Any football on today?
Oh my god, yes. It’s the start of the Europa League, which means a metric ton of fixtures which will likely produce a hearty crop of GIFs, but maybe not any particularly memorable ninety minute matches. I would avoid unless you’re a) nuts, b) a club partisan, c) paid to watch, d) need to feel that you’re a well-rounded, intelligent football fan. Anyway, here they are.
What’s the conventionally agreed upon big story today?
It’s a tie, sort of. There is the story of the fallout of Chelsea’s 1-2 loss to FC Basel in the Champions League group stage last night at Stamford Bridge, the first in a bazillion matches. What’s funny is that it was the least attractive fixture last night, and didn’t even make terrestial radio in the UK. But Basel won, so now it basically means Chelsea is in crisis and Mourinho will be sacked in the morning. It also spurred this Telegraph writer to put some words to paper over Willian’s performance–one that lasted less than sixty minutes–that he may later regret. The writer that is, not Willian.
The other big deal is UEFA’s member nations backing FIFA’s push to move the Qatar World Cup to Winter 2022. This comes with a few caveats:
Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, said however the 54 UEFA associations meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, want FIFA to consult with the game’s major stakeholders before making any decision about exactly when the tournament is staged.
FIFA’s executive committee is now expected to agree in principle to move the World Cup to the winter at its meeting in Zurich on October 3/4.
Italics mine. This could be a major problem, particularly as it appears that UEFA may push for a World Cup in January/February 2022 rather than November/December, which would conflict with a host of sporting events for TV rights holders, not least the NFL playoffs as the New York Times writer Andrew Das noted today.
I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that those entities which paid a handsome fee for World Cup rights in 2022 might have a hefty legal case as the timing of the event has changed significantly. Unless they waived it as a part of a contract or something. In which case, HAW HAW!
Any other interesting news?
To be honest, not really. Messi is really good obviously, scored a hat-trick against Ajax, will soon overtake Raul in the Champions League goal record category.
Andre Villas-Boas supports the “Yid” chants at Spurs, which is unfortunate but will no doubt ingratiate him with the hardcore Spurs fan base which he’ll need should things go a little awry this season. Is that cynical of me? Been doing this too long.
And the archbishop of Naples believes the city’s patron saint, San Gennaro, was instrumental in Napoli’s 2-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund. So then the saint not only prevented the linesman from letting Subotic back on, but also made Weidenfeller go temporarily insane. Sounds legit…
Oh and Lewis Holtby was savagely beaten by his Tottenham team-mates and manager Andre Villas-Boas too. On his birthday, no less.
Alright, give me the good stuff
Where to begin? Well, perhaps you should get some context. Here are the Champions League results from yesterday.
Okay, this is how you announce a goal. Nine times over:
And this is why Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp was sent to the stands in the same game:
Any good reads?
For sure. We’ve got Marina Hyde and her particularly (and typically) acidic take on things, this time on Mark Halsey’s book and his poor judgement in general. Like Barney Ronay, Hyde is a great writer, but when I read her stuff I often think of the nihilists: “We believe in nothing Lebowski.”
If you want a great Champions League round up of the type that makes you feel in the know, you can’t do much better than Ben Lyttleton’s Five Things this Champions League week. Great stuff.
Finally, Rafa Honigstein looks over the mixed bag performances from German clubs in the Big Cup. A sampler: “Bayer are best when they sit deep, soak up the pressure and play quick counter-attacking football. On Tuesday night at Old Trafford, they weren’t able to do any of that. While Sami Hyypia’s men had some good spells, the result flattered them in the end – if it hadn’t been for some wayward finishing from Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie (who combined as well as they have done since the Dutchman’s arrival) the game would have ended 6-1.”