Archive for the ‘International Football’ Category
Brazil was everyone´s favorite to win the men´s Olympic football gold medal in London 2012. It would have been their first but, to everyone´s surprise, Mexico beat the Brazilians (2-1).
Mexico was the forgotten team of the final. All the attention was focused on its rival and its stars. However, the Mexicans only needed 27 seconds to score their first goal, quickly waking up Brazil from their golden dreams.
It was supposed to be Neymar´s day, it was, instead, Oribe Peralta´s, the Mexican player that gave the victory to the Azteca team scoring its two goals. The first one came from a mistake made by the Brazilian defense, and the second one followed a nice play from Mexico. At the end, Brazil only scored once, and the goal did not come from acclaimed Neymar, but from Hulk.
Truth is Mexico had to perform a perfect match to overcome the favorite squad. On the other hand, Brazil opted for his forwards, the same way it has been doing for the last years. The formula has brought the Brazilians countless titles, but this time it wasn´t enough to help them win its first Olympic gold medal.
On the other side of the Atlantic Messi continues being the king.
Last Wednesday night the American cable television network ESPN presented its ESPY awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) which recognizes the best individual and team performances in different sports categories.
And guess who won the Best International Athlete of the year? FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
He competed against big names like Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis player Novak Djkovic and LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng. At the ceremony, when the presenters call out all the candidates, they highlighted Messi´s “speed, agility and master skills” which has made him “one of the most relevant football players in the world”.
If you take a look at the numbers, there is no wonder Messi won over all the fans that voted online. He scored 50 goals in La Liga, and 73 goals in total last campaign. He also finished as the UEFA Champions League‘s top scorer for a fourth consecutive season with 14 goals.
Another well known player both in Spain and the UK got the Best MLS Player Award. We are talking about David Beckham. Maybe this recognition will ease his disappointement after he was left out of Great Britain´s Olympic football team set to participate in London this summer.
Thing is, football seems deep-rooted in the US, oh well; maybe we should call it “soccer”.
Since Spain broke its string of bad luck in quarter-finals, it is unstoppable. Euro 2008, the World Cup 2010 and now is about to win its second Euro title. If it wins, Spain will become the first National Team achieving three Championships in a row.
The match against Portugal wasn´t an easy one, though. 90 minutes of regular time, then 30 more minutes of extra time, and the scoreboard remained 0. Spain ended up beating Portugal in the penalty shoot-outs. But it did not start with the right foot, because Xabi Alonso missed the first penalty kick. Lucky for Spain, Iker Casillas made a great save preventing Moutinho from scoring.
But the decisive kick came from Cesc Fàbregas. He asked to kick the fifth one, because he got the feeling that it was going to be the decisive one. And he was certainly right! He did not miss it, giving Spain the opportunity to go to finals, and preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from even try to kick.
The final will take place next Sunday July 1st in Kiev, but we still don´t know who will Spain play against: Italy or Germany?
The most anticipated football game of the weekend, El Clasico, finished leaving behind any doubts that FC Barcelona continues to be the best team in the world, beating Real Madrid (1-3) at their own home.
The match started, surprisingly enough, with one of the fastest goals in El Clasico history. Víctor Valdés sent a pass into midfield that ended up in Benzema´s feet, scoring just 22 seconds from the start.
But Barça, far from going down, started to play the way they know, being always truthful to their own style. Slowly but surely they started dominating midfield and that´s how in the 30th minute, Alexis scored the equalizer after a great assist from Messi. Another mistake, this time on Madrid´s side, ended up with Marcelo scoring an own goal in the 53th minute. And then, in the 66th minute, a great team play finished up with a diving header by Cesc Fàbregas.
It was an easy win on Barcelona´s side, and a complete shock for Madrid. And now Barcelona is in Japan, ready to win the Club World Cup, but first would have to beat Al Sadd, the Asian Champions on Thursday´s semi-final in Yokohama.
Manchester City visits Stamford Bridge. The City are the Premier League leader, and after being kicked off the Champions, they will focus on maintaining their flawless league record. The Blues are 10 points behind and currently on fifth place, but, they did what the City couldn´t, and are still up and running in the European Realm.
Wembley Stadium, London, was again the scenario of a magical night for England. Yes, it was only a friendly, but the opponent was Spain, the actual World and European Champions. This game was a biggie, and this time, Fabio Capello had it his way.
Spain played better, had the precious ball´s possession, and tried desperately to score, but the incredible England´s defensive performance won the battle, mostly thanks to Phill Jones and Scott Parker that controlled Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta to perfection.
First half showed Spain´s superiority, but just after four minutes of the restart England had their reward for being patient. Bent headed the ball against the post, bouncing back to Lampard that did not miss the opportunity to score on an empty net.
Spain missed three great occasions. David Villa boosted the ball against the post and Cesc Fàbregas missed two opportunities to hit the net on the second half.
There was technical superiority in Vicente Del Bosque´s side, but there was discipline in Capello´s squad that managed to overcome their limitations and got a moral boosting victory.
On the other side, Spain failed again on a friendly against a top rated squad, same thing that happened against Argentina and Italy.
Now, concentrating on matches to come….England will face Sweden and Spain plays against Costa Rica.
One of the stars of Saturday´s night, Jagielka will not play against Sweden on due to a toe injury that has sent him back to Everton.
Jack Rodwell, Daniel Sturridge and Kyle Walker are all ready for their first England starts. Capello is also considering giving goalkeeper Scott Carson another chance in the national squad.
Capello is taking Tuesday´s match seriously. Sweden line-up includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a striker Capello knows well since it was him who bought him to Italy as Juventus manager. He knows he is a danger, but after his victory against Spain, for sure he feels more confident and optimist.
The former France international and current Real Madrid sporting director, Zinedine Zidane, admits that he is interested on being France´s national team coach in the future. Zidane said in an interview to Le Parisien “Whether I’d like to be coach of Les Bleus? Why not! That wouldn’t be a bad thing. Everything’s possible in life.”
Even though he feels honoured to be considered for the position, he doesn´t believe that the current France´s coach, Laurent Blanc, is going to be replaced anytime soon, since the work he is doing and what he can do in the future is still the right one. Zidane justifies this comment making a direct mention to the disappointment with France´s national team on 2002, when the squad got the worst result ever in a World Cup tournament after being knocked out in the first round.
But still, it seems like Zidane is not wasting any time. He has already mentioned that he is going to start a Sport Management Career in Limoges, and he is already highlighting some of his fellow countrymen Benzema and Varane, both current Real Madrid players. About Benzema he says that “Is the most talented player in France” and about Varane Zidane highlights his fearlessness playing in such a big stadium like Santiago Bernabéu.
We can only wait and see if Zidane would become France´s national team coach in the future. At least he has the will.