For the past few weeks, soccer fans around Europe have been glued to their television sets, watching the fortunes of their side go up, down and sometimes up again in pursuit of one of the games’ most sought after trophies.

The 16 teams that started Euro 2012 earned their place in the championship after a two year qualifying period. This rigorous process ensures that the Championship, staged jointly in Poland and Ukraine, showcases the very best of European football talent in new state-of-the-art stadia.In this regard it has been a total success. The likes of Spain and Italy have at dazzled in their passage to the semi-finals, as have the dependable Germany and flair-filled Portugal. For the worldwide audience this has been soccer at its most compelling.National teams benefit from a natural fan base, uniting the hard core supporters with the occasional viewers who long gave up on understanding the offside rule. They replace passion with national pride and the spirit of competition, rejoicing when their nation does well, shrugging off any despondency when they fail.

IFP believes that poker could become a similar spectacle, drawing in support from pro poker players, amateurs and casual fans alike, even if they do not completely understand position or c-betting. All can be brought together by a shared appreciation for the talents of world class competitors.

The IFP Nations Cup strives to fill a gap in the poker world; a national team championship bringing together the best players from various qualifying countries to compete alongside each other.

Using an innovative format known as Match Poker (formerly Duplicate Poker), in which players at different tables are dealt identical hands in corresponding seats, the Nations Cup reduces the element of chance while increasing the demands on skill necessary to succeed. In Match Poker you must win and lose in the most profitable manner.

As the inaugural Nations Cup demonstrated in November, it makes for an absorbing and dynamic poker event, with the capacity to watch how several players play the same hand proving to be an educational tool without parallel.

This year IFP will be staging the second IFP Nations Cup, in London, made up of teams of players who have themselves survived an arduous qualification process. This event will once more demonstrate how the best players utilise talent and skill at the highest level to succeed and become Nations Cup champions.

Last year that was Team Germany, a team as gifted and organised as their counterparts on the football field. Will they be able to defend their title this November in London? Details of the line-up of this years’ event will be coming soon on the IFP website.