Monday, September 20, 2010


And Brøndby lost 0-2 to FC Copenhagen in the Danish derby. I think it was to be expected, although my Brøndby heart always keeps a tinge of hope - the Danish league is effectively a one-team league, and Brøndby has not been able to win in Copenhagen for six seasons.
Sadly, Brøndby fans behaved ungracefully again, so only thing that remains is to congratulate FCK fans, and hope again: "next season...."

The artist and the beast

Ever since Lionel Messi I have been waiting for him to get injured by some cynical player who would rather destroy him and let the little magician pass by him. With his small size, I really feared that Lionel Messi's career would end there. Fortunately, Messi has proven more robust than I thought, but also, referees are much more protective against wild tackles than they were in the 1980s for instance, when Maradona often was slaughtered in match after match.
That has not prevented some players from trying, and in this weekend's la liga match between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid (that Barcelona won 1-2 on goals by Messi and Piqué) another player came close to destroying Messi: Atlético Madrid's Czech defender Tomás Ujfalusi decided to end the match (it happened in the dying seconds of the match) by doing a vicious tackle on Messi, who for now will apparently be out for a couple of weeks. Ujfalusi was correctly given a red card, but this does not take away that these day's football magician will be sorely missed for a couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I really need a TV

Time difference between Venezuela and Europe does that I am only at times able to watch European matches. Add to this that I have been unable to find any footballing bar in town where some of the more random matches are shown, and the result is that I am watching less and less football. I don't do much outside work, so not having the possibility to watch football is becoming more and more tedious.
I have just been following the splendid Manchester United-Liverpool on the internet, and was getting desperate to see it; would have loved to watch United's 3-2 victory with coffee and a cheese sandwich...
So getting a TV is becoming imperative for me here, although it has been years since I have had a TV! I just really hate going to shops, buying stuff, talking to salesmen who will lie to you to get a deal, all the hassle, the paying, the transport... But truth is that I need to overcome this to have more footie back in my life!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The show is on!

The 2010-11 Champions League started today with some exciting matches, but let us start with the boring ones: Manchester United was unable to score against Glasgow Rangers in the only goalless draw today, while FC Copenhagen are happy that they opened by defeating Rubin Kazan 1-0 on a late goal.
The defending champions of Inter Milan opened with a 2-2 against the Dutch champs of Twente, while Tottenham also managed to get a 2-2 against Werder Bremen in Germany. Olympique Lyon defeated Schalke 04 1-0, while Benfica defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-0 in Lisbon.

But I think the most interesting matches involved the Spanish sides.
Valencia has been away from the Champions League for two seasons, and were to return by playing away against the Turkish champions of Bursaspor. Valencia has started the Spanish league with two victories, and have looked solid in spite of the sale of their two stars this summer, David Villa (to Barcelona) and David Silva (to Manchester City) the club has looked solid and some of its new players, such as Aritz Aduriz and Tino Costa have looked very solid. Indeed, tonight they looked frightening as they completely demolished the Turkish champions: a 0-4 away victory is something to notice in the CL, and both Aduriz and Costa scored. Valencia is starting the season well, and we can only know they continue!
Barcelona fell to Hercules this weekend, and when Panathinaikos went ahead in today's match in the Camp Nou, some people surely felt a crisis, but only for a couple of minutes; Barcelona, and in particular Lionel Messi and Xavi were spectacular. Brilliant passes and combinations will surely be giving nightmares to the Greeks. Messi's goal for 3-1 was brilliant, but so was Dani Alvez 5-1 goal, after a brilliant pass by Messi. Also, David Villa scored his first CL goal in his Barcelona shirt, and Barcelona is surely looking frightening after today!
But at least the show has started!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mighty little Hercules!

