Friday, February 25, 2005

The champions are out

Week after week has been ruined for me, because of Valencia's terrible season. One of the last hopes I had were on the UEFA Cup. After a 2-0 win at home against Steua Bucharest, continuation in the tournament would not be too much to ask for!?
But no. Valencia, defending UEFA champions, lost 2-0, and were but after penalty kicks. Pathetic. Horrible. Not only another week ruined for me, but this pretty much wraps it up for the whole season... Losers support loser team. That is why I feel so bad these days.
A friend recently told me to find another team to support... But how to do that!? To support a team is a feeling! Does a man choose who to love!?

Thanks for absolutely nothing Ranieri. Leave, please! I want my old champions back!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Champions League 04-05: last 16 February 23rd

The first round is over, with the following results from last nights games:

Oporto-Inter 1-1
Goals: Ricardo Costa; Martins

  • A very good result for Inter before they clash again in Milano. A well-fighting Oporto is on the way out of the tournament they won last season.

Barcelona-Chelsea 2-1
Goals: Maxi Lopez, Samuel Eto'o; Belletti (own goal)

  • First half was somehow disappointing. Chelsea did not seem like a team that wanted to play football, and in particular after the red card to Drogba, pulled back completely. The last half hour was a complete siege on Chelsea. And an exciting new player, young Argentinean Maxi Lopez showed that he may become a great Barca striker. Barcelona tried hard to get a third goal. 2-1 might not be enough, but it will surely be nerve-wrecking in London!

Manchester United-Milan 0-1
Goals: Hernan Crespo

  • Old Trafford is a stadium of fortune for AC Milan! It was where they won the CL two years ago, and now they might have taken a big step towards a new title. It is never easy to defeat Man U at home, but the Milanese showed strength and did it. Shame for Man U.

Werder Bremen-Lyon 0-3
Goals: Sylvain Wiltord, Diarra, Juninho

  • I had expected this to be a close match, but I was obviously wrong. A 3-0 win away will surely put Lyon in the quarterfinals, while Bremen has proved a huge disappointment.

Look forward for the next round!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Champions League 04-05: last 16 February 22nd

The results of last night's matches in the UEFA Champions League:

Bayern Munich-Arsenal 3-1
Goals: Pizarro (2), Salihamidzic; Toure
  • Arsenal is again on their way out of the CL. At least they will have to display their best football a home against a Bayern Munich team that really has the potential of going all the way.
Real Madrid-Juventus 1-0
Goals: Helguera
  • An intense match, where a rather disappointing Juventus seemed content with a limited defeat. Real Madrid tried hard to get another, but will now be facing a difficult match in Torino.
Liverpool-Leverkusen 3-1
Goals: Luis Garcia, John Arne Riise, Didi Hamann; Franca
  • Liverpool is on their way to the quarterfinals, after playing strongly against Leverkusen. The Germans will indeed have a difficult time defeating them by 2 at home!
PSV-Monaco 1-0
Goals: Alex
  • Good result for PSV gives them strong hope. However, they will ahve to defend well against a coming Monaco onslaught. I still believe Monaco will go on to the next round, but it won't be easy!
Can't wait for tonight!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Champions League 04-05: last 16 predictions

The last-16 round of the 2004-05 Champions League starts tonight. Here are my predictions for the next round:

Real Madrid-Juventus: This will be a match between a strong attack and a super-defence. Juventus defence is looking immensely strong, while Real Madrid’s strikers have not looked the best this season. Also, in defence, in spite of improvements, Real Madrid has a long way to go. Juventus will go to the quarterfinals.
Liverpool-Leverkusen: Likely to be well-fought encounters. Liverpool showed against Olympiakos that they can fight to the end, but are not doing to well in the Premier League. I believe though, that a strong Leverkusen will edge ahead, maybe after extra time.
PSV-Monaco: Monaco is not as strong as this year, and will have a difficult time defeating a well-playing PSV side. However, I believe that in the end, the potent striking force of Monaco will help them go to the quarterfinals.
Bayern Munich-Arsenal: Arsenal has had the shot for the CL for many seasons, but the tournament seems cursed for them. As they are not looking as strong any more, I believe that a Bayern Munich team, that has been marvellous in the first round, will be victorious.
FC Porto-Inter: With many changes, FC Porto is far from being as strong as last season. At the same time Inter has displayed their usual good defence, with a potent striking force. Inter should go on to the quarterfinal.
Barcelona-Chelsea: A true clash of titans. Barcelona has not been that strong in the last few weeks, but looks concentrated on the match against Chelsea. I believe the striking force of Barcelona will triumph.
Manchester United-AC Milan: Man U will be fighting hard for the title. But AC Milan is notoriously hard to defeat, at the same time as they possess some of the best strikers in Europe. So does Man U, but Van Nistelroi & Co. will have to play their best to defeat a strong Italian defence. It will be a close game, but I believe Milan will win.
Werder Bremen-Lyon: Lyon should never be underestimated, and has been surprisingly strong this season, but I believe a Werder Bremen team, with an excellent Klasnic in attack, will edge their way to the quarterfinals.

It will be great football! Can’t wait for tonight! Good Luck to fans of all teams!

