The Beautiful Game: Euro Soccer: Just as Good as the World Cup, if Not Better


The German defender Jérôme Boateng clearing the ball from the line during a victory against Ukraine in Euro 2016 this past weekend. Germany won the World Cup in 2014.

Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

For some American fans, the World Cup is the be-all and end-all of international soccer. There is no close second.

Across the Atlantic, though, many fans, soccer writers and even some players have contended that the European championships, or Euros, which began on Friday, produce better soccer than the World Cup.

The pro-Euro argument is that a lot more teams compete in the World Cup, including some from countries that have rarely done well at the international level. This can create too many lopsided games and possibly drag down the overall quality of the soccer. So while there have been many great games in the World Cup, the thinking goes, the standard of play has been lower on balance.

There are reasons for assuming this is true. The best players from around the world overwhelmingly play for European clubs, which helps bolster the standard of European players….

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