Nobody expects Barcelona to slip, at home, against smaller teams. Hercules are a newcomer to the Spanish 1st division, and in their second match in the top league, nobody awaited them to shake the mighty Catalans. But lo and behold! The beauty of football is that Hercules against all odds won 0-2 on two goals by the Paraguayan striker Nelson Haedo Valdez.
It was a Barcelona side where coach Guardiola, perhaps arrogantly, decided to experiment with many new players: Abidal played in defence, while both Adriano started in, while the Argentinean newcomer from Liverpool, Javier Mascherano, played one meager half. It does not bode well for Barcelona's reserves!
Although Barcelona had possession of almost 75% it was a complete off-day for the Catalonians, while everything seemed to work for Hercules, who with their many new purchases will be interesting to watch this season, and has indeed opened with a bang!

In the meantime, Valencia is in the lead, after defeating Racing de Santander 1-0, and with two consecutive victories.
Real Madrid got their first victory of the season, 1-0 at home against Osasuna. It was not a very convincing Real Madrid side, although they should have won with a larger margin, and were only prevented by the Osasuna goalkeeper. The best thing on the Real Madrid side was undoubtfully the German Mesut Özil who dominated the midfield, and may look to have a central role on the Madrid side this season. He will undoubtfully be interesting to follow.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Short time to celebrate

A few months ago Spain won the World Cup, and has understandably been living on planet Glory since. However, today came the time to return to planet football: they must learn that every country will now want to defeat Spain - the scalp of a world champion is a precious one!
And so, the friendly match between Argentina and Spain today in Buenos Aires, was more than just a friendly encounter between two of the greatest footballing nations on earth!
Granted, Argentina were hungry: after their disappointing World Cup they are now under "caretaker" coach Sergio Batista, who after today should certainly be looking for a fixed contract. Argentina destroyed the world champions 4-1 in an entertaining match where Lionel Messi was splendid against many of his teammates, and Spain were also unlucky and with a goalkeeper Pepe Reina who is perhaps still a bit hungover.
Although Batista's team differed greatly from Diego Maradona's, it can hardly be the team of the future: Batista had included Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso from Inter. Two great players who were eager to show that they should have been in South Africa, but who in thelate thirties hardly will be the cornerstone of a future Argentinean side. However, the inclusion of Ever Banega also seems to show that Batista is not only looking for a steady job, but also for the future. Banega worked perfectly with Messi and Higuaín, and even Tévez seemed to fit in.
Spain's Vicente Del Bosque made many changes, and granted it wasn't the usual lineup. Still, some of the stars, such as Xabi Alonso had an off-day, and the defense around Marchena, Arbeloa and Piqué was a disaster.
There we see the importance of Puyol....
Anyway, in spite of the Spanish experiments and bad luck, such a defeat is not usual for a world champion, but is sure to feed Argentinean hopes for a new era. But no matter what, it was in the end just a friendly match!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Euro 2012 qualifiers

With the World Cup barely over and the European leagues starting up, a new football tournament to look forward to started up this week, namely the Euro 2012, that will take place in Poland and Ukraine.
I was sitting in my office, quietly listening to the radio while working, and following all matches on the internet. Time difference is a bummer....
Listening to Denmark's match against Iceland, I was getting increasingly nervous, but fortunately Thomas Kahlenberg scored for Denmark in the last seconds of the match, giving Denmark an important start in Group H. Denmark's group is for now led by Norway, who defeated Portugal 1-0. The Portuguese favourites, again falling into the trap of their own arrogance and cheasy haircuts have started very badly with a 4-4 match against Cyprus and today's defeat to Norway.
England is looking to renew its team after the World Cup mishap, and a 3-1 away victory to the strong defensive Swiss is an important step. Perhaps the best was that Wayne Rooney scored; he has been the victim of the media slander of his personal life over the last week, but with his goal today he proved to people like myself, who really only care about his football, that he remains a great footballer.
Another nation looking to rise again is France, who started badly with a 0-1 defeat to Bielorrussia. However, today they won 2-0 against Bosnia-Herzegovina on goals by Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda, and should remain favourites to win Grouo D.
Germany have started strongly with two victories in group A, which will have some exciting matches including Austria, Turkey and Belgium. The last two played a very exciting match in Istambul, which the Turks won 3-2,
In group Scotland has taken the lead with 4 points in two matches, after defeating Liechtenstein 2-1 on a last-minute goal. Not overly impressed, and it remains likely that Spain, with 3 points for one match, will cruise through to win this group.