Thursday, December 11, 2008

Champions League Reaches Knockout Stage

Group A ----------Played Pts
1 Roma..............6.....12
2 Chelsea...........6.....11
3 Bordeaux..........6......7
4 CFR Cluj-Napoca...6......4

Group B ----------Played Pts
1 Panathinaikos.....6.....10
2 Inter Milan.......6......8
3 Werder Bremen.....6......7
4 Anorthosis Fam....6......6

Group C ----------Played Pts
1 Barcelona.........6.....13
2 Sporting Lisbon...6.....12
3 Shakhtar Donetsk..6......9
4 Basle.............6......1

Group D ----------Played Pts
1 Liverpool.........6.....14
2 Atletico Madrid...6.....12
3 Marseille.........6......4
4 PSV Eindhoven.....6......3

Group E ----------Played Pts
1 Manchester Utd....6.....10
2 Villarreal........6......9
3 Aalborg BK........6......6
4 Celtic............6......5

Group F ----------Played Pts
1 Bayern Munich.....6.....14
2 Lyon..............6.....11
3 Fiorentina........6......6
4 FC Steaua Buch....6......1

Group G ----------Played Pts
1 FC Porto..........6.....12
2 Arsenal...........6.....11
3 Dynamo Kiev.......6......8
4 Fenerbahce........6......2

Group H ----------Played Pts
1 Juventus..........6.....12
2 Real Madrid.......6.....12
3 Zenit St. Pet.....6......5
4 BATE Borisov......6......3

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Champions League Completes First Round

Group A Team.........P Pts
1 Chelsea............1 3
2 CFR Cluj-Napoca....1 3
3 Roma...............1 0
4 Bordeaux...........1 0

Group B Team.........P Pts
1 Inter Milan........1 3
2 Anorthosis Fama....1 1
3 Werder Bremen......1 1
4 Panathinaikos......1 0

Group C Team.........P Pts
1 Barcelona..........1 3
2 Shakhtar Don.......1 3
3 Basle..............1 0
4 Sporting Lisbon....1 0

Group D Team.........P Pts
1 Atletico Madrid....1 3
2 Liverpool..........1 3
3 Marseille..........1 0
4 PSV Eindhoven......1 0

Group E Team.........P Pts
1 Aalborg BK.........1 1
2 Celtic.............1 1
3 Manchester U.......1 1
4 Villarreal.........1 1

Group F Team.........P Pts
1 Bayern Munich......1 3
2 Fiorentina.........1 1
3 Lyon...............1 1
4 FC Steaua B........1 0

Group G Team.........P Pts
1 FC Porto...........1 3
2 Arsenal............1 1
3 Dynamo Kiev........1 1
4 Fenerbahce.........1 0

Group H Team.........P Pts
1 Real Madrid........1 3
2 Juventus...........1 3
3 Zenit St. Pet......1 0
4 BATE Borisov.......1 0

Monday, June 23, 2008

Euro 2008 Reaches it’s Final Four

Many of the usual suspects will be absent from this year’s Euro 2008 final most of the pre-tournament favorites are home for the summer, including the side that looked the best in the group stage, Holland, winning all three matches and having the best goal differential of any team in the tournament. Ironically NONE of the sides that were group winners are left standing. The Dutch played their worst game of the four when it mattered most as Russia game out more aggressive and had them on their heels early, only a late goal from “Van the Man” extended the match to extra time where they once again could not keep the Russians out of their net. Also not present are the defending world champions Italy, who quite frankly, never looked like a team that would get out of the group stage and didn’t find their rhythm at all during the tournament. Another pre-tournament fav not present will be the French, as Henry is beginning to show his age Benzema has not lived up to the hype. The team with the most fire power up front and the consensus pick was Portugal, similar to 04’, but couldn’t manage to get Golden Boot winner Ronaldo enough space to score when it counted. With the dust settled and we look at who is left, under the radar Germany has slipped again. They find themselves with a semi-final match that is MORE than winnable, going up against a depleted Turkish side that will be missing a total of NINE normal starters due to injury or yellow card restrictions. The last big name left in the dance, they have found away to survive and advance and are in position to take down their fourth title. On the other side pits Russia and Spain, who seem to be finally living up to their potential. For many years the Spanish have fielded potentially the best squad but have not been able to put it all together and now they find themselves in a position that they have not seen since 1984. Their opponent is a quality Russian side that disposed of the top side in the tourney thus far, the Dutch. Perhaps they are just plain good, as they survived a group stage that easily could have been considered the ‘group of death’ with Sweden, Spain, and defending champions Greece. Last but not least we have not even brought up the sleeper of this years’ tournament, the Turks, who have defied all odds and found themselves short handed, injured, and facing an old nemesis, Deutschland. It they could pull off the monumental upset, and that is not hyperbole, it would truly go down in the archives as the biggest ever. However after the Greek run in 2004 I think the universe has already overdrawn their karma account. Either way there will be at least one unfamiliar face in the finals next week and probably the sentimental favorite.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Germany stuns Portugal to cliam first spot in semi-finals

