Euro 2016 kicks-off today and it looks set to be the most diverse championships of all time with almost a third of players taking part eligible for other countries.
The Multicultural Championship, by online bookmaker NetBet, celebrates this by tracking the origins of all 552 players in the tournament as various nations join forces as one.
166 players selected to represent their home nation can trace their heritage elsewhere, including England captain Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane. Both could have played for the Republic of Ireland through grandparental and parental descent respectfully, while five players in Roy Hodgson’s squad have close ties with Jamaica.
In total, 12 of England’s squad have foreign ancestry, the fifth most diverse in the competition. Both the Welsh and Republic of Ireland fall just beneath this, with the latter benefitting from a FIFA ruling allowing players born from both Northern or the Republic eligible to represent either nation.
It’s the host nation which represents the most diverse nation however, with 65% of the French squad having roots elsewhere, 11 of those hailing from Africa.
Perhaps most interesting are the Swiss and Albanian squads, both of whom have multiple players eligible for both. The pair go head-to-head on June 11 with Albania potentially fielding as many as six players with Swiss connections, including Taulant Xhaka the brother of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka.
It’ll be the first time in Euros history that two brothers have faced off against each other and is reminiscent of the 2014 World Cup when Ghana’s Kevin Prince Boateng took on his brother Jerome, who represents Germany.
Countries all over the world are represented from Guadeloupe to Nigeria where Austrian midfielder David Alaba’s father is a Yoruban prince.
A representative from NetBet said, “We’re really proud of the map, to us it really helps show how the Euro’s, and international football as a whole, is an incredible tool which brings countries and culture together time and time again. France 2016 will be an amazing show of diversity and celebration. We’re thrilled to be involved.”
Heading Image: Reuters / Andrew Yates via Action Images