Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Greatest Matches of the European Championships

The Euro 2016 will take place in France this summer, and as a countdown to the tournament I will do something that I did as a countdown to the 2010 World Cup, when I wrote about the 50 greatest matches in World Cup History.
This being a younger tournament (it started in 1960, and the first tournament was, as this one in 2016, hosted in France) it will "only" be the 23 best matches, and I will start tomorrow with the very first match, France-Yugoslavia, in 1960.
The series will continue until the tournament starts in France in June, so be sure to tune in and learn about the legends of the European Championships!!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Can Leicester win?

It seemed the most unlikely thing when the league started; a curiosity by December; and there are still many who say that it will not happen (among them, many from Leicester itself). But it is about time that the unlikely, or impossible, must be contemplated seriously: Can Leicester win the Premier League?
They are currently three points clear of Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, so most definitely we must admit that the possibility is there; it is not impossible. Not least because in the struggle for Champions League places and in the most competitive league in the world teams that seem to (still) be the main favourites for the title, most notably Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United (and here I am not even going to bother mentioning the defending champions of Chelsea, who will not even make European football), continue to stumble against each other and against other competitive teams that are competing for Europe, such as West Ham, Tottenham and Southampton. And it is against these that Leicester should be compared: a small, yes, but highly competitive team with an experienced coach in Claudio Ranieri (although I do not like him myself) and a good collective group of players that have hit the best form in their lives at the exact time when other larger teams are struggling with stability and injuries.
If Leicester wins the Premier League it is because of stability in its form and results, as well as the fact that they can play without nerves, while everyone else is playing against the ghosts of expectations. Even if Leicester ends in third or fourth place, their season will have been considered a success.
The next three matches will probably define if Leicester is indeed the serious candidate for the title that still eludes expectations: they will face Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. If Leicester is still leading the Premier League after these three matches, the answer to the question if Leicester can win must be a resounding Yes.