Monday, February 21, 2005

My Team in the UEFA Fantasy football

I did not do that well with my team Abruniohene, in the first round of the UEFA Champions League Fantasy Football.
However, I have not lost faith in my abilities, and I have made a new team for the Knock-out stages (also called Abruniohene):

Goalie: Buffon (Juventus).
Defenders: Zambrotta (Juventus), Cafu (Milan), Cordoba (inter) and Ismael (Werder Bremen)
Midfield: Kaka (Milan), Deco (Barcelona), Babic (Leverkusen), Garcia (Liverpool)
Strikers: Eto'o (Barcelona), Saviola (Monaco), Klasnic (Werder Bremen)

I have fulfilled my principle of not having Real Madrid players on the team. Also, besides Eto'o, I am taking some chances with the strikers, as well as with Garcia and Babic on midfield.
Let us see! I hope I am luckier this time around!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The hardest choice

Sometimes in life, a man is faced with difficult choices: "should I stay or should I go?", "Another beer?", "the blond or the redhead?"
Everyone has tried this, and we must all take a choice.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be one of many football fanatics around the world who will be faced with the dilemma: "Which game should I watch!?"
On Tuesday, at the same time, I must choose between the following great games:

Real Madrid-Juventus: A true clash of champions! A repeat of the 1998 final between two of the greatest teams in the world!
Liverpool-Leverkusen: An exciting Liverpool side which got to this round after a spectacular win against Olympiakos, against one of Germany's top teams.
PSV-Monaco: The young Dutchmen have surprised this year, against an ever-strong Monaco side, who showed they can go almost all the way last season!
Bayern-Arsenal: Two of the best teams in Europe, for an always-nerve-wrecking English-German clash!

On Wednesday, my choices are not much easier:
Porto-Inter: The defending champions against one of this season's strongest teams!
Presently the two top teams in Europe, both playing overly exciting football, in what may become a super-match!
Manchester U-Milan: Two of the teams with most history in Europe, and with an amazing collection between them of some of Europe's best strikers.
Werder Bremen-Lyon: A French-German clash of two of the best teams of these two countries!

What to do!? What choices to make...?

This whole dilemma is, of course, purely seen from someone who wants to watch some amazing games, as I am sure the great fans of each of the teams, will not be faced by such petty dilemmas...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Vanderlei Luxemburgo's record

Vanderlei Luxemburgo has had a potent start as Real Madrid coach. With seven victories in his first seven games, he is the coach with the best initial record in Real Madrid's history.
Now, the playing has not been brilliant, and a few of victories - among them Osasuna last Saturday -, have been lucky to say the least. And luck follows the ones willing to take risks.
Mr. Luxemburgo is a great coach, and may give Real Madrid some stability. I just don't hope they will continue winning because of it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Football fanatic of the year nominee 2

Valencia is not a team where fans are listened to, and the leadership do what they want, like when they let the superb Mr. Benitez leave, and instead replaced him with the mediocre Mr. Ranieri.
Last Saturday, Valencia lost at home 1-2 to Deportivo la Corunya. It has become too much for Valencia fans to see their beloved team, defending Spanish and UEFA Champions, being humiliated again and again. And in such circumstances, it seems much more pathetic that the coach, does not listen to the clamour of the fans, and starts using two of the players who for the last few season's have given most to Valencia: Pablo Aimar and Mista.
In the 1999-2000 season it was the clamour of fans that made Hector Cuper put "El Piojo" Lopez back on the team, which eventually made it all the way to the CL final. Last Saturday the Valencia fans strongly voiced their dissatisfaction with how things are going: they whistled the team off, while waving the white handkerchiefs.
Valencia fans are great fans. Let us hope the team listens, and starts performing like the defending champions they are!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Denmark not to Germany 06

Denmark lost the all important game against Greece. And while Ukraine won, the Eastern European's are ahead in the group with 14 points, with Greece trailing second with 8 points.
Denmark is on a disappointing 4th place, with only 6 points. With some very hard games still to go (Turkey away, Greece at home, Ucraine away), Denmark looks far away from Germany. As a Dane, this is hugely disappointing: why have the world cup next door, if we won't be able to see our own country!?
In a recent poll on the Danish football site, 57 pct. thought that Denmark would not qualify. I have a hard time being optimistic, and I must say I agree with the majority on the poll.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Arsenal-Manchester United

The match was no disappointment! 2-4 to the Reds after an entertaining and intense game! The players were probably a bit too excited, and the attitudes shown by the two captains, Mr. Vieira and Mr. Keane, by not greeting one another before the match, was simply scandalous. How are fans supposed to behave when players incite such animosity!?
However, an excellent referee kept things well under control, and all cards were given deservedly, specially the one to a stupid Mr. Silvestre.

Now, as to the match, it was great: Denis Bergkamp was playing an incredible game, and it was truly a joy to see him back, specially for his 2-1 goal. The ever-threatening Wayne Rooney displayed good overview when passing the ball to Manchester's equalizer, while Cristiano Ronaldo was a dynamo. In the end, the speed and technique of the Portuguese youngster proved to be one of Manchester United's best weapons.
And that Manchester United has a good arsenal of young talents, was proven by the late goal by John O'Shea.

Manchester United now takes second spot in the Premier League. But still seven points behind Chelsea, it is becoming more and more probable that Chelsea will be champions.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Who can wait for the Champions League to start again?

I surely can't! I am suffering!
At least tonight, if works permits, I will get to watch a good game between two of the best English CL teams: Arsenal and Manchester United. Last time they faced one another, a hard match degenerated into a petty fight. This time, I hope they will give us some of the good English fighting, as well as some of the good playing both teams are more than capable to display!