With the Euros in full swing, we take a look at how much it means to players who get the opportunity to represent their countries in major tournaments.
Representing your country at international level is one thing but running out at a major tournament is the ultimate accolade. Before Euro 2020 finally got underway, Betway Insider found out what it really means to be involved in a competition with the whole of Europe watching your every move.
This year’s tournament is unique in so many different ways, usually we would have one home nation with all the group and knockout matches played in that one country.
Euro 2020 is different because it’s being played all across Europe with certain teams being able to play in front of their home supporters while the rest are on the road.
Supporters might feel that that is an unfair advantage to some teams, but deep down that is not something the players concern themselves with, they are just focused on doing well and not letting their country down.
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Adam Lallana has been fortunate enough to pull on the Three Lions jersey 34 times and has featured in a European Championships and a World Cup – he understands what the pressure is like.
He told Betway Insider: “I’m sure I’ll look back one day once I’ve retired and be extremely proud of them occasions and moments during my career.
“When you win, there’s no better feeling in football. It’s worth fighting through the disappointments just to achieve them moments.”
Not everyone is lucky enough to win a major trophy playing for their country. Since the European Championships were formed in 1958 only two teams have won the competition three times – Germany and Spain.
Only 10 different countries have lifted the famous trophy, and aside from Germany, Spain and France (twice), no one else has managed to win the competition more than once. Countries like England, Belgium, Wales, Croatia and Sweden have yet to be successful.
One country that has won the Euros is the current holders Portugal, and William Carvalho was fortunate enough to start the game, and the pride in his voice when he talks about that final is clear for everyone to hear.
He added: ““The feeling of pride and responsibility in representing your country is always there. I was lucky to be able to get to the end of the match and take the cup to Portugal. It was an unforgettable experience; a wonderful feeling, an immense euphoria.”
Supporters and people outside of the game always say, ‘it’s just another game’, but deep down when you are representing your country you know it’s not as simple as that. It’s one thing letting down the hopes and dreams of your club but imagine the pressure when it’s a whole country behind you.
Poland and West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski understands the pressures of playing for his country. He has 56 caps to his name and when he walks out for his national team, he knows it’s not just another normal game.
He said: “It’s always very special to represent your country. Before the first kick-off you always listen to your national anthem, which is always special. You get this feeling that the game means maybe a little bit more.”