Germany got out to a quick 1-0 lead and when Portugal tried to press it was 2-0 before the match was a half-hour old. Portugal gave themselves hope four minutes before the break through Nuno Gomes, who became just the third man behind Jurgen Klinsmann and Vladimir Smicer to score in three European Championships. But Michael Ballack restored Germany's two-goal lead in the 61st minute from another Schweinsteiger free-kick, and although substitute Helder Postiga pulled another one back for Portugal with three minutes left, Germany held on. In the end the German air superiority proved to be the difference as despite trying to prevent them from getting frivolous corners and set piece opportunities, two of the goals came from the air, one in particular where there was so much clearance that Klose could use his shoulder rather than his kopf. So let the controversy begin on Ballack’s header, how is the call not made? Yes, it was a slight push but he only need a sight advantage to get enough space for a clear shot, and that proved to be the difference. A similar play was call in favor of the host Austria giving them a penalty kick in extra time to earn a draw. If a foul on Ballack was called it would not have changed the flow like the result of the non-call, which gave the Germans an insurmountable lead. Needless to say Portugal’s score with less than 5 minutes to play would have taken on entirely new significance. Once again the lack of consistency of the refs takes center stage.

Italy suffers worst lost in history of Euro but can still advnce

Italy, the defending world champions, suffered their worst lost in European Cup history with a 3-0 loss to Holland. Although they are the reigning World Cup champions the Italians haven’t won the Euro Cup in 40 years and now their task just got dramatically more difficult as a 3 goal loss in the “group of death” will be tough to overcome. They must now win their remaining two games in the qualifying round. The controversial call was pivotal despite the final score as an Italian player lay on the ground, out of bounds, but was ruled to still be a participant, meaning no off sides could be called and Van Nesteroy was there in his normal ‘goal poaching’ style to knock it in. Only one goal, but one that set the tone for the landslide. The Italians now must come up with victories against Romania and France or they will be home before their postcards.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ronaldo, Portugal look stron in first game of Euro 2008

In the second match in group A Portugal opened their Euro 2008 account with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Turkey in Geneva. Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit the post with a sensational free-kick early on inspired his side to victory as they scored two second half goals to kill of a Turkish threat which never materialized. After having a first-half effort disallowed, Pepe made no mistake on the hour as he gave Portugal the lead with a stunning individual effort. Nuno Gomes hit post and crossbar before the second goal arrived in stoppage time when substitute Raul Meireles finished off a fine counter-attack. Portugal now sit on top of Group A after Czech Republic's 1-0 win over Switzerland earlier on Saturday. With Deco, Ronaldo, and all of that speed in front, can Portugal hoist the cup for the second time in the last three tries?

