By Sean Connolly
Depending on the health of David Villa, Spain will have the three most effective strikers in the game this Sunday in the UEFA Euro Final against Germany. They were also good enough to get past the bad luck of the yellow jerseys.
Germany’s defense has squandered silly goals throughout these Euro Finals, and behind that defense is, how should I put this, inept keeper in Jens Lehmann. He made two crucial errors that resulted in goals in the game against Turkey, so don’t be surprised if Fernando Torres, David Villa, and Cesc Fabregas make him look just as awful.
If you’re a Germany fan, you have to admit that the Germans haven’t been convincing. If not for the foot of Lucas Podolski, Germany wouldn’t have even made it out of the group stage. Other than his header against Turkey yesterday (which thanks to a lightning strike that ruined the video feed for ESPN, I did not get to see live on television), Miroslav Klose has yet to be as effective as he was in the 2006 World Cup. Michael Ballack has looked sluggish at times and Podolski seems unable to play 100% for 90 minutes. Germany is limping into this final and they will need much more to win over Spain who comes into the final in stride.
For the second time in the tournament today Spain picked apart Gus Hiddink’s Russia. They looked unstoppable on offense, and their one minor weakness in their defense played brilliantly. Puyol and company shut down Russia giving them little to no chance of putting the ball passed Iker Casillas. The most impressive part of Spain’s dismantle of Russia, was on their third and final goal. After a turnover by Russia, Spain played keep away from Russia’s Andrei Arshavin (who, with his tremendous performance throughout these Euro Finals, may find himself in the English Premiership, more specifically Chelsea, with a lot of money), forming a perfect triangle and passing around him. In what looked like a set drill in a practice session in which you have to pass the ball a certain amount of times before you moved forward, the ball was dumped forward to a wide open Cesc Fabregas who had room to roam. He broke away down the pitch with David Silva trailing down the middle and Fabregas placed it perfectly on Silva’s foot and he buried the ball past Igor Akinfeev and ended any chances of Russia coming back.
Fabregas’ performance off the bench was by far the most impressive in Euro this year. He came on for the leading scorer in these Euro Finals and put on a scintillating performance. As soon as he graced the field he brought enthusiasm, excitement, and ultimately goals to the Spanish side. Fabregas ended up with two remarkable assists. With Torres creating chances but not finishing them, expect Fabregas to start in the final against Germany.
Throughout this tournament Spain has been the most convincing team. Of the four powerhouse teams, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Spain has been the only team play to their potential. They come into this game at their best with Cesc Fabregas at the start of becoming the most successful Spanish player in the past 25 years. Sunday’s match will have little competition, my prediction…3-1 Spain. Their first Euro title since 1964.
2006 World Cup, Andrei Arshavin, Andrei Arshavin Chelsea Trade Rumors, Arsenal, Ballack, Bastian Scweinsteiger, Cesc Fabregas, Cesc Fabregas Spain, Chelsea, Chelsea Trade Rumors, Chelsea Trade Rumours, David Villa, David Villa Euro 2008, David Villa Injury Euro 2008, David Villa Spain, English Premier League, English Premiership, EPL Trade Rumors, ESPN coverage Euro 2008, ESPN Soccer, Euro 2008, Euro 2008 Groups, Europe, European Soccer, Fernando Torres, Fernando Torres Euro Final, football, Germany Euro 2008, Germany Soccer, Italy, Italy Soccer, Jens Lehmann, Jens Lehmann Gives Up Goal, Jens Lehmann save, Miroslav Klose, Podolski, Podolski goal Croatia Euro 2008, Portugal, Portugal Euro 2008, Portugal Soccer, Premiership Trade Rumors, Russia, Russia Soccer, Sean Connolly, Soccer, Soccer Trade Rumors, Spain Euro 2008, Spain Strikers, Spain Vs. Germany, SportsGist, the beautiful game, Trade Rumors, Turkey, Turkey Soccer, UEFA Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, UEFA Euro 2008 Finals Spain Vs. Germany, UEFA Euro 2008 Predictions, UEFA Euro Final, Uncategorized, Yellow Jersey Spain, Yellow Jersey Spain Bad Luck
By Sean Connolly
So far, so good. This Euro had a slow start but now is beginning to pick up as it should. We are now at the knockout stage with Russia upsetting Sweden in the final decisive game to get to the knockout round. Already I am salivating at most of the match ups…mainly Portugal against Germany.
