Habs Euros hockey soccer

Brendan Gallagher

Habs v. Euros: When soccer and hockey collide

If there is a Game 7 in the Stanley Cups Finals, it will be on the same day as the Euros grand finale.

Summer is in full swing, and there has actually never been more soccer on the airwaves than there is right now, even as it competes with hockey in the hearts of Montrealers.

Here is the breakdown… The MLS returned, welcoming our illustrious CFM team back to the pitch. Since returning, they drew 0–0 and 1–1 in the first two games after the month-long break. Luis Binks has left for Italy to join his new team Bologna FC 1909 in the Serie A. CF Montréal and Bologna have a solid working relationship because of Joey Saputo’s executive roles at both clubs.

Binks originally joined CF Montréal ahead of the 2020 MLS season, on loan from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The 19-year-old Englishman played in 21 games for Montreal.

CF Montréal (Habs v. EUROs: When soccer and hockey collide)

The Canada men’s national team has made it into the next qualifying round for the World Cup 2022. This round is called the Hexagon. The Hex is often used to refer to the final round of the FIFA World Cup qualifications, among the six remaining teams in Concacaf. The 16 round- robin format has been used by Concacaf since 1998. The top three teams go to the World Cup.

Canada has to face some of the most fierce footballing nations to make it out. They will play teams such as the United States, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama and Mexico to get to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

On the international football scene, we are wrapped up in two major tournaments: the Euro 2020 and Copa América. The best of the European football world is playing-it-out and the best of the Latin American world is doing the same, at the same time.

During the Euros in June, the whole world literally watched a footballer drop dead during a match and be resuscitated on live TV, which was extremely shocking, painful and very emotional to witness. Denmark’s Christian Eriksen’s heart stopped. Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 group game against Finland and was given lengthy medical treatment before regaining consciousness.

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, back to life (Habs v. EUROs: When soccer and hockey collide)

Denmark’s team doctor said that Christian Eriksen’s heart stopped and that, “He was gone!,” at the European Championship before being brought back to life. He survived, which was the positive outcome of such a dramatic shared experience. A take-away: We are reminded of the importance of having a defibrillator kit on hand at every field, as well as the fact that we should all have basic CPR training. These medical emergencies are not rare and they can happen to anyone, at any age.

By the time you read this, more European teams from the round of 16 will have been eliminated. (Hopefully England will not be one of those teams!) Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Belgium have all moved forward into the next round.

One of today’s big matches (Habs v. EUROs: When soccer and hockey collide)

Yes that does mean there will be no Ronaldo in the Euros.

In non-football news that must be noted, our very own hockey team, the Montréal Canadiens, aka the Habs (tourists take note that this is short for les Habitants, who were the early farmers of Quebec), have gone all the way! They made the Stanley Cup Finals and will be in the thick of it vs. the Tampa Bay Lighting by the time this is published.

And as a good buddy once said, “How can any real hockey fan, no matter where they are from or how they support during regular season, not root for a hockey team that has snow in the winter!” Plain and simple. So Canada, rally around our Habs!

Habs soccer Euros
Montreal Canadiens left winger Tomáš Tatar

As said around town: Ça sent la coupe!

“Talent without working hard is nothing.”

—Cristiano Ronaldo

For the UEFA Euro 2020 schedule and more details, please visit the tournament’s website. This column originally appeared in the July 2021 issue of Cult MTL. Check out The 1st Half podcast (about soccer and football culture in Montreal and beyond) here.

For more Montreal soccer and hockey coverage, please visit our Sports section.