So the best soccer tournament in the world gets underway tomorrow, Euro 2008.
Why is it the best? For starters, almost every team in the tournament deserves to be there, save Austria and Switzerland.
Also, since the field is kept at a minimum (16), the level of mediocrity found at the World Cup isn't seen. It's the best of the best. Italy. Spain. Holland. Germany. Name a team and you're bound to name a footballing giant.
Surprises abound. Look at Greece four years ago in Portugal or Denmark in 1988.
In terms of continental competitions, I'd rate the Euros a step above the African Cup of Nations (which has rapidly become a major competition) and the Copa America, South America's championship.
My pick for 2008? Spain. It's their time. I'm also the writer of the Spain Euro 2008 blog, so I'm biased. But really, they're due.
So today's BBC has an article about players of African origin playing in the distinguished tournament. Quite fascinating to see so many players who can trace their direct roots back to Africa.
France has the biggest contingent of African players.
Patrick Vieira and Patrice Evra hail from Senegal, Claude Makelele and Steve Mandanda were born in Kinshasa, Sidney Govou is the son of a former Benin international, and Lassana Diarra has roots in Mali.
Samir Nasri and rising star Karim Benzema are of Algerian origin.
Nasri has been nicknamed the 'new Zidane', as the greatest of France's players of African origin grew up like him in the south of France in an Algerian family.
The latest addition to the French squad is Bafetimbi Gomis, who hesitated between France and Senegal, before scoring a double on his debut for the Blues last month.But the list doesn't end there. To see who else shares an African origin, please click the article link above. And please win this time, Spain!!!