Could soccer help save the Eurozone?

at 01:15 PM ET, 06/12/2012

The sky may be falling in the Eurozone, but Europeans can at least take refuge in the 2012 European Football Championship, which kicked off last week.

The vast majority of participating countries are in the Eurozone, prompting some European economists to speculate about which outcome would be best for the ailing continent, economically speaking. ABN-AMRO, a Dutch-based bank, concludes in a recent research note that a French victory would be the best economic outcome:
French midfielder Samir Nasri (FilippoMmonteforte - AFP/Getty Images)

From a confidence perspective, one of the eurozone countries would ideally win Euro 2012. A victory for one of the euro opt-outs (Denmark, England or Sweden) would not be welcome, because it would only encourage the eurosceptics. That leaves the question of whether it would be better for one of the “core” countries (Germany, France, Netherlands) to win or one of the peripheral countries. The contagion has already spread to the periphery, and a range of measures have been introduced to support these countries. We feel it is essential that the contagion does not spread to the core countries. Of the participating core countries, France is closest to the firing line. On the assumption that a victory would provide a confidence boost, it would be best if France won Euro 2012.

In fact, ABN-AMRO points out, the last four major international soccer tournaments were all won by countries on the shakiest economic footing: Greece, Italy and Spain. Such results have led some to speculate as to whether athletes from economically flailing countries might be more fixated on winning tournaments, while richer countries become more complacent. That said, the bank believes that Germany is most likely to win this year’s Euro Cup.

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