After a fantastic European Championship (which far exceeded expectation), football continues: the Gold Cup is currently taking place in North-, Central-America and the Caribbean, and some exciting women's football is to start in the Olympic games. More interestingly, leagues are quietly starting (the Danish Superliga having started this week, and other interesting leagues to start a new season in the following month) including Champions league qualifiers.
With Brøndby winning the Danish League they are to have a play-off match to qualify to the Champions League. In the meantime the runners-up from FC Midtjylland also get an option to qualify to the Champions league starting in the second round play-offs of the League Path (whose losers will get into either the qualifying or league stages of the Europa League). Last night I watched FC Midtjylland play the first leg of their attempt to qualify in an away match to Celtic in Glasgow.
1-1 was an excellent result for the team from Herning (even though the away-goal rule has been eliminated) against a Celtic side that nevertheless were the better team in the first half, were leading 1-0 on a goal by the young Israeli Liel Abada, but made it all more difficult for themselves when Nir Bitton received a second booking for reacting angrily to Anders Dreyer's apparent dive. During his participation in the match Bitton appeared way too angry; his first booking had been after an overly eager tackle after which he looked like he was going to murder someone, and the card was well-deserved when he should have kept his head cold. In the meantime Dreyer appeared only too happy to have provoked Bitton's card; he received a card for his dive, and in the second half received a second half for exactly the same reason in a situation that was surely not a dive, but the Swiss referee appeared too eager to punish him for something.
10 against 10 opened a bit more the match, but Celtic never became overly dominant in the second half, where Evander equalized on an excellent free-kick. The will face each other in Herning in one week.