Portugal vs. Germany- Coming into this game the better side is obviously Portugal. They easily won group A and showed their firepower throughout. Germany on the other hand limp into the knockout stage beat up and bruised. They will be without their coach, Joakim Low, after UEFA issued a one game ban for arguing in the game against Austria. Their top scorer in Lucas Podolski is tired and beat up and his fitness is in question. But don’t ever count out the Germans. They come in playing their best soccer after beating Austria, and Ballack’s masterful free kick might be just what the German captain needed. As for Portugal they have steadily improved throughout this tournament and in the last game against Switzerland they were able to rest a majority of their starters. I just think that Portugal is fitter and playing much better soccer at the moment. Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t seemed phased by the trade rumors going on between Manchester United and Real Madrid and the same goes for Deco and his possible exit out of Barcelona. Portugal right now is the better side and I see a 2-1 win for Scolari and his Portuguese.
Croatia vs. Turkey- After one of the best comebacks in Euro history, Turkey comes into the knockout round with an heir of invincibility and a great deal of confidence. Turkey is the only team to come back from a deficit in the tournament, achieving that feat in two separate games. Their upset comeback over Petr Cech’s Czech Republic solidified that Turkey is no fluke and have the team that could make it deep into this tournament. As for Croatia, well they have simply played great in their last two games. In their first game, a 1-0 win over hosts Austria, it looked as if Croatia may be in trouble against Germany. They easily handled the Germans and went on to win group B with an outstanding 9 points. This should be a magnificent game with another late Turkey comeback. I expect a Croatian goal though in extra time to give Croatia a 2-1 victory over Turkey.
Netherlands vs. Russia- After easily beating a heavily favored Sweden side, Gus Hiddink has proved that the magic he has performed in the past was indeed no fluke. It looks as if this young Russian squad could be another one of Hiddik’s teams that surprise everyone. Hiddink did it with his counterpart in Netherlands several years ago and they match up in the knock out round. Netherlands came out of the “Group of Death” which included France, Italy, and Romania, without even breaking a sweat and quickly proved that they are the strongest, deepest team in the tournament. I fear though that Russian’s young side will be no match for the well rounded Dutch. 3-1 Netherlands in another easy game for the Dutchmen.
Spain vs. Italy- The Italians have been a bit of a mystery in this tournament. They were blown out by Netherlands in the first game, nearly lost to the Romanians if not for Buffon’s amazing penalty save on Romania’s Mutu, and they beat up on the French. So, what will come of the Italian side in the knockout round? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that Spain has the firepower to rip apart any defense at any time during the game. Italy’s great defense has been anything but in this tournament and I think Fernando Torres and David Villa will easily put a few past Buffon. I’m only going against Italy because they have played so erratically. Spain have played well in all their games and I predict a 2-1 win for the Spanish.
