Greek, English Soccer Players Sing National Anthems With Gusto, Dutch and Irish Are Shy at Euro 2012

Greek, English Soccer Players Sing National Anthems With Gusto, Dutch and Irish Are Shy at Euro 2012One of Lionel Messi‘s biggest criticisms in his otherwise pristine career has been his failure to sing the national anthem when playing with Argentina on the international stage.

Usually one of the most entertaining parts of soccer games is seeing the players fumble through their national anthem or awkwardly look down as they refuse to sing it. To appease our curious minds, the Wall Street Journal has calculated the percentage of starters singing the anthem at Euro 2012. Who are the least patriotic and most patriotic teams on the list?

Messi can’t blame the white and blue on his anthem woes. Greece is among three other teams (Poland, Italy, and England) to have all their starters sing the anthem. The numbers come from the first two games, so there’s still a shot Wayne Rooney could ruin the count for England in game three.

What about Messi’s greatest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo? The study doesn’t specify names, but Portugal is well represented, with 86 percent of players singing along to the anthem.

Not surprisingly, due to local politics and the history of the Cold War, Russia had the least patriotic players: only 63.6 percent of starters singing the anthem — less than two-thirds.

For those that like to hate on perfectionists, Germany is not a perfectly tuned machine in all aspects. Only 68.2 percent of its players sang along to the lyrics of the national anthem.

The Netherlands and Ireland managed to disappoint as much in their introductions as they did in the actual games: 72.7 percent of starters sang the anthem.

Those wondering about the defending European Champion, Spain, will be disappointed to find out its players were not part of the study. They got off easy, as the national anthem does not have words.

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