In an amazing all English final Man U held of Chelsea to win the Champions League Final 1-1(6-5pk), as Captain John Terry and Nicolas Annelka were denied on consecutive shots to seal the victory. It was the 4th time in eight years that the finals have gone to PK’s. Had it not been for such an amazing performance from Pete Cech the Blues would not have even made it that far. On two separate occasions in the second half Cech made saves on shots that mere mortals find in the back of the ol’ onion bag. What can’t be forgotten when everyone speaks of the drama of the extra period and PK’s, is that Man U really outplayed Chelsea for most of the match, from possession pct. to real opportunities. Even with that effort, Cech was asked to more during the shootout and he answered the call, stopping Golden Boot winner Ronaldo on the third shot in Pk’s and that SHOULD have been enough. I understand the pitch was wet but everyone shot on the same one and you gotta knock those down during crunch time. Moreover, you have got to keep your composure when the world is watching and how the best striker on the club can tossed in a game like this is beyond recourse. Drogba’s little flick to chin was surely felt when you need your five best to stand on the line and make one for all the marbles. The Blues didn’t and Man U gets the double.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Man U left standing in the end. Zenit joins fellow Russian side CSKA as champs

When all of the dust had settled, and the last clock stuck approximately 4pm on the final day of play, it was Manchester United that stood atop the EPL two points clear of the nearest challenge from Chelsea. With the goal differential being decidedly in Man U’s favor the Blues knew they needed a win at Stanford Bridge and hope that United get tripped up, but the exact opposite result happened as a desperate Chelsea club watched the clock as much as their opponent and as it became academic surrendered the tying goal just before extra time. Meanwhile Man U was putting the finishing touches on a clinching victory and an EPL title. Now the two will square off with more chips in the center of the table on Wednesday, as the scene shifts to Moscow and the Champions League Final. Will does taking home what used be known as the European Club Championship mean more than an EPL title? Is it just compensation for failing down the stretch? Does a Man U sweep display the dominance the club has shown all year?

Meanwhile at the home of Manchester City, FC Zenit was hoisting the UEFA Cup trophy with an impressive 2-0 victory over Rangers, becoming the first Russian side since CSKA Moskow to win the cup. A very partisan Rangers crowd left disappointed as the 72nd minute goal from Dennishov proved to be the difference. The final culminated the seasons for both clubs as neither was expected to get there, but which one will parlay the tournament into perpetual deep tournament appearances?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

EPL race tightest in years as Chelsea tie for lead going into last weekend

Chelsea ensured the Premier League title race will go down to the last game of the season after a 2-0 win against Newcastle. Michael Ballack and Florent Malouda were on target for the Blues as they ground out three valuable points at St James' Park. As if Chelsea could handle anything else on their plate at the moment, without fail the EPL title will title will be decided next weekend as the Blues will host Bolton and the Man U travels to Wigan. Who do you like to take the crown? Because of all of the attention an all EPL Champions League final has drawn many have forsaken one the tightest and exciting finishes to the EPL in years. With little to go in the season, the top of the table looks like this:

Premier League Top 6 Plyd Points
1 Man Utd.....37.....84
2 Chelsea.....37.....84
3 Arsenal.....37.....80
4 Liverpool...37.....73
5 Everton.....37.....62
6 Aston Villa.37.....59

Chelsea will try to hold serve Monday night as they travel to Newcastle. Who do you think will survive, persevere, and come out on top? Let us know here and in the world sport chat rooms.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

previous post

Liverpool escaped to the semi-finals with a 4-2 win over Arsenal. Make no mistake about it despite the score, with less than 10 minutes to go they were out of the tournament all together with a 2-2 draw as Arsenal drew level. Then a the controversial penalty and the back-door score late in the game sealed the deal. The Blues on the other hand solidly took care of business vs. Fenebahce 2-0, as the staples of Ballack and Lampard came through with goals.

Man U took it’s time but scored in the 70th minute on a great header by Tevez to advance 1-0 over Roma. It was more formality than anything else as United were two-nil up from the first leg and Sir Alex Ferguson rested several players for the game. His policy may have back-fired as in the 28th minute when Alessandro Mancini went down under a Wes Brown challenge for a dubious penalty. But Daniele De Rossi skied the resulting spot-kick over to the relief of Old Trafford. From there is was all over but the singing.

