Euro 2008: The websites - Russia & Greece
As the Euro 2008 group stages have progressed, I've been reviewing the websites belonging to the Football Associations of the nations taking part. With today being the last day of group games it is the turn of Group D, and Russia take on Sweden tonight, whilst my old stomping ground Salzburg hosts eliminated Greece against quarter-final bound Spain. Russia and Greece are in the spotlight for my final Euro 2008 site reviews, two languages that stretch my ability to cope with non-Latin alphabets.
Actually, since I live in Greece, the Greek alphabet only really poses a challenge to me if I am trying to type it into a keyboard. Russian, however, is another matter. I visited Moscow and Leningrad when I was at school, but at that age I was more interested in girls and clandestinely acquiring beer than learning a different alphabet. And not much has changed it seems - I found navigating my way around the Russian site to be very difficult indeed.
The Российский Футбольный Союз site featured a Euro 2008 tournament section, but it didn't seem to have a great deal of content beyond the bare minimum. There was a fixture list for the tournament, and a squad list page for the Russian team. Oh, and a re-cap of how they qualified at England's expense.
I was aided a little in my review by the fact that the site does have an English language section. This seems mostly restricted to the news stories though, as the left-hand navigation links to 'Strategy', 'Football in Russia' and 'Contact us' all simply led back to the English language homepage.
One phrase I did recognise was the Russian for site map in the main navigation of the site - which led to a rather long and over-comprehensive listing of the site's content. At 6,766 pixels deep, it even gives the lengthy Romanian FA homepage I observed a run for its money.
Of the types of interactive features I've been looking for, I didn't see any user forums, nor did I spot any audio or video content. There were no RSS feeds either, but I did see a vote in the left-hand navigation of the Турниры section.
Greece went to Austria and Switzerland bidding to become the first team to ever retain the Henri Delaunay trophy. They surrendered their crown without even scoring a goal, but in any case, technically, they were never going to be able to retain the 2004 trophy, as UEFA are using a new model of the cup for 2008.
This area of the site features a red branding, as opposed to the more Hellenic blue'n'white feel of the rest of the Ελληνική Ποδοσφαιρική Ομοσπονδία site. Content includes a listing of the Greek squad and a chart for fixtures and tables.
The site also featured one rather obscure bit of content. There were no profile pages for the other squads competing, and the city guides simply consist of pictures of the stadia, but the Greek FA had found time to make a profile page of the referees appointed by UEFA to the tournament.
Despite a dismal and negative showing so far in Euro 2008, the Greek FA's history of the European Championship shows how far they've come to have won it 4 years ago. Their participation in the inaugural tournament in 1960 was restricted to a two-legged 8-2 aggregate defeat to France.
That brings to an end my series of 16 Euro 2008 FA website reviews. Tomorrow I'll be summing up, and producing a league table of the features I found, or, as was more often the case, didn't find.