Inter v Barcelona: tactical preview

April 19, 2010

“Many have commented that, in an ideal world, this may have been the final of the competition. Barcelona and Inter are generally considered to be the strongest two sides left in the Champions League – and of course, they are also the only two actual champions left. For the tactical enthusiast, however, a two-legged tie between the two most interesting sides in the competition is a more exciting prospect than a one-off game.” (Zonal Marking)

Inter’s date with destiny
“Outside influences have had a habit, recently, of trying to penetrate Inter’s hardened outer shell ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Most notably, there have been allegations about the Nerazzurri’s perceived role in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal which have been brought to light by the defence attorneys for disgraced former Juventus director Luciano Moggi.” (ESPN)

It Was a Weekend for Clearing the Air, Though Not in England
“In sports, the shortest journeys often turn out to be the most perilous — as derby matches affecting the leading clubs across Europe demonstrated throughout the weekend. This, however, is a uniquely challenging time for long-distance travelers across the Continent, and for once the great and the good of soccer are in the same boat, or grounded plane, as the rest of us.” (NYT)

Espanyol make their new home a fortress to derail Barcelona
“As the bus turned in, all you could see was the palms of their hands hammering against the window. Then as the light filtered through, Nico Pareja in the aisle, arms aloft and chanting. His Espanyol team-mates were bouncing and shouting and thumping on the glass. Outside, they were too. Along the narrow streets of Cornellà, balconies were draped in blue and white, music blaring. Bars were packed with Periquitos sinking minis – litres of beer in plastic glasses – and hollering war cries.” (Guardian)

Could personal technology stop a winning World Cup squad spirit?

April 19, 2010

“I have been back in England for a quick visit and I was struck by an outburst that Hull boss Iain Dowie aimed at his squad. ‘Sometimes the players have to forget about the iPods,’ he said. ‘They need to think about what really matters.’ He went on to admit: ‘I’m not a big fan of these big earphones on the way to games,’ and that ‘my thing with the iPod generation is that when they leave the ground and go away to their closeted little lives they shouldn’t forget what’s got them where they are and what impact they can have.’ It is, of course, the complaint of a member of one generation about the desocialising effect of technology on the next.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

The Title That No-One Wants To Win?

April 19, 2010

Adidas advertisement makes the link between soccer and religion
“English football season has had more than its fair share of madness this season, but the race for the title is starting to give off a hint of being the title race that no-one wins. Only one of the top three clubs in the Premier League have been able to manage all three points, and even that came at the end of a less than inspiring performance with yet another injury time winner. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal were all long ago guaranteed their places in the Champions League, and perhaps it is this that is firing the most nervy end of season run-in for several seasons.” (twohundredpercent)

Americans Abroad Recap and Video Highlights – Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 19, 2010

“It was a light day for Americas Abroad with not very many playing key roles in matches in the top European leagues. Brad Friedel got a win for Aston Villa in the English Premier League while there were a few playing in the Danish league (Benny Feilhaber and Michael Parkhurst). Eddie Johnson continues to get regular playing time in Greece while teammate Freddy Adu sat on the bench.” (The 90th Minute)

10 World Cup Questions: Brazil

April 19, 2010

“Chris and myself have been trying our best to profile each of the 32 teams that will compete at World Cup 2010, but our knowledge about each team is miniscule (or at least mine is anyway) when compared to that of our team bloggers.” (World Cup Blog)