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The boys of London 2012

26 Jul

Photo: RFEF

Although the opening ceremonies aren’t until tomorrow, men’s Olympic football kicked off today, with 16 teams in the tournament, including Spain. (The Spanish women’s team didn’t make it to the Olympics, but I am proud to be supporting the Canadian women’s team.) If you have never paid much attention to Olympic football before, you may be surprised to learn that players must be 23 or younger, with three exceptions per team, which allows for a more even playing field – and lots of fresh faces.

In a surprise upset, Spain lost their first match 0-1 to Japan, so let’s wish the boys lots of luck against Honduras and Morocco.

Hot Euro player of the day: Fernando Torres (Spain)

14 Jun

Photo: Getty via UEFA

At 28, El Niño Torres isn’t such a kid anymore. But those puppy-dog eyes! Those rosy cheeks! Those FRECKLES! Although he has (let’s face it) sucked for a while now, I have to believe in him (since David Villa is still recovering from a broken leg). And miraculously, Nando scored two goals today! Mind you, it was against Ireland. Spain won 4-0, the other goals being from Silva and Cesc.

Welcome back!

20 Aug

Welcome back to La Liga! The 2011-2012 season was supposed to kick off today, but the players are on strike. Fingers crossed everything will be back on track by next weekend.

Since I lied when I said I’d keep you all updated over the summer, let’s see what we missed.

International

UEFA U-21 Champions! Photo: Getty via Daylife.

A great many congratulations to Spain, who are 2011 European Champions three times over! Spain won the UEFA Under-21, Under-19, and Women’s Under-17 Championships.

Our beloved Rojita defeated Switzerland 2-1 in the U-21 final, with Barcelona’s Thiago Alcántara scoring the game-winning goal. Adrián Lopez earned the Golden Boot with five goals.

In the exciting U-19 final, our boys beat out Czech Republic in extra time. Valencia B’s Paco Alcacer was the hero of the match, scoring two goals in added time. Real Madrid Castilla’s adorable Álvaro Morata won the golden boot, contributing six goals in the tournament. It appears Spain’s national team will remain successful (and good-looking) for years to come.

Finally, the young ladies of the U-17 defeated France in the final, with Alba Pomares scoring the only goal of the match. Let’s hope this means better things to come for the Spain NWT, who failed to qualify for the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

Copa América

This picture is pretty adorable, but would it would be even better if Diego Forlán had taken off his shirt. Photo: Getty via Daylife

The Copa América doesn’t have much to do with La Liga or Spain, but I wanted to give a shout out to La Liga’s Diego Forlán, Diego Godín, Martín Cáceres, and Sebastián Eguren, who were on Uruguay’s winning squad. Also, congratulations to Paraguay’s Justo Villar, who was named best goalkeeper of the tournament. Villar plays for Real Valladolid in Liga Adelante.

International Friendlies

 

Reunited and it feels so good.... Photo via Iker Casillas' Facebook

Real Madrid were champions of the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge, squeaking by Manchester United in goal differentials. The friendly tournament was held in North America and featured MLS and Mexican Primera División teams as well as clubs from England, Spain and Italy. Barcelona didn’t do so well without Messi (who was recovering from Copa América), but they’ll be back to their fearsome selves in no time. Players from both Real Madrid Castilla and Barcelona B got plenty of chances to shine. Little Joselu scored a goal for Madrid, and Thiago impressed Pep Guardiola enough with his performance in the U-21 squad and in the preseason that he will be joining Barcelona’s first team this season.

While Barcelona continued touring North America, Real Madrid traveled to China. They beat two Chinese teams by six goals each, but their most interesting friendly was played against 109 children in Guangzhou. Adorable. Valencia stayed in Europe, where they had a successful preseason against the likes of AS Roma and Sporting de Lisboa.

Supercopa

Garbage. Photo: Getty via Daylife

Well, the first leg went well. With their fresh new look and strong midfield, Real Madrid dominated possession, but Barcelona struck with deadly efficiency. Mesut Özil and Xabi Alonso scored for Madrid, Messi and Villa for Barcelona.

