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Monday, February 27, 2012

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Chelsea's side of the story

The expressions tell you that the scoreline isn't in their favour

As the whistle sounded at the end of 90 + 4 minutes AVB must have been wondering as to how easy it was winning the Europa League and the Portuguese league with Porto 9 months ago. 6 draws and 2 losses in the last 11 premier league games, a replay against Championship side Birmingham in the FA cup, losing your captain for a couple of months, talks of Benitez being linked to Chelsea and AVB to Inter and now a 3-1 1st leg defeat to Napoli added the icing on a cake, a cake of problems for the Portuguese 'magician' whose side would have had to conceede the Champions league for yet another year if not for Mata's early goal at the San Paolo, a goal which could still count for nothing if Chelsea do not fasten their belts and get on the pitch with a winning attitude when Napoli travel to London.

AVB not starting with Lampard or Essien in what is considered one of the most hostile atmospheres in Europe seemed more criminal at the end of the game than at the beginning. Indeed , the cacophonous Napoli fans, swirling wind and driving rain gave the whole occasion an almost apocalyptic feel.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A change in fortunes for Les Bleus? EURO 2012 Preview : France

Will Blanc get to be part of another European triumph, only this time as a manager?

The French national team has gone through a really rough patch over the last six years. After their sensational run in the 2006 World Cup, marred by Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt in the final, they have struggled to put together a string of decent performances in any major tournament. Even qualifying for the 2010 World Cup proved to be a huge hassle, as they relied on a controversial Thierry Henry goal to get them there.

Their debacle at the 2010 World Cup led to the resignation of then manager, Raymond Domenech. The French FA decided to hire former Bordeaux manager, Laurent Blanc, with qualification for the European Championships as their primary target. Blanc took over during a tumultuous period in the nation's footballing history. He started with a completely clean slate by suspending all the members of the 2010 World Cup squad. Following this incident, which led to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Norway, Blanc's side have only been on the rise and have to be considered a dangerous force at this edition of the European Championships.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Napoli's side of the story

In Naples, you can find a pizza named after Edinson Cavani. But if you happened to go there after their 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Champions League, you will be able to find many more of the smallest things possible with Napoli colors on it, particularly Cavani, such as a cookie tin (in the pic above). That's what Napoli, the club, means to the people of Naples. Therefore it was hardly a surprise for Chelsea to find such an intimidating atmosphere in the San Paolo stadium on Tuesday night. A sold out (well, almost) crowd displaying banners, extraordinary choreography and crackers were a sight to behold, something which makes the Champions League so special.

It isn't difficult to predict Napoli's starting eleven for the big games, so was on Tuesday. Walter Mazzarri's 3-4-1-2 has come under a lot of criticism recently in Italy, not because it wasn't successful but for the fact that Napoli struggled to beat smaller teams in the league, or in other words, lack of a plan B. In fact, everybody in Italy seems to have noticed the success Napoli and Udinese had with the three men defence last season that at one point SerieA had eleven of the twenty teams lining up with a back three in a week.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


EUROS HISTORY -   Best Result: Semi Finals ‘92
                                    Worst Result: Group Stages ’00, ‘08

      11 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v Ukraine
      15 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v England
      19 June 2012               Olympic Stadium, Kiev        v France

MANAGER - Erik Hamren

CAPTAIN - Zlatan Ibrahimovich


You need to go back to the class of 2004 for the last worthwhile result that Sweden had in a major championship. Reaching the quarter finals in Portugal with a side that boasted the likes of Freddie Ljunberg and Henrik Larsson in their pomp and an up and coming young fiery striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovich. If we decide to go further deep into the history books then the class of 1992 that reached the semi finals when Sweden made their first appearance in the EURO championships on home soil comes to mind. They enhanced their international credibility further by clinching the 3rd place in the FIFA World Cup ‘94 in USA.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Michal Bílek And A Czech Trimuph? A Preview Of the Czech Republic Ahead Of EURO 2012

Will we see the Czech celebrating their first ever EURO triumph this June?

Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Czechoslovakia saw its regime transform from Stalinism to capitalism. A couple of years later, the country split into two, namely the Czech republic and Slovakia, after the two ethnic groups most peacefully decided that this break up would be best for them. After gaining independence, the Czech Republic has never managed to replicate some of the feats that the nation pulled of, prior to their independence years.

The European Championships have been the Czech Republic's strong point as they were runners-up in 1996 and semi-finalists in 2004. The Czech have been blessed by being drawn into the easiest group of the tournament. Placed alongside co-hosts Poland, EURO 2004 winners Greece and 2008 semifinalists Russia, the Czech will be fairly confident of booking a place in the knockout stages. Poland is by far the weakest team in the group and the Czech will know just how important it is to be clinical against them. Russia and Greece are the wily old horses and will prove to be much stiffer competition.

Friday, February 3, 2012


John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy for the second time in his career.  In a short meeting at the FA headquarters Terry was informed of the decision that he was being stripped from the topmost honor for an English footballer.

Never one to stay in the background, Terry has always courted controversies that have ranged in the extremes. Right from when his father was caught in the possession of drugs to the extra marital affair of sleeping with his mate’s girlfriend, controversy have accompanied Terry in one way or another.