Euro 2012: Value for money?

by Neil Sherwin

We all know it was a horrible European Championships for Ireland. They were comfortably beaten by Croatia in their first group game, annihilated by Spain in the second, and posed no threat to Italy in the third. It was so bad for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side that they joined Bulgaria (2004), Denmark (2000) and Yugoslavia (1984) as the worst teams in the competition’s history.

The Bwin Player Value Index doesn’t make for pretty reading either. Going into Euro 2012, Ireland were 11th on the list with an average wage of €29,333. The likes of Damien Duff, Shay Given, John O’Shea and Richard Dunne were largely responsible for that, pulling in the big bucks at their respective Premier League clubs. Then there’s Robbie Keane who you can be sure isn’t exactly counting his US pennies with LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer.

The problem for Ireland is that the majority of the squad’s big earners were also the elder statesmen, some of whom will now retire from the international game. In total, Ireland had eight players over the age of 30 in the squad and no one under 23 so there needs to be big work done to lower the average age of the squad.

If that sort of transition happens over the next couple of years, we may see Ireland’s wage bill drop significantly with younger players generally earning less than experienced and established ones. However, the more likely scenario is that Trapattoni will persist with the tried and tested for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which get underway in a couple of months.

Things could have been worse of course though – the Dutch also exited the tournament with no points from their three games and had an average weekly wage of €44,236. Bert Van Marwijk’s side underperformed massively, having been tipped by many (I hold my hands up here) to go far in the tournament.

Despite reaching the quarter finals, England also produced little value for money thanks to a whopping total wage bill of €2,176,480. Considering that they made it to the same stage as Greece, the best value for money team according to the index, maybe Roy Hodgson shouldn’t have had it quite so easy in the immediate aftermath.

Of course, these things aren’t an exact science and in England’s case, the index shows that spending big doesn’t guarantee success. However, Spain and Italy were amongst the top four biggest spenders and made it all the way to the final.

Check out Bwin for more stats as well as some great betting odds.

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