Cambiasso praises Inter’s forward thrust

April 21, 2010

Jose Mourinho
“Esteban Cambiasso praised the ‘extraordinary work of our three forwards’ after FC Internazionale Milano’s 3-1 win against FC Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final tie at the San Siro, a sixth consecutive UEFA Champions League victory for José Mourinho’s side.” (UEFA)

Inter 3-1 Barcelona: Why did Pep Guardiola play Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
“It’s not often during his two seasons as Barcelona manager that you can conclusively say that Pep Guardiola got his tactics wrong – but tonight that was the case, as Inter take an important two-goal lead to the Nou Camp. Both sides essentially played their standard formations. Inter were 4-2-3-1 with Samuel Eto’o and Goran Pandev wide, and Javier Zanetti continuing at left-back. Barcelona played a similar team to the first leg at against Arsenal – Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line, Lionel Messi behind him, Pedro in a wide-right role and Seydou Keita playing from in to out on the left.” (Zonal Marking)

James Lawton: Mourinho calls the shots to make Italy think again about his style
“Even Jose Mourinho has rarely known a night like this, one in which not only a second Champions League title but perhaps even the keys of European football may have been at least halfway into his grasp. If Mourinho had some substantial gifts from his Portuguese compatriot referee, including a third goal that was plainly offside, there was no questioning that he had produced from his Internazionale a magnificent response to the challenge of facing the reigning champions of Europe, a team with the potential, some of us may still believe, to touch new levels of excellence.” (Independent)

Italian Football Faces Tough Times
“The most important league table in Italian football right now isn’t the Serie A standings, where AS Roma and Inter Milan are locked in a titanic tussle for the title, or even the Serie B championship, where Torino—one of the country’s most historic clubs—is hoping to secure a top-flight return. It’s actually an obscure ranking of European’s football nations known as the UEFA coefficient table, a mind-boggling complex formula that has produced one very simple conclusion: Italy’s days as a football superpower could soon be at an end.” (WSJ)

Champions League: Inter Milan 3, FC Barcelona 1
“Inter Milan meets Barcelona tonight in the first leg of a mouthwatering Champions League semifinal that many fans think should have been the final itself. With Lyon and Bayern Munich meeting in the other semifinal tomorrow, the glamor — and global attention — will all be at the San Siro in Milan this evening. The visitors are Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona: Spanish league leader, defending European champion and for many, currently the best team in world soccer. The side also, of course, fields the planet’s best player, by popular acclaim, in Argentinian forward Lionel Messi.” (WSJ)

‘It Will Not Be Inter-Barcelona, It Will Be Inter or Barcelona’
“Inter Milan counter attacked with great effect Tuesday against Barcelona, coming back from a goal down to win the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal, 3-1. Barca went up early, scoring a crucial away goal by way of Pedro Rodriguez. He tucked away an angled pass from Maxwell, whose run down the left flank past Cambiasso to the goal line was unchecked by Maicon and Lucio, who both stopped dead in their tracks. But Inter responded with determined counter-attacking play, as per Manager Jose Mourinho’s instructions.” (NYT)

Inter Milan vs. Barcelona

Inter Milan (Internazionale) 3-1 FC Barcelona – Recap and Video Highlights – Champions League – Tuesday, April 20, 2010
“The UEFA Champions League kicked off its semifinal round with a 1st leg match between Inter Milan (Internazionale) v FC Barcelona at the San Siro. Either team would be favored to win the competition if they were to make the final. Barcelona has been in very good form in the Champions League while Inter Milan has knocked out favorites like Chelsea.” (The 90th Minute)

Battle of Santiago

April 21, 2010

“The Battle of Santiago is the name given to a particularly unsavoury and infamous football match during the 1962 World Cup Finals. It was a game played between hosts Chile and Italy on June 2, 1962 in Santiago. The referee was Ken Aston who later went on to invent yellow and red cards.” (Wikipedia), (YouTube)

Didier Drogba was a surprise choice as Africa’s number one

April 21, 2010

“Didier Drogba was named the 2009 African footballer of the year. If the award – his second in four years – was a surprise, even more so was the margin of his triumph in the poll as he beat Samuel Eto’o by 23 points. The pair have been embroiled in some tight contests in the past and it was expected to be fairly close again this time, albeit with Eto’o the seemingly logical winner.” (World Soccer)

Olympique Lyonnais Go For Historic Double

April 21, 2010

“There’s a pretty good chance that you know Olympique Lyonnais are playing today in the UEFA Champion’s League semi-final against Bayern Munich. You may not also know that Lyon’s women’s team are also playing in their UEFA Champion’s League semi-final this Saturday, against Swedish giants Umeå IK.” (Pitch Invasion)

Late-Game Heroes Have Lifted Bayern Munich and Lyon
“Arjen Robben’s contributions to Bayern Munich in the Champions League this season have been eerily consistent, and supremely valuable. In the 65th minute of the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 match on March 9, the Bayern Munich wing capped a stunning 11-minute spell with a sharply angled shot into the top corner of the Fiorentina goal. How fortunate. Though the German side lost the match, 3-2, it was Robben’s stunner that saw Bayern through to the quarterfinals by virtue of away goals, 4-4 on aggregate.” (NYT)

The Ball They Can’t Leave Alone

April 21, 2010

“Pick up a basketball, football, baseball, tennis ball, golf ball or a hockey puck, and the objects feel and look much as they have for two generations. Yet, grab a soccer ball from 1960, or even one from 1980 or 1990, and the orb is virtually unrecognizable from the one that will be used for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in June and July. Leather has given way to synthetics. Some 32 individually sewn panels have become eight. Hand stitching has given way to thermal bonding.” (WSJ)