Euro 2020: Stories about Football and Faith from Evangelical Focus

Olivier Giroud celebrates a goal in June 2021. Photo – Twitter Olivier Giroud.

As millions around Europe and the world follow the European football competition, Evangelical Focus collected some interesting stories that have links to the Christian faith.

The online news magazine says that for the first time in its history, Austria has qualified for the last 16 of the Euro, after beating Ukraine 0-1. Two of its players, Louis Schaub and David Alaba, often speak about their faith publicly.

The midfielder and attacker Louis Schaub, who has scored six goals in 21 international matches, has already played in three German-speaking countries; after Rapid Wien and 1. FC Köln as well as HSV, Schaub now plays for FC Luzern.

He was asked about his motto in life, and quoted Psalm 18, verse 30: “With my God I can jump over walls.”

But the most famous Austrian player at the Euro is its captain David Alaba. He was the MVP in the victory against Macedonia.

The new Real Madrid star with Nigerian, Filipino and Austrian roots regularly expresses his Christian faith. Last year during the celebration of the Champions League title with the FC Bayern München, he took his team’s tricot off and put on a white shirt with the message “My strength lies in Jesus” written in big black letters.

Among other things, the 83-time international (14 goals) also posted a video on social media in which he read from Psalm 23 and then invited people to look for God and walk with him.

Olivier Giroud is one of the Euro 2020 players that has been most vocal about his Christian faith. His team, France, is one of the favourites to win the championship, alongside Germany, Italy and Belgium.

Days before the start of the competition, Giroud said: “Faith helps me relativise things. Knowing how to forgive is something that calms me down, it gives me a lot of serenity.”

With 46 goals so far, Olivier is the second best goal scorer in the history of the French national team, only behind the retired player Thierry Henry.

Giroud is a member of an evangelical church in London, has been involved with the evangelistic Alpha Courses, and has been advocating for persecuted Christians.

“Every time I read the words of the Bible, it makes me feel grateful about everything that has happened to me,” he said a couple years ago.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Michael Ireland

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