The second leg at Camp Nou was more of the same. Goals for Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema, Iniesta and Messi. When Messi scored a second goal in the 88th minute, it looked like Barcelona would win the 2011 Supercopa with little incident. But of course we cannot have a clásico with little incident. With one minute of stoppage time left, Marcelo decided Cesc Fàbregas, who had been playing for Barça for all of ten minutes, needed to be hurt. Marcelo was given the red card he deserved and all hell broke loose. Özil and Villa were sent off for fighting with each other (although I strongly suspect Özil’s red should have gone to Higuaín), and Mourinho will likely be suspended for a few weeks. It should be the referees who are on strike, because they’re not paid enough for this. Personally, I would have sent the lot of them off and have Athletic Bilbao and Málaga (who are slated to play Real Madrid and Barcelona next, respectively) win their first fixtures of the season by default. I pray that I don’t have to see more than the minimum two Clásicos this season, and I’m afraid to think of what even those will bring. Anyway, rant over. Barcelona won fair and square, Cesc is no worse for wear, and there won’t be another Clásico until December.

And with that, I’ve had enough for the day. Transfer highlights and football-related gossip to follow.

 

Match results: El Clásico (1 of 4)

19 Apr

Hey ladies, sorry I’ve been away in the middle of this exciting time. You know, exams and that. Anyway, here’s a quick update of last weekend’s Clásico.

El Clásico

Cristiano Ronaldo is pretty sure his short tent is bigger than an entire Messi. Photo: AP Photo via Daylife.

El Clásico

The first of four faceoffs (woo, alliteration!) in three weeks between archrivals Real Madrid and Barcelona went down on Saturday, and it looks like it’s going to be a tense series. Although Barça dominated possession, Madrid didn’t allow them to keep up their usual tiki-taka style and the first half ended with no score. Shortly after the break however, things took a dramatic turn when Madrid’s Raúl Albiol (very stupidly) fouled against David Villa inside the penalty area. Albiol was sent off, leaving Madrid a man down, and Barcelona was awarded a penalty kick. Lionel Messi’s shot went in, and things were not looking great for Los Blancos. A few minutes later though, Carles Puyol (who has spent the last three months recovering from a knee injury) had to be carried off the pitch with a strained hamstring. (It looks like Puyol will be fine to play in tomorrow’s Copa del Rey final, though.) Anyhoo, skip to the last ten minutes of the game. Real Madrid was awarded a penalty kick after Dani Alves brought Marcelo down inside the box. Cristiano Ronaldo very happily took the kick and scored, ending the match in a 1-1 draw and leaving a big question mark for the next three Clásicos. The results of this match don’t really matter since Barcelona is set to win the league cup, but it does set the tone for the upcoming Copa del Rey final and Champions League semifinals.

LAST weekend’s results

20 Feb

So, I was going to post this a while ago, but it took longer than I thought.

It was one crazy jornada in La Liga last weekend, full of upsets, surprises, and matches that were exciting from beginning to end.

Saturday

Christian Fernández scores Racing's first goal against Sevilla. Photo: Reuters via Daylife

Atlético Madrid 1 (Reyes) – Valencia 2 (Joaquín 2)

José Antonio Reyes opened the match with a goal against fourth-ranked Valencia, but Joaquín tied it shortly before the half, then scored the winning goal in the 86th minute. Atlético’s Diego Godín was sent off shortly after for a (probably accidental) elbow to Joaquín’s head. Valencia moves up to third place, while Atlético drops to 10th.

Continue reading

Saturday results

4 Oct

Photo: AP Photo via Daylife

Valencia 2 (Aduriz, Vicente) – Athletic Bilbao 1 (Gabilondo). Valencia took the lead early, with Aritz Aduriz putting one past his former team. Bilbao didn’t put much of a fight in the first half, but they did look fantastic in their away kits. Although they stepped up somewhat in the second half, Vicente scored a second one for Los Che at the end of the match. Seconds later, Gabilondo managed a consolation for Los Leones at the opposite end.

Real Sociedad 1 (Forlín OG) – Espanyol 0. Poor little Juan Forlín scored an own goal when Jeffrey Sarpong’s free kick bounced off the post, then off the Espanyol defender. Rough luck, kiