Euro 2016 is here.
By the time France kicked off against Romania on Friday, all the teams were ready. They had completed months of preparations, planned for every eventuality and were looking to progress through positive results.
The digital teams that is.
As statistics from Result Sport demonstrate, there is a wide discrepancy in followers. England have a digital footprint of around 10,000,000 while Iceland have less than 5,500 Twitter followers.
Each Friday during the tournament, I’ll highlight “a few fine fings” from the official accounts of the teams or players.
But let's start with the preparations from the teams.
ITALY - Fans show you how it's done
My overall highlight so far was not made by an official channel. It was UGC.
Italy’s twitter feed asked for GIFs to cheer on their side. The standard of replies was extremely high.
WALES - the kids are alright
The Welsh FA account is doing a nice job of celebrating its team's first tournament since 1958. Asking for video messages from primary schools elicited an enthusiastic response and demonstrated the affect the team’s qualification has had on the entire country.
Also the birthday celebration video for manager Chris Coleman at the team meal was hardly revolutionary but it about as ‘insider’ as team content has got as the tournament approached
GERMANY - Thomas Muller – Managing Director of Carrots
OK, so you are an official channel. Time is short and you can’t take the players out of camp. You need a device to tell a story. Germany did this with a "Box of your Life".
It has been done before and started way back with the History of the World in 100 objects. But, as ever, it is rarely about the idea. It is about the execution. Muller is a character and that is delightfully extracted is in this piece. In the circumstances, this was nicely played.
PS His job title is a joke about his wife’s equestrian career.
UKRAINE - simple pictures
Liked the simplicity of these back-to-back tweets. It showed the players in traditional dress and ‘going to work’ in their travel suits.
Traditional v modern. Person v athlete. One of us v untouchable superstar.
Nice counterpoint all-round.
SLOVAKIA - Get it wrong
This is not official but the Slovakian account tweeted it. Hmmmm.
The hosts have had a perfect start after Dmitri Payet’s late winner against Romania.
But before that, this was an emotive, inclusive video about hosting the tournament.
Also this pre-tournament video was relaxed and personal if a little ‘choppy’. But it showed a different side to the team as the big day approached.
WALES AGAIN - The Barry Horns
Wales have drawn attention to their musical heritage, pointing out that roughly 20 songs have been written commemorating their side's achievement.
Loved everything about this droll track from the Barry Horns (for non-football fanatics that is a joke that works on about four levels). They are the official band of the Welsh side who play in the ground as the game is being played.
Silly, sunny, smashing.