Archive for January, 2008

Real Madrid

January 27, 2008

Real Madrid of Spain are back in business. Madrid won their first title in 4 years last season. Four years was an enormous drought for such a rich club like Madrid. With a starting line up of start studded players like Sneijder, Robinho, or even Casillas, the historically enriched club of the Spanish capital are sure to make noise this year. Just barely halfway done with the season, Madrid are in the round of 16 of the Champions League and are currently first place in La Liga. Also, to add to their yearly success, they even managed to beat title contenders and long time rivals Barcelona 1-0 at the Camp Nou, Barcelona’s home ground. Real Madrid’s most recent game was a 3-2 win vs 3rd place Villareal.   

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Dream Car

January 27, 2008

If I was rich, I would get a new car. However, with so many various choices, which car would I purchase? My first thought would have to be a Mercedes or BMW. However, BMW’s are highly over rated, in my opinion, while a lot of people now drive Mercedes, taking their luxury away. So how about a Bentley or Rolls-Royce? How about no. Only old people drive those and for the price, I could buy a new house. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are nice, but they’re also too expensive. The ideal piece of machinery would be a Porsche. German made, they’re strong and fast, two characteristics that everyone enjoys. They’re also good looking cars with stunning interiors. A Porsche is without a doubt my dream car. 

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AC Milan vs Liverpool

January 24, 2008

The Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in the world. Every year, two of footballs best clubs meet in the final for a shot at stardom. The 2005 final, was one to remember. The stage was set for an Anglo-Italian clash. AC Milan vs Liverpool. The Italians, Milan, were confident as they looked for their record 7th title. England’s Liverpool on the other hand, looked for a 5th final triumph. The match began and Milan quickly pushed forward gaining a free kick within seconds. From the free kick, Andrea Pirlo founds captain Paolo Maldini who volleys a bouncing ball past streched out goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek. 1 -0 with 54 seconds of play. During the 1st half, AC Milan heavily dominated the English. 39 minutes in, they doubled their lead thanks to Argentine Hernan Crespo. A minute before the end of the first half, Milan tripled their lead, once again thanks to Crespo. 3-0 at half time, an impossible comeback for Liverpool. The second half started on the same rhythm as Milan’s Shevchenko nearly scored a fourth goal. However, 54 minutes in, John Arne Riise crossed the ball for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who, with a stunning header, found the top left corner of Dida’ s goal. Two minutes after that, with a low shot to the bottom corner of the net, Vladimir Smicer cut Milan’s lead to only 1 goal. In the space of 4 minutes, the score had changed from 3-0 to 3-2. Four minutes after that, Gerrard burst into the box but was intentionally taken down by Milan’s Gattuso. Spaniard Xabi Alonso stepped up. His first shot was saved by Nelson Dida, however, the Brazilian keeper could do nothing on the rebound. Incredibly, in the 60th minute of the match, Milan and Liverpool were on equal terms. The game went into over time and looked to go into a penalty shootout as well. At the 119th minute, a minute before the end of the game, Ukrainian striker Shevchenko headed the ball towards goal. Dudek saved the header to his right but couldn’t hold on to it. Shevchenko volleyed the rebound exactly 2 meters away from goal. Dudek, still on the ground, managed to quickly lift his hands to his right and miraculously parried the ball over the crossbar. The final would be decided by penalties. The first two spot kicks for Milan were missed while Liverpool’s first two were scored. The 3rd and 4th for Milan were scored. Liverpool missed their 3rd kick. Having scored their 4th however, Milan could no longer miss. Shevchenko, the star of the club who had given them victory in the 2003 Champions League final in a penalty shootout, stepped up. His shot was this time, however, saved by Dudek. Liverpool, after having been led 3-0 at halftime, were European Champions. liverpoolr_468x327.jpg 

