It has been an eventful week with lots of talking points for sports buffs like me. After drawing their initial game last week, Portugal finally booked their place at the Euro 2012 finals on tuesday night, displacing Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-2. The team could afford to relax and smile afterwards. Czech Republic, Northern Republic of Ireland and Croatia also qualified. So, the sixteen teams for the Euro 2012 are complete. More on that later.
In other developments, Tiger woods playing in his first major tournament since september after series of injury bouts, suffered the biggest defeat of his career on wednesday. What made it worse was the fact that his opponent has employed the services of his former caddy whom he fired earlier this year.
Now, on to today’s discourse. Last weekend was a bit bearish as it was National teams filing out against themselves and doing battles for qualification or friendly purposes. The biggest game then, England versus Spain at the Wimbledon stadium in London ending in an anti-climax as the hosts edged out the visitors through a Frank Lampard goal.
After the lull of the international break, teams have gathered up as players have gone back to training and sweating with their respective clubs across Europe and the world. Games were played last night in france, but since I don’t have any personal interest in any of the clubs there, I’ll skip to the leagues I watch.
First, EPL. With both teams currently unbeaten this season, Manchester City welcome Newcastle United to the Etihad stadium in a game I’m expecting Newcastle’s unbeaten run to end. A draw would be anti-climatic and the hosts losing could be potentially disastrous. So fingers crossed for the kick-off of that match.
Manchester United play away to Swansea. Same as Arsenal going to Norwich to play for three points. With the resurgence of the gooners in the last two months, coupled with Van persie’s Scoring form, one would be forgiven for handing this game to Arsenal. However the gooners have a penchant for self destructing at importune times, this could be one of them, that game starts shortly.
In Spain, Barcelona welcome Real Zaragoza to the Camp Nou as they attempt to go level on points temporarily with Madrid who play immediately after them away at the Mestalla in Valencia. Both Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho’s charges will be all out for victory. Their leading men Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo hoping to continue their impressive goalscoring statistics.
In Italy, underachieving Inter welcome Cagliari. They will be hoping to finally get their season on the road by winning this game and moving out of the relegation zone. Fiorentina play Host to AC Milan who will be aiming to go top and lead the standings for the first time this season. With Juventus not playing two weeks ago, they have been relegated to fourth position on the table. High flyers Napoli play Lazio who are currently sitting in first position later in the day. All three matches today in Italy potentially big, for they will aid in the final standings of the log. And also establish bragging rights.
So as teams file out, and old rivalries are renewed across Europe, I’ll be rooting for my teams and hoping they win. Let the games begin…
Special Mention: having being delivered of her first child and daughter in the early hours of wednesday, I wanna say a very big congratulations to Aishwara Rai-Bachan wife of Abishek Bachan. And to the Bachan clan. Hoping to enjoy the performances of the newly born on the big screen if her parents do allow her to follow in their footsteps. Once again congratulations.
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