Thursday, January 20, 2022

Down with COVID

 As many players go down with COVID, so did I. Disappointingly, as I feel I have gone to extraordinary lengths to not approach people.

Many games in the English Premier League were cancelled due to players with COVID. Not so Manchester City-Chelsea although both teams had players down with COVID, for Chelsea notably defender Andreas Christensen (who may be on the way to Barcelona). But Manchester City were clearly a better side, despite their narrow 1-0 victory on a magnificent strike by Kevin de Bruyne. After the victory Manchester City are 13 points clear of Chelsea on first place, and look like a very safe bet for English champions.

A team that was not down with COVID, but might as well have been was Ghana. The Black Stars had been poor against Gabon, when they hardly showed any attacking prowess, but against the Comoros the Ghana side also showed poor defending, and despite an almost comeback when being down 0-2, they ended up losing 2-3 and a disgraceful exit for Ghana from the AFCON. But at the same time one must congratulate Comoros who took their first victory in their first Africa Cup of Nations (and may at the time of writing have the option of going through as a best third-placed team).

Someone who does not have COVID is Robert Lewandowski, who just won the FIFA Best Player of the Year award, congratulations to him, although in my view some other players were better. That said, I completely agree that Alexia Putellas and Edouard Mendy were the best female player and goalkeeper respectively.

I will be unable to watch football as I have been asked to completely isolate for 12 days. This means that my TV room is a no-go area, as I imprisoned in just two rooms. This is just another downer of this stupid disease, whose worse symptom for me is that I am depressed.

 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Very disappointing Ghana

 The African Cup of Nations is always a great tournament and it is great to be able to watch some of the matches here from El Salvador. Ghana has always been my favorite African team, so I was excited to be able to watch the Black Stars against Gabon. Ghana should be considered one of the outsiders for the title, but lost their first match 0-1 to Morocco, and were thus forced to pull a result against Gabon; preferably a win before their last match against the Comoros (whom Gabon defeated 2-0).

Gabon started the best, but the experienced Ghanaians slowly worked their way into the match and I  one of their few attacks Andrew Ayew scored after getting well away from the defender into a good shooting position. But after this Ghana were a disappointment. In the most outdated and boring catenaccio style the Ghanaians stood back to defend their narrow lead against a Gabonese side that had to be commended for playing their chance. Gabon’s reward and Ghana’s well-deserved punishment came in the 88th minute when Jim Allevinah, Claremont striker, equalized for Gabon. 

It was only then that Ghana again attacked, and they even produced a good chance following a corner, but frankly they deserved to be where they were for having played on the 0-1, instead of attacking more. After the match a huge brawl ensued as the Ghanaian players, sore losers, seemed angry at everyone, and amid the row one player was given a red card. 

Ghana did sadly not win friends on this day, and in their final match against Comoros they must show that they can attack, while hoping that Morocco (who has almost qualified with two wins), defeats a hard-working Gabon.


Friday, January 07, 2022

The return of Eriksen

 I was happy to see that Christian Eriksen has announced his wish to return to football, and that he wants to go to Qatar with Denmark. Following his shocking collapse against Finland in June, things have been quiet around Eriksen, but this week he gave his first interview since the collapse. Besides thanking people for their support and telling about the situation, he announced that he wished to return to football. He will be playing with a pacemaker, which to many may seem impossible (I frankly thought that he would never be able to play), but in fact it appears that it is perfectly possible, and already other sport people do it, most notably the Dutch footballer Daley Blind. However, he will not be able to play in Inter, as the Italian League does not allow it.

So many things will be interesting about Eriksen's return. First of all, what club will take their chances with him: he is a top-quality player, but certainly some clubs will wonder whether he will return to play at the same level after such a shock and long break, besides the numerous health checks that they will probably ask for. Eriksen said he wished to return to the Danish national team, something that we all view with great sympathy. At the same time, if he is not playing at the top level by the time the team is selected the national team manager Kasper Hjulmand could well face a dilemma on whether to select him or not.

All these things said, it is only marvelous to hear that Eriksen is doing well and that he intends to return, and make sure that we all, myself included, will be cheering for Eriksen to have many more years of success on and off the football pitch!