By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
Spain and Italy made it to the final of the Euro 2012, and the same two countries would also be the biggest beneficiaries at the EU Summit that concluded last Friday.
Before Monday morning's kickoff, the EU agreed to inject funds into ailing banks and purchase sovereign bonds. The agreement briefly dispelled the economic gloom that has been cast over much of the continent and served as a morale booster for the Euro 2012 finale.
This edition of Euro championships was not without unexpected results. Three southern European states took revenge on their creditors Germany and threw the latter out of the show, with the debtors having the last laugh.
If we were to look at a country's economic strength and ethnic characters, by right the Germans should excel over their southern neighbours
Well, that theory doesn't work in soccer. Everyone's favourite may not always claim the throne in the long run.
Take the UEFA Champions League for example, underdogs Chelsea thumped the favourite Barcelona in the semifinal, and later in the finals snatched the cup for the first time, leaving the dejected hosts Bayern Munich in total despair.
There are simply too many uncertainties and unpredictabilities in football. For instance, lack of luck and lax defence could easily send a supposedly strong team home in disappointment. It is because of all the unpredictabilities that football has made millions of fans and gamblers alike hooked on it.
Not even the pundits could foretell the outcome. While Brazil's Pele was an undeniably first-rated footballer, he is a complete flop when it comes to foresaying match results. Any team favourited by him will more likely than not go tumbling down, like Germany this time.
And also because of such unpredictabilities, there spawn a whole range of fatalism theories such as some mysterious, undispellable spells or laws that humilate the seemingly powerful squads.
Since human beings are unable to foretell the results, they enlist the help of beasts. We had Paul the psychic octopus who hit 100% accuracy rate in last World Cup, and now a 5-year-old alpaca in China's Tianjin Zoo.
Football is unpredictable. Not the economy. If you sow a seed of watermelon, you won't harvest mangoes in the end. If you work hard, you get your reward, and if you laze away your days, be prepared to become a penniless pauper.
EU leaders' consent to hand out the much needed cash to bail out ailing banks allows Spain and Italy to momentarily breathe a sigh of relief, but their crises are far from being over.
Structural reforms are essential to fix the problem. If cash is generously handed out to relieve the burden of sovereign debts as well as the pressure to cut deficits and implement reforms, the same will only give the Mediterranean states more leeway to become perfunctory, and defer the eruption of real crisis.
As if that is not enough, to establish a unified financial watchdog organisation has its share of tacky technical and legal issues. Whether the European stability mechanism has sufficient fund for the bailout operation remains questionable.
Some say having lost the Euro championships, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel might have to give in at the summit, This, nevertheless, hardly holds true as the meltdown of the euro zone will most positively drag Germany along with it.
As Germany exports some 100 billion euros worth of products to both Spain and Italy every year, saving them is saving Germany's economy. While there can only be one winner in a football match, there can be, and must be, more than one in the economic realm.
The curtain has fallen on the Euro 2012, but the debt crisis show still goes on.