Euro 2020: Sticking Together in Tough Times
Well done, England!
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore how resilience and sticking together can help us manage in tough times.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Euro 2020 - Sticking Together in Tough Times) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘CBeebies: make your own blow football’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.34 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIuoRJ2ta98
- You will also need the following items and preparation for the finger football penalty shoot-out game that is referred to in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 6 to 10.
- Two children or members of staff who have agreed before the assembly to take part. You may wish to have available two football shirts for them to wear or allow them to wear a strip of their choice.
- Two finger football puppets. These are available at https://tinyurl.com/5y279ua7 and should be printed onto thin card.
- A ping-pong ball.
- A table at the front of the assembly hall to act as the pitch. Place green paper on the table if possible.
- A goal made from card. (The CBeebies video mentioned above (0.19 minutes to 1.59 minutes) explains how to make a simple goal.)
- A child or member of staff to be the referee. You may also wish to have a whistle available.
- A coin to use to flip for heads or tails.
- Show Slide 1.
Welcome the children to the assembly.
- Ask the children to put up their hand if they stayed up very late to watch the football on Sunday night.
Exclaim about how many of the children wanted to be part of the Euro 2020 final by tuning in.
Ask someone who has their hand up who they watched the match with.
Ask the children to imagine how many people across Europe, and even the whole world, were sitting with their family or friends watching the Euro 2020 final.
- It would be hard not to have noticed the Euro 2020 tournament taking place over the last month, yet the current year is 2021.
Ask the children whether any of them know why this football tournament is called Euro 2020.
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that the UEFA European Football Championship, also called the Euros, takes place every four years. It was originally scheduled for June and July 2020, but the Covid pandemic made it impossible to stick to those plans. Therefore, the tournament was rearranged for a year later in 2021.
It must have been tough for the teams as well as the organizers. They had to rearrange a whole tournament because of Covid and also find ways to make the matches safe so that fans could be involved.
- One of the things that the organizers did to ensure that fans could attend without needing to travel far was to arrange for the matches to be played in 11 different countries. Combined with the other safety measures, this meant that fans could come together to cheer on the players.
I don’t know about you, but after all the restrictions we’ve lived with since March last year, I’ve loved hearing the crowds cheering and seeing people celebrating together. It has reminded me that lockdown is easing.
- Even if you didn’t stay up late to watch the match, I’m sure you know the result. __________ beat ____________ with a final score of _______, so __________ have been declared the Euro 2020 champions.
As we revel in celebrating England’s victory / As we try to recover from England’s defeat (delete as appropriate), I thought that we could stage our own (insert name of school) football competition, here in our assembly.
It was a CBeebies how-to video that inspired me. Let’s watch it now.
Show a brief clip from the YouTube video ‘CBeebies: make your own blow football’.
- I’ve had to be very creative today. We can’t use straws to play blow football due to restrictions, so I’ve been flexible, adapted the idea and come up with an alternative: finger football penalty shoot-out!
- Let’s invite two players to the front to be our finger football heroes.
Invite the two prearranged volunteers to the front.
We have a pitch and a goal.
Point to the table and place the goal on it.
We have two players.
Give each player a finger football puppet to wear.
We have a referee (with a whistle, if available).
Point to the volunteer referee.
We have a ball.
Place the ping-pong ball on the table.
And we have a coin to flip to decide who goes first.
Ask the two players to choose heads or tails, and then ask the referee to flip the coin to decide who will go first.
- In true Euro 2020 style, I want each side of the assembly hall to encourage their team.
This side (point to the left half of the room): you are all cheering on (insert name).
And this side (point to the right half of the room): you are all cheering on (insert name).
We are going to show our support for our team not by shouting, but by clapping. Let’s try that now: can I hear a round of applause for this team? And now this team? Great! We’ve got the idea.
- Ask the players to start playing the finger football penalty shoot-out game.
If a whistle is available, the referee should blow it to start the game. The players should take it in turn to be in goal or take the shot.
- What a match! Thank you to our players (insert names). Thanks also to our referee. We can now announce the final score (announce the winning team and the final score). Great, well done! Let’s give them a round of applause as they return to their seats.
- In a similar way to Euro 2020, that game of finger football penalty shoot-out brought us all together. It’s such fun to celebrate with others and be part of a community. We have a feeling of sticking together. Throughout the challenges of social distancing and lockdown, sticking together has been really important. Many of us have needed to face challenges, adapt and do things differently. We’ve had to learn differently and communicate with friends differently. It’s been tough at times.
- Let’s think about how one particular event in Euro 2020 showed how sticking together in tough times and adapting can be helpful.
Show Slide 2.
Ask the children, ‘Can anyone name this player?’
Listen to a range of responses.
- This player is Christian Eriksen, a member of the Denmark football team. During a match in Euro 2020, he felt unwell and collapsed. Doctors rushed to give him emergency treatment on the pitch. It was a really worrying time for everyone there.
Show Slide 3.
Eriksen’s teammates gathered together and formed a circle around him and the doctors to protect their teammate’s privacy. Look at how the players have linked their arms to show that they are sticking together and supporting each other. We can see how worried Eriksen’s teammates look. Some of them may be praying for him at this moment.
Amazingly, after Eriksen was taken to hospital, his teammates decided to adapt and continue the game with a substitute player. They didn’t give in; instead, they adapted. People all around the world sent good wishes to Eriksen as he recovered in hospital. Eriksen himself used social media to encourage and thank his teammates and fans. Since then, Eriksen has recovered enough to leave hospital and has returned home. And, despite their setback, Denmark made it to the semi-finals. What an achievement!
Time for reflection
Euro 2020 has shown us that sticking together is important. It is especially important when we face challenges and tricky times, where plans change and we need to do things differently.
Many of us here today have shown that we can stick together when we face tricky times. Caring for our classmates, keeping in touch with people who are having to self-isolate, rising to the challenge of online lessons: these have been tricky times. Here in school, we’ve been proud of the way in which we’ve stuck together and adapted.
In the Bible, we read that sticking together and helping others in tough times is important.
Show Slide 4.
A passage in the Bible says, ‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ (Philippians 2.4)
Ask the children, ‘What do you think this means?’
Listen to a range of responses.
These words from the Bible remind us that we are a team, and that helping others who face tricky times is a good choice.
As we take a couple of moments of quiet reflection, let us think about someone who is facing a tricky time at the moment. How can we be kind and helpful to them today?
Pause to allow time for thought.
Thank you for the chance to come together to enjoy the football.
We thank you for the talent of the players and the way in which teams and fans have stuck together.
It’s been a tough year for many of us.
We pray that we can be flexible and find ways to manage tricky times.
Please help us to find ways to connect with friends and family who can help us when things are difficult.
We also ask you to help us to be kind and helpful to others when they are facing tough times.