Sunday, October 02, 2022

Manchester-Manchester

 I have not had much time to watch or think football lately. I have missed many great matches, but today I took time to get up early and watch the Manchester Derby between Manchester City and Manchester United. Both teams have looked fairly strong of late, with Manchester City trailing Arsenal in the second spot of the league table, and Manchster United on a positive curve, with four victories in a row. Therefore the derby was expected to be interesting.

But it was not.

Basically Manchester City trashed United in the first half, leading 4-0 at halftime. The entire team seemed on fire, and with Phil Foden and Erling Haaland in particular, each scoring two goals. In the second half Manchester United tried meager pressure, and perhaps got a bit of hope when Antony scored for the reds. But Foden and Haaland were not done and each scored again, to bring the score to a humiliating 6-1. In the dying minutes of the match Anthony Martial scored two for United, making sure that the humiliation was not total, although no doubt there will be strong criticism for losing like they did to their home-city rivals.

Haaland has surely been the signing of the season. He has scored 14 goals, topping the goalscorers list, which he appears sure to win!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Estadio Centenario

 I am visiting Uruguay, a legendary football nation. Unfortunately, due to recent crowd trouble, I was unable to go watch Peñarol, who were playing against Montevideo Torque without spectators (I watched a really boring match in a bar, with Peñarol losing 0-1 to one of the lowest placed teams in the league).

But I was able to visit the site of the legendary Estadio Centenario, site of the very first World Cup final of 1930. Unfortunately I found the museum to be closed on a Sunday, a big disappointment, but I was still able to walk around the stadium, see a statue honoring the Jules Rimet Trophy (including great homages to the Maracanazo in the 1950 World Cup final, which also defines Uruguayan football), and all in all take in the history of this beautiful country and city.

I hope soon to return to Montevideo, and see more of their football.

Scultpure to the Jules Rimet Trophy

Friday, August 26, 2022

Champions League 2022-23 draw

Seasons have started and football is on the go. I have nevertheless had busy months, with a lot of things in my head (both good and bad), and football has come a bit in the background, and I have not seen much, although been following the news and the start of the new leagues, interesting changes and discussions.

Sometimes we just go through these stages in life.

But as a warm up to an exciting new season we today had the draw for the Champions league:

Group A: 

  • Liverpool
  • Ajax Amsterdam
  • Glasgow Rangers
  • Napoli. 

An exciting group where Liverpool would appear as the favourites, but the English side has not started the season well, while Napoli and Ajax Amsterdam are looking to progress as well.

Group B

  • Atletico Madrid
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • FC Porto
  • Club Brugge

Atletico Madrid are the natural favourites in a group where the defending Portuguese champions are favourites to go along with the Spaniards, with Brugge and Leverkusen looking to cause an upset.

Group C

  • Bayern Munich
  • FC Barcelona
  • Inter Milan
  • Viktoria Plzen

This appears as the group of death, with Bayern Munich and Barcelona looking for another of their many epic clashes, but also with the Italian giants with good options to progress. The Czech champions will not be given many odds by many, so they can only surprise.

Group D:

  • Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Marseille
  • Tottenham Hotspurs
  • Sporting Lisbon

Eintracht Frankfurt will look to continue European success from the Europa League in the Champions League in a group where all the other teams nevertheless are ambitious and have options at continuing to the next round. They will all compete.

Group E:

  • AC Milan
  • Chelsea
  • RB Salzburg
  • Dynamo Zagreb

AC Milan and Chelsea are the likely winners of the group, but both the Austrian and Croatian champions could create an upset. 

Group F:  

  • Real Madrid
  • RB Leipzig
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Celtic

The defending champions of Real Madrid have gotten a group that they will surely be happy about. Although there are no easy groups in the CL, the Spaniards are huge favourites, with all three other teams looking to fight for the runner-up position.

Group G

  • Manchester City
  • Sevilla
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • FC Copenhagen

An interesting group with three giants and FC Copenhagen. The Danes have caused surprise before, but will have to do their best to fight against these three giants. Manchester City may again appear the favourite, but the experience of Sevilla and Dortmund may take either side on the first spot.

Group H

  • Paris St. Germain
  • Maccabi Haifa
  • Juventus
  • Benfica

PSG are to try yet again ina group where Benfica and Juventus will be difficult teams to face. Nobody will expect anything from the Israeli champions, who will play with no pressure.

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