Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Fri 14 March 2008

Euro 2008: 85 days to go...

Yes folks, Euro 2008 is only 85 days away so if you haven't already started rubbing your hands together briskly with anticipation, now's a good time to start.

Some People Are On The Pitch intends to guide you every step of the way as we head towards that first match on Saturday 7th June by giving you regular bulletins featuring the latest news and lots of interesting stuff to keep you in the mood for the big occasion.

Today we start off with an online game you can play courtesy of JVC, one of the competition's sponsors, which, for me personally, is complete and unadulterated nostalgia of the highest order.

Picture the scene: it's 1986, the World Cup is blazing a fajita-fuelled trail over in Mexico and I, along with many of my friends, are sitting around bored in our classroom at school. It's our lunch hour, nobody's got a football to play with out in the playground and things are looking grim.

Fortunately for us, the Great British ability to be resourceful in adversity comes to the fore as someone comes up with a swimmingly good idea. Penny Football.

It's a great game for two players and it's blisteringly simple. All you need is a rectangular table and three coins, preferably of the same size. (The same size as each other, that is - not the same size as the table...)

Play begins by putting the three coins together in a triangle formation at one end of the table. Player 1 uses his finger to shuffle one of the coins so that all three split apart into a wider triangle formation. From here on, the objective is to shuffle one of the coins between the other two time and again until you get within closer range of the goal at the other end of the table. If at any stage you fail to shuffle one of the coins cleanly between the other two or if one or more of the coins falls off the edge of the table, play switches to Player 2.

When either player elects to have a shot, his or her opponent must form a primitive goalmouth with their hands by putting their thumbs together (making the crossbar) and pointing their index fingers downwards to touch the table. The shooting player then has his or her shot, and the rest you can pretty much work out for yourself.

It was a great game and helped many a boring lunch hour pass by during those hazy school days, but now, thanks to JVC, you can play it all over again online with their totally excellent 'Euroball'.

All you need to do is visit:

...and follow the instructions. You can play as any of the sixteen finalists for Euro 2008 and if you get the highest score for your chosen country, you can win tickets for the Finals in Austria and Switzerland.

But that's not all. If, like me, you find that your coin shuffling skills are somewhat lacking, you can also take part in a free Lucky Dip Prize Draw to win a Home Cinema system courtesy of the sponsors.

So there it is - nostalgia, fun and prize-winning potential all wrapped up in one. Let's hope the Finals prove to be as completely fulfilling as this.

Euroball: Pick a flag-decorated disembodied hand and play...

There's a choice of venues for your match, including this English Café. Note the picture of The Queen on the wall...

Play gets underway... Anyone got any Euros?

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