France Euro 2000 Campaign

January 23, 2008

Euro 2000. It all started great with France easing through qualification with a 6 wins, 3 ties, and 1 defeat record. France then headed to Belgium and the Netherlands, the countries organizing this tournament, to face Denmark, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands themselves, in what was seen as a group of death. In the first match, however, France eased past Denmark 3-0. The second game verses the Czechs proved more difficult but France still managed a 2-1 win. Already qualified for the quarter finals, France lined up their reserve team which proved no match for the Netherlands in a 3-2 defeat by the home side. In the quarter finals France met a tough opponent, Spain. In the end, thanks to a wonderful 30 yard free kick by Zinedine Zidane, France prevailed to the semis with a 2-1 win. Portugal was the next team to beat if France were to advance to the final. The Portuguese proved tremendously rigorous as they took the lead in the 19th minute through a splendid Nuno Gomes half volley. However, the French would not back down and they tied the game in the second half thanks to striker Thierry Henry. The match was sent into added time when neither team could break the deadlock. As the clock was ticking, a Portuguese defender hit the ball with his hand inside the penalty box and the spot kick was awarded. On 117 minutes, Zidane sent the French to their first Euro final since 1982, where they had defeated Spain 2-0. The final was set; France vs Italy. The match saw an epic display by the Italians, who surpassed the French in many aspects of the game. With a 55th minute goal, Italy took the lead. They continued to press forward but could not find a second. 4 minutes of additional time was given and the game was still 1-0 in favor of the Italians. However, subsitute Sylvain Wiltord found the back of the net as the ball slid under goalie Franseco Toldo in literally the last second of the game. The match was send to golden goal which meant that the team that scored first would win. The story had now been completely rewritten. Since the Italians had given their best during 90 minutes, the extra 30 minutes were too much and they had absolutely no response to the French. On 103 minutes, subsitute Robert Pires dribbled 4 Italian players on the left flank and send in a bouncing pass towards fellow subsitute David Trezeguet. With his left foot, the born Argentine, volleyed the ball into the top left corner of net, sending an entire nation into ecstacy along the way.          


Trezeguet 

2006 World Cup

January 23, 2008

What a  bad World Cup. The referees were horrible as they favored the strong teams. For example, lets look back at Italy vs Australia (1-0). The game is pretty tight and equal till Marco Materrazi of Italy is issued a red card by the referee. A good, honest and fair decision which nevertheless helped Australia gain the upper hand in the match. However, 5 minutes into additional time, as the game seemed destined for over time, Italy’s Gianluca Zambrotta persecutes into the penalty box and “gets tripped” by an Australian defender. Penalty. To the disbelieve of many, Francesco Totti’s spot kick sends the Italians into the quarter finals. Another example of bad referring was Brazil vs Ghana (3-0). Two of three Brazilian goals were evident offsides ignored by the assistant referees. However, the best was left for last. The grande finale, Italy vs France (1-1 ; 5-3 pks). Early on, Florent Malouda of France is tripped up by Marco Materazzi. France takes the 1-0 lead thanks to a masterpiece, one of a kind, justified, penalty by french playmaker and football legend Zinedine Zidane. However, in the 14th minute, the Italians, with their first attack of the game, are issued a corner kick. Marco Materazzi rises up, using Patrick Viera’s shoulders to get more height, and gets in a sloppy header that manages to cross the goal line. After 90 minutes of being dominated, the Italians survive and hold on to overtime. Throughout overtime, they are pummeled by the superior French, but stay alive thanks in part to heroics displayed by their world class goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. David Trezeguet comes in, giving the Italians sickening memories of the Euro 2000 final, where he scored the tremendous golden goal winner with a top corner, left footed volley. As the clock strikes 110 minutes, Zidane assaults Materazzi, that same Materazzi who has practically done everything in this game, with a vicious headbutt to the chest. Materazzi adds a little cinema to the act and Zidane, the voted best player of the tournament, is sent off, in what proved to be the turning point of the match. As a result, the Italians prevail to a penalty shootout. Ironically, it’s David Trezeguet who gives them the win this time as his shot is saved by the crossbar. To the disappointment of many, the Italians, known for the wrong reasons in football, are world champions. A few months later, France and Italy met again in Euro 2008 qualifying. France, without retired Zidane, proved that Italy’s win was a fluke with a comfortable 3-1 win. This summer, these two football powerhouses will meet again as they are in the same Euro 2008 group. They’ll be fighting for 1 of 2 knockout round qualifying spots alongside Romania and the Netherlands.  
Zidane