There are two words that should be on the lips of every UK supporter at all costs, and these are “English competence” and” Edinburgh Summer Olympics”. Well, not actually, but that is probably closer. The UK must aspire to be that little bit different and demonstrate its superiority to its neighbours in the European context, not only in its domestic arena but also in its international one. We all know that the English performance record since the millennium is dismal, and this has been made worse by the Olympic failure and the relatively weak international performance of English teams in recent years. This has been exploited in the Scottish National Basketball Association, where the English basketball team has never won the title, but the facilities are surely better than anywhere else.
So, a superb opportunity to emulate what England did in the last century is available once again, and there is an excellent chance to do so if we can get our act together early. Euro 2021 is potentially the start of a golden era for English basketball, and getting the best possible England team should be our ultimate ambition. It is worth considering a few ideas to achieve this.
The first option is to emulate the old-style style of European basketball, which meant playing mostly in Europe for two or three years, then concentrating on international competitions for the rest of the year. Such a schedule would see us in qualification groups in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, with perhaps Ireland and the Netherlands as back-up. The obvious disadvantage is that qualification from such a top two position would almost guarantee an automatic place at the World Cup, which has now become a vital qualification criterion. A top four finish, therefore, would almost guarantee a place at the World Cup, although the same would not be guaranteed by the semi-finals or the play-offs.
A more sensible way of securing a top two spot would be to play more friendlies against lower league teams and then build up a momentum against higher leagues in the second half of the season, when we are likely to be more rested and confident. Such fixtures could also give us an opportunity to learn from our difficult friendlies and perhaps win some confidence. The semi-finals and the play-offs should then be played against the top sides in England and the quarter-finals regularly. This would enable us to develop a good understanding of how we play against the better players and learn from our poor performances.
Another idea is to try and hook up as many of the semi-finals and play-offs as possible, so that we can maximise the exposure to the wider audience and increase our media exposure at a time when the importance of the tournament is at its greatest. By buying a large number of tickets, we could also minimise costs, although this is of course largely a matter of personal preference. We could also choose a venue which could allow us to host the games in future years, and it might even be possible to stage the tournament in an existing stadium. The availability of a large stadium means that potential host cities such as Liverpool and Manchester will become possibilities in the coming years if need be. Click here for more details about Piala Eropa 2020
If we are successful in securing the place of the final tournament in Turkey, there is every chance that England will have plenty of opportunities to improve our football skills and performance levels. One of the benefits of playing in these competitive nations is that we can work with our national team coaches and devise new training strategies. It is also useful for our development as players to be able to play against other top class sides and to experience different styles of football. There is no doubt that the semi-finals and the play-offs represent the best chance for English teams to gain extra experience and build on the skills that we have already learnt during the season. If we can win the final tournament in Turkey, there is every chance that we will improve our game away from home, making our team more prepared for the final tournaments to come.