A 43rd-minute strike by Yaya Toure gave Barcelona an unconvincing 1-0 win over Schalke and sealed their passage into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Barca were firm favourites at the Nou Camp having won the first leg 1-0 in Germany, but the visitors gave them a real scare as they went close to levelling the tie on numerous occasions during the opening half-hour. Toure pounced just before the break to give Barca an undeserved lead and that proved to be enough for the Spanish giants as Schalke offered little resistance in the second half.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

previous champions league post

Liverpool came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners dominated early on and they deservedly went ahead on 23 minutes as Emmanuel Adebayor rose unchallenged to head home a corner. Arsenal were the better team thereafter but they could not find a breakthrough. They should have had a second-half penalty after Kuyt appeared to tug back Alexander Hleb in the box but the ref only gave a corner. Now Liverpool go into next week's second leg as slight favorites thanks to their away goal.
Fenerbahce fought back from a goal down to claim an unlikely 2-1 success over Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League clash. Avram Grant's side had been in firm control of the contest early on courtesy of Deivid's own goal from Florent Malouda's cross after just 13 minutes. The Blues dominated the remainder of the first half, but crucially, they failed to add to their early advantage despite peppering Fener keeper Volkan Demirel. With the Blue’s back against the wall it sets up an intriguing second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United are in a commanding position to qualify for the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League after a 2-0 win over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney grabbed the goals for the Premier League leaders to give Roma a mountain to climb in the second leg at Old Trafford next week. United look poised to move on to the final next week where they will face the familiarity of a Premiere League side. This sets up to be Man U’s best chance at the trophy in quite some time.

Barcelona will take a narrow lead to Camp Nou after securing a 1-0 win against Schalke in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final. Bojan Krkic grabbed the only goal of the game for the visitors and ensures that the Catalan giants will be the favourites to progress to the last four when the two sides meet again next week. It took just 12 minutes for the visitors to take the lead, when 17-year-old striker Krkic handed them the advantage. Thierry Henry troubled Schalke down the left and when his snap-shot was parried back to his feet from Manuel Neuer, he squared for his young team-mate to tap home. Only a trip to the finals will save Frank Rijkaard’s job and with the talent he’s working with it should be doable. The question is should he be asked to step down either way?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

previous post

For the first time in the history of the Champions League one country has 4 sides among the remaining 8. Liverpool became the 4th EPL side to advance to the quarterfinals in the Champions League with a 1-0 (3-0) aggregate victory over Inter Milan. Already down 0-2 to start the evening with a mountain to climb, Milan gave up the decider early in the second half.

EPL powerhouse Liverpool and Champions League Staple Inter Milan will battle to see who will punch the last ticket to the final 8 sides of the knockout stage. However Inter face an almost impossible task already being down 0-2 on aggregate. They will have to play a perfect match otherwise 50% of the remaining sides will reside in the EPL. 5 of the other 7 are familiar faces with Fenervache and Shalke 04, being the newcomers to the “great 8”, with Real and Milan the conspicuous no shows at the final table. From here on expect the cream to rise with powerful EPL sides Man U, Arsenal, and Chelsea still in the mix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Champions League Update

Arsenal succeeded in becoming the first team to beat Milan on their home turf with a 2-0 victory (2-0 on agg.) Fabergas converted from 26 yards away and when it was all over but the shouting Adebyor got a great feed from Walcott to seal the deal. So the question now, “is it finally time for AC to make some changes as age catches up with them?
After a series of Bundesliga losses, Schalke clinched a 4-1 win on penalties against Porto thanks to a star performance from its young goalie Manuel Neuer. He hopes the win will boost the team's flagging morale. The win was sealed with three successful shots in the penalty shoot-out from Schalke after a 1-1 aggregate deadlock and a round of extra time.

The most successful team in Champions league history Real Madrid was shown the exit by Roma in a stunner 2-1 as a ruthless AS Roma got the win over 10-man Real Madrid at the Bernabeu to clinch their place in the Champions League quarter-finals 4-2 on aggregate. Real took the initiative for most of the game, but suffered a major setback when Portugal centre-back Pepe was sent off for picking up a second booking 19 minutes from time.

