Sunday, July 31, 2022

Fantastic England

 The Euro 2022 final between England and Germany was a great match, as expected. Both teams played great football and the title could have gone to either side. When Ella Toole brought England ahead (another great goal as she had done against Spain) one thought England had the edge, but in fact they appeared nervous as Germany pressed on and scored a fantastic goal by Lina Magull, who was one of the best players of the match.

Extra time. Anything can happen, and indeed it was a bit of a coincidental goal by Chloe Kelly, after a corner kick, that gave England the winning goal. Indeed, the victory could have gone to both sides, but over the entire tournament England were surely the best team, and as they all say, football finally came home. And contrary to the overpaid guys, it is difficult not to be smitten by the joy and great football of the English ladies.

Congratulations to England! 

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Euro 2022

The last couple of months have been busy with work and personal things. I have had an extraordinary vacation in Denmark watching the Tour de France (with the Danish Jonas Vingegaard currently in the yellow jersey, but doubting he will win), and have watched little football.

Of the little I have watched, it has been the women's Euro 2022 taking place in England. In Denmark there was much excitement about a tournament in which they came runners-up in 2017. But for Denmark it was a huge disappointment, and I must admit that if a national team is to excite me, these women totally failed. In the opening match against Germany Denmark were lucky only to lose 0-4 to a magnificent German side. And notwithstanding that the Germans were magnificent, the Danes lacked spirit and fight, besides committing basic mistakes in defense. Although Denmark had a  chance to qualify to the second round by defeating Spain in their last match, they also lacked fighting spirit and ambition as they defended in a match they had to win (and deservedly lost 0-1).

While Denmark should be disappointed, this is nothing compared to Norway, who were considered favourites for the title, but were eliminated in the first round, and in particular their 0-8 defeat to England will ring out as one resounding humiliation for years to come. In the meantime England, the home side, look like the team to beat: 14-0 and three victories. But certainly Germany, Sweden and perhaps even France or the Netherlands are looking very strong in what looks like an exciting knock-out round:

  • England-Spain
  • Sweden-Belgium
  • Germany-Austria
  • France-Netherlands

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Reason to be excited about Argentina

Today's match at Wembley was called the "Finalisima", as it was the contest between the European champions of Italy and the South American champions from Argentina. It is a replacement for the defunct "Confederations Cup", so the match did carry honour and a title for both sides; Italy played to get some consolation from their botched World Cup qualification, while Argentina is clearly aiming at building a team that will be a serious contender for the World Cup title.

Argentina has been strong in the South American qualifiers, and their good form was underlined when they took the South American title, their first title since 1993. But with today's 3-0 victory Argentina should now be considered a serious contender for the title in Qatar. Lionel Scaloni has built an outstanding team that includes Lionel Messi, rather than building the team up around him. Rodrigo de Paul and Giovanni Lo Celso are outstanding and dominate the midfield, with an excellent understanding with Lionel Messi, who also combines well with Lautaro Martinez (who scored the first goal against the Italians after a sharp run and pass by Messi), while Angel di Maria is as dangerous as ever, scoring a great goal after a great pass by Martinez.

Argentina was totally dominant in the second half and the match could have ended with more goals with more luck for the Argentines, although Paolo Dybala made it 3-0 in the dying seconds. But Argentina were far superior to the European champions, who got no consolation from their botched qualification.

For an Argentina fan like myself it is difficult not to be really excited, more excited than for many years, about this Argentina side!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Choripan and CL final

I had gotten all ready to enjoy yesterday's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool with beer and choripán, but besides the beer, food and company, it was largely a disappointment.

Firstly, the delay in starting the match signaled not only gross incompetence, but total disregard of fans. While a lot of things are being said about what happened, it does seem incredible that these things can happen; this is hardly the first final they have organised...? At the same time one could see UEFA and FIFA dignitaries mingle amid celebrities in their luxurious seats, and a total disregards of the fans for whom they "manage" the game...

Secondly, the match was a disappointment. Liverpool created the match against a Real Madrid side that proved yet again that they only need one chance to win a match, and this time their 14th European Champions title. Vinicius Jr. scored the goal in a Real Madrid counterattack. Liverpool attacked and attacked, but besides a disciplined defense, they faced an incredible Thibaut Courtois, who seemed to save everything that came his way. In my opinion the Belgian goalkeeper is Real Madrid's greatest hero in getting the title.

Disappointment for all of us who were hoping for a Liverpool victory, but congratulations to Real Madrid fans.

Ready for Champions League final

Monday, May 23, 2022

Manchester City champions

 Although in the end everything finished as one might have expected (City and Liverpool victories), the end of the Premier League ended with a high level of excitement, with the surprise always looming.

To be champions City needed a win at home against Aston Villa. But with 20 minutes elft Aston Villa were ahead 0-2, and there was a clear fear in the stadium (although Liverpool were at the time not winning). But goals by Rodri and Gundogan (who came in to make two) within a magic period of five minutes, put things straight and the title in Manchester.

Liverpool knew what was happening in Manchester, and that a victory would give them the title. But Wolverhampton were a hard nut to crack, and the Wolves went ahead already in the third minute. Liverpool pressed on an towards the end of the first half Sadio Mane equalized. Knowing the result in Manchester the Reds pressed on, but the goal did not come until the 84th minute by way of Mohammed Salah. But by this time City were already up, and even though Salah scored a third in the last minute, they hardly celebrated it as they knew it was but for nothing but the goal-stats.

Liverpool ends as runner-ups, but they have an FA Cup title, and next week they will be vying for the Champions League title in a clash of Titans against Real Madrid.