2008 Champions League Final, Ballack, Ballack Bad Game against Croatia, Bastian Scweinsteiger, Chelsea Trade Rumors, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo Trade Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo Trade Rumors, Croatia, Croatia Soccer, Croatia victory Germany Euro 2008, Czech Republic, Czech Republic Soccer, English Premier League, English Premiership, EPL Trade Rumors, Euro 2008, Euro 2008 Groups, Europe, European Soccer, football, France, France Soccer, Germany Croatia Soccer, Germany Soccer, Italy, Italy Soccer, Moscow, Petr Cech, Petr Cech Goalie, Podolski, Podolski goal Croatia Euro 2008, Poland, Poland Soccer, Portugal, Portugal Soccer, Premiership Trade Rumors, Russia, Russia Soccer, Sean Connolly, Soccer, Soccer America, Soccer Trade Rumors, SportsGist, Sweden Soccer, Switzerland, Switzerland Soccer, the beautiful game, Trade Rumors, Turkey, Turkey Soccer, TV advertising & sports, UEFA Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, UEFA Euro 2008 Predictions, Uncategorized, world soccer
By Sean Connolly
It looks as if Manchester City, not AC Milan as first thought, will end up with Ronaldinho. Manchester City and Ronaldinho have been talking and seem to be the front runner to acquire the star from Barcelona FC. AC Milan looked to be the sure favorites to obtain Ronaldinho but have since stepped back. AC Milan now seem to have their eyes on a different star, Didier Drogba.
Chelsea has now allowed AC Milan to speak with Drogba about a possible transfer to Italy. A trade of Drogba from Chelsea to AC Milan seems very promising. AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani hints that a transfer of Drogba is imminent.
Chelsea have authorised us to open negotiations with Drogba
AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani on Didier Drogba Trade
Also rumored in the deal would be the return of Andriy Shevchenko to AC Milan but AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani says Chelsea are not willing to give up on Schevchenko just yet.
Unfortunately, the response we feared came (for Shevchenko). Chelsea consider Andriy unsellable. This epilogue makes us very sad.
AC Milan Vice President Adriano Galliani on Andriy Shevchenko Trade
AC Milan aren’t stopping at Drogba either. After Barcelona striker, Samuel Eto’o's desire to leave Barcelona FC, AC Milan have begun talks with the striker from Cameroon. The only thing preventing a trade of Eto’o from Barcelona to AC Milan would be his concern of playing in the UEFA Cup next season. AC Milan failed to qualify for Champion’s League and is yearning to win the cup somewhere. Galliani insisted to Eto’o that Milan will be competitive despite not being in Champion’s League.
Barcelona may want to hang on to Eto’o as it seems that Ronaldinho will be traded soon to Manchester City. Barcelona have given permission to speak with Ronaldinho and Manchester City will try their hardest to bring the Brazilian star to the English Premier League.
It’s a tenuous stage and I don’t want to give too much away, but Barcelona gave us clearance to talk to him.We had some people in Brazil last weekend, who we’ve been talking to but we have a long, long list of things we need to get done because of the type of player he is – the world’s greatest player. He wants to show the world he is the greatest player. At the moment, though, we’re just ticking off the boxes. I think the Manchester City fans, who are the most important part of this, would like to see Ronaldinho kicking off next season here.He has intimated he is interested, otherwise we wouldn’t be at the stage we are now. Ronaldinho has an interest in coming to City.
Manchester City Executive Chairman Garry Cook on Ronaldinho
Along with Ronaldinho Manchester City is going after another Brazilian. CSKA Moscow striker, Jo, is just days away from signing with Manchester City and will certainly excite fans in Manchester.
2008 Champions League Final, AC Milan Trade Rumors, Champion's League, Cristiano Ronaldo Trade Rumors, Didier Drogba, Didier Drogba Red Card Champions League Final, Didier Drogba Trade, Drogba, Drogba Trade, Drogba Trade Rumors, Drogba Trade to AC Milan, Drogba Transfer, Drogba Transfer Rumors, England, English Premier League, English Premiership, EPL Trade Rumors, Euro 2008, Europe, Italy, Jo Trade, Jo Trade to Manchester City, Manchester City Trade Rumors, Premiership Trade Rumors, Ronaldinho Trade, Ronaldinho trade to AC Milan, Ronaldinho Trade To Manchester City, Samuel Eto'l trade to AC Milan, Shevchenko Trade Rumors, Soccer America, Soccer Trade Rumors, SportsGist, Trade Rumors, UEFA Cup, World Cup, world soccer