• Dale Roberts

Does Eurovision and Euros success go together?

It's only been a few weeks since Eurovision ended but already Europeans have moved on to another major event - The UEFA European Football Championship or The Euros for short.


24 European nations are competing in a championship hosted across 11 different countries.


But what does this have to do with Eurovision?

Well in recent times success at the Euros and Eurovision has often gone hand-in-hand.


Does one help the other? Let's look at the times success has crossed over:


Greece



  • 2004 Euros - Winners

  • 2005 Eurovision - Winners


The early to mid 2000s were a great time for Greece and it all kicked off for the nation at that year's Euros in Portugal.


Greece arrived at the competition ranked as outsiders, as it was only their third major tournament in the country's footballing history.


Upsetting the hosts in the very first game of the tournament, their fairytale run took them all the way to the final where they faced Portugal yet again. A single goal to Angelos Charisteas in the 57th minute saw them crowned European champions.


They would host the Olympics a month later in what was a remarkable year for the nation.


But it didn't stop there. After Sakis Rouvas finished 3rd at Eurovision 2004, Helena Paparizou would do even better and take out the 2005 Contest in Kyiv.


It was the first crown for Greece and they would host Eurovision in 2006.


A dream run of three years for Greece that all started with the Euros that would lead on to Eurovision success as well.



Portugal



  • 2016 Euros - Winners

  • 2017 Eurovision - Winners


Portugal had been knocking on the door of a major football championship for years. Runner-up in the aforementioned Euros in 2004 they also made the semi-finals in 2000 and 2012 as well as the World Cup semi-final in 2006.


In 2016 the team finally tasted success by beating France on French soil to get their first major win after first competing at a major tournament in 1966!

It was an even longer wait for the country at Eurovision.


After debuting at the Contest in 1964 the country took 53 years to finally win the Contest when Salvador Sobral won with 'Amar pelos dois'.


And how he won - a recording breaking points tally that is still unmatched and the only winner in the new system to top both the jury and the televote.


Portugal would then go on to host an amazing Contest in 2018 to top off a quality three years for the nation.



Russia



  • Eurovision 2008 - Winners

  • Euros 2008 - Semi-finalists


In 2008 Russia finally got the Eurovision win it wanted.


After finishing runner-up two times and third twice within seven years, Dima Bilan won the crown with his song 'Believe'.


Just a month later the Russian team would compete at the Euros in Austria and Switzerland.


The football team had never gone beyond the Group Stage as 'Russia' but would have the best ever major tournament (to date) by making the semi-finals, including a quarter-final win over The Netherlands.



France



  • Euros 2000 - Winners

  • Eurovision 2001/2002 - 4th and 5th


After winning the World Cup at home in 1998, the French football team went on to lift the European trophy at the 2000 tournament held in The Netherlands and Belgium.


At Eurovision the former juggernauts of the Contest had been struggling, finishing 19th and below for four of the five years between 1996 and 2000.


After the Euros win in 2000 they would finish in the Top 5 twice in a row (Natasha St-Pier with 'Je n'ai que mon âme' in 2001 and Sandrine François with 'Il faut du temps' in 2002) for the first time in a decade.


It would go on to be their best results until Barbara Pravi finished runner-up this year.



Latvia



  • Eurovision 2002 - Winners

  • Euros 2004 - Qualified for their only major tournament ever


Currently Latvia struggles in both Eurovision (four non-qualifiers in a row) and football (ranked 138), but in the early 2000s it was a very different story.


Latvia won the Contest in 2002 with Marie N's 'I Wanna' on what was the country's third attempt at the Contest.


They went on to hold Eurovision the following year in Riga, in what would be an iconic year.


In football, things were also looking up for the small Baltic nation.


The same year they hosted Eurovision they qualified for the 2004 Euros by knocking out Turkey in a playoff.


They would finish bottom of their group but did scrape a draw against Germany and were not disgraced.


This remains their only major tournament to date.



Spain



  • Euros 2008 and 2012 - Winners

  • Eurovision 2008 and 2012 - 16th and 10th...


On the down-side Spain won the Euros in 2008 and that year finished 16th with 'Baila el Chiki-chiki' so it doesn't always turn out....


Saying that they did get their equal best result in recent times at the 2012 contest with Pastora Soler finishing 10th, which was the same year they won the 2012 Euros...



So what's happening here?


Well multiple things could be happening.


Investment


Many countries use national competitions for nation building or 'soft power'.


Russia looked to show themselves off on the global stage for over a decade which included doing well at Eurovision as well as hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and the World Cup in 2018.


That investment would no doubt play out on the sporting field as well.


Additionally big nations like France and Spain will always have the legacy and money to do well at football and that works at Eurovision, when a Big 5 nation occasionally does well.



National mood


Success in a nation can breed more success.


Greece rode a wave of results, attention and success during the 2000s that felt unmatched. With the Olympics around the corner and a new sense of pride, did the footballer rise above expectations in 2004? Maybe?


National success could also drive patriotism to the arts, artists may want to compete or throw their hat in the ring when they usually wouldn't.


The same could apply the other way round as well.


Latvia winning Eurovision for a small nation was a huge achievement. From the footballers perspective, if their small nation could win that Contest, they could beat Turkey as well no? Pride and belief can do remarkable things.



Pure coincidence


Portugal have always been a great football side but at Eurovision... not so much.


'Amar pelos dois' was like a lightning strike on a sunny day and it's hard to connect the 2016 and 2017 wins... but it was remarkable and quite the coincidence nonetheless.



The 2020/21 tournament


So could the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest results connect to the Euros this year?


Well they already have!



Finland achieved their second best ever result in Rotterdam and in the Euros played their first ever game at a major football tournament and WON! Already an incredible tournament for the Finns.


Italy has also started well at the Euros and after their first win at Eurovision since 1990, could that national pride lead to another trophy lifted in the same year?


They already had a Sanremo/Euros crossover when the squad was announced with Colapesce & Dimartino performing 'Musica leggerissima' which finished 4th this year.






But all eyes will be on France who finished runner-up at Eurovision and are favourite for the tournament.


Can they do it? We'll find out in a few weeks time.