Two nights in Madrid, two wildly contrasting experiences

April 16, 2022


“Nobody was leaving. Not Atletico Madrid’s players, who it seemed were going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the Champions League stage, and not their supporters, who were determined to have the last word. … You wouldn’t have guessed their team had just been beaten to a place in the Champions League semi-finals by Manchester City. What a noise — from the start to the bitter, bitter end. And what an extraordinary occasion it was. Again. … When the dust settled on that angry, bad-tempered quarter-final second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano last night, it was City who had held on to secure a semi-final meeting with Real Madrid, leaving Atletico, like Chelsea the previous evening, to count their regrets. …”
The Athletic


You Decide Which Games Matter

April 16, 2022


“Only a little more than a year ago, the Europa Conference League was still just an idea. It did not, in truth, even seem like an especially good idea. Explaining where such a league would fit into the game’s pecking order, what its purpose would be, hardly had the making of a compelling elevator pitch. Europe already had two continental tournaments: the wildly popular Champions League and the broadly tolerated Europa League. Why not add a third, then — one that encompassed all of the teams that were not quite good enough to qualify for the other two competitions? …”
NY Times
W – FA Cup
W – UEFA Europa Conference League


About That Game: England 2-2 Argentina (1998)

April 16, 2022


“International football rivalries are rarely intercontinental, but the ill-feeling between Argentina and England is an exception. The rivalry emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, partly due to the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, but also on the pitch thanks to controversial World Cup meetings between the two sides in 1966 and 1986. This meeting in 1998 certainly didn’t help to heal the rift. …”
The Analyst (Video)


When Middlesbrough Nearly Won a European Cup

April 16, 2022


“Steve McClaren’s Middlesborough were an interesting band of veterans, talents that had blown off course, bedrock Premier League players and homegrown promise. But in 2006 they would pull off a UEFA Cup run described as “The greatest comeback since Lazarus”. This is the story of the time Middlesborough nearly won a European cup. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor. Illustrated by Craig Silcock.”
YouTube
BBC: Middlesbrough’s run to Uefa Cup final remembered 15 years on by those involved (May 2021)