also has videos, standings, and team profiles. First will look at the standings to see the teams that are in Ireland’s division and how they’ve fared this weekend. Finally, we’ll look at Ireland’s individual profile.

We see that Ireland is in Group B with Slovakia, Russia, Armenia, Andorra, and Macedonia. Ireland is tied with Slovakia and Russia after having lost their match-up with the Russians this weekend. Now we go to the individual Ireland site to see what information UEFA provides on the team.

The individual Republic of Ireland page provides news, video, standings, last matches, roster and statistics. To look further into the research capabilities in the site, we’ll look at the statistics section.

The statistics page is a little misleading as it provides statistics for the teams in the entire competition, rather for the specific team. But here it is still useful in seeing how Ireland compares to other teams.

We’ll look at goals scored, as it’s the flashiest of statistics. The leading scorer in the competition is Klaas Huntelaar of the Netherlands with 6. In comparison, Robbie Keane is the leading scorer for the Republic of Ireland with two goals.

We can also compare goal capacity amongst the teams as opposed to individual players. Germany and Hungary are tied for the most goals scored with 10, while Ireland has scored six goals in the competition. Here we’ve already found an interesting little fact — Huntelaar has scored as many goals as the entire Irish team.

While the statistics page can be the most interesting, the match and standings create a history and context in which to place the statistics which is very important when researching stories or coming up with story ideas.

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