Schalke beat 10-man Porto 4-1 on penalties to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time after drawing 1-1 on aggregate on Wednesday. An 86th minute Lisandro Lopez strike cancelled out Kevin Kuranyi's first-leg goal while the Germans had young goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to thank for knocking out the former champions.

Chelsea cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a comprehensive 3-0 (4-0 agg) victory over Olympiacos at Stamford Bridge.

Who is poised to make it to the semi finals? Talk about it here or in the World Soccer chatroom.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Champions League Reaches the Knockout Phase

Late goals from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt helped Liverpool see off 10-man Internazionale at Anfield, while Chelsea drew with Olympiakos in Greece. Chelsea will be happy enough with a 0-0 scoreline from the first leg of their last-16 meeting with Olympiakos in Piraeus. Roma came from behind to claim a 2-1 win over Real Madrid and give themselves a slender advantage to take to Spain for the second leg. Real dominated possession for long periods and took a deserved lead through an opportunist strike from Raul in the eighth minute. Schalke and Porto's UEFA Champions League tie remains on a knife-edge after the German side beat the Portuguese champions by a narrow 1-0 margin. Germany's only representatives left in the competition went in front in the fourth minute of the first-leg of the last 16 stage thanks to Kevin Kuranyi's goal.
Following day matches include:

Arsenal vs. Milan Fenerbahce vs. Sevilla
Celtic vs. Barcelona Lyon vs. Man Utd

Thursday, January 17, 2008

FA Cup match-ups for the 4th round

Game of the Day**********************************
What: FA Cup Third Round Replay
Who: Newcastle Utd (11th EPL, 26/66 pts) v Stoke (4th Championship, 44/81 pts)
When: Wednesday 16 January, Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Where: St James' Park, Newcastle
Winners away to Arsenal in Fourth Round. Result Newcastle 4 - 1

Other Results:
Man City 1-0 West Ham
Havant and W 4-2 Swansea City
Hereford United 1-0 Tranmere Rovers
4th round up coming where things REALLY get interesting.
Barclays Premier League this weekend:
15:00 Birmingham vs Chelsea
15:00 Blackburn vs Middlesbrough
15:00 Fulham vs Arsenal
15:00 Portsmouth vs Derby
15:00 Reading vs Man Utd
15:00 Tottenham vs Sunderland
17:15 Newcastle vs Bolton

Friday, January 4, 2008

FA Cup Third-Round Match-ups

Aston Villa v. Manchester United
Barnsley v. Blackpool
Blackburn v. Coventry
Bolton v. Sheffield United
Brighton v. Mansfield
Bristol City v. Middlesbrough
Burnley v. Arsenal
Charlton v. West Brom
Chasetown v. Cardiff
Chelsea v. QPR
Colchester v. Peterborough
Derby v. Sheffield Wednesday
Everton v. Oldham
Fulham v. Bristol Rovers
Huddersfield v. Brimingham
Ipswich v. Portsmouth
The big-spending Championship outfit will be looking to make their mark against the Stamford Bridge side, who are no strangers to spending big in the transfer market.
Chasetown, the lowest ranked team to reach the third round, will be out to savour the biggest day in the history of the British Gas Business Division One Midlands outfit as they play host to Cardiff City.
There is an all-Premier League showdown at Villa Park as Manchester United are the visitors, the fourth time in seven seasons the two clubs have met in the competition.
Premier League strugglers Fulham and Derby will be hoping the cup can provide some cheer as they come up against Bristol Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday, respectively. Burnley will be dreaming of an upset as they welcome table-topping Arsenal to Turf Moor, while Middlesbrough face a tricky trip to Championship side Bristol City.
Blackburn host Coventry, Bolton welcome Sheffield United to The Reebok Stadium and Everton are at home to Oldham. Birmingham travel to Huddersfield and Portsmouth face Ipswich at Portman Road in other ties involving Premier League clubs.