Former Kerala Police striker C V Pappachan is looking forward to making the most of retirement life. The 56-year-old deputy commandant of the India Reserve Battalion brought his working life to a close on May 31 after 36 years of service. The former Indian captain, who has got plenty of time at his disposal, is caught up in the frenzy of Euro 2020 which kicks off in Rome on Friday.
“I will be watching Euro for sure. The so-called minnows have traditionally punched above their weight in Euro championships. I believe the trend will continue this time too. Players from the unfancied sides have nothing to lose and go all out unlike the superstars who play it safe and preserve themselves for the season ahead,” Pappachan told Onmanorama over the phone from Thrissur.
Pappachan, who played a stellar role in both Kerala Police and Kerala winning back-to-back titles in Federation Cup and Santosh Trophy in early 1990s, did not pick a favourite to be crowned kings of Europe. “European club football and Euro have always been different. The major leagues in Europe invariably produce a fast-paced game because the players are used to each other's style. But when the same players don national colours it takes a while to get going and you'll get a clear picture only once the teams have played a couple of games,” reasoned Pappachan.
He feels Germany have an edge over other teams since the majority of their players ply their trade in the country. “Germany have been amazingly consistent in major tournaments since most of their players turn out for German clubs. This means the players know each other's style and it doesn't take much time for Germany to get in the groove.”
The rescheduled Euro 2020 will be played across 11 cities and there won't be any particular home advantage for the 24 teams in the fray. “There is nothing like playing in front of your home crowd. The number of spectators too will be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The players have to live with it and they are used to it now. It's a shame since the crowd gives you the energy to keep fighting and attack in waves,” added Pappachan.