No Europe trip this summer? Check out today’s Euro 2008 final.

Between several other vacations, high summer airline prices and the ridiculous Euro/Dollar exchange rate, I am sadly not heading to Europe this summer. But even though I haven’t been able to make it “across the pond,” I have been vicariously soaking up some European culture through this year’s Euro 2008 soccer championships. Today marks the final between Spain and Germany of what has been another tournament of surprising upsets and nail-biting finishes.

Pish-posh, what’s this about “soccer” you say? Actually, I don’t know a whole lot about European soccer either. Yes, I know a few of the popular club teams like FC Barcelona and Manchester United, but I’m fairly clueless about the day-to-day standings and players. Why then, should anyone bother watching? Because European soccer is more than just a simple sporting event – it’s a defining aspect of European cultural identity. Ask your typical European citizen to tell you about their favorite team or best soccer experience and you’re bound to get an enthusiastic answer.

So if you’re near a television today, crack open a nice cold Hefeweizen and switch over to ABC around 2:30 EST for the big event. Next summer when you’re in Munich you’ll be swapping Euro 2008 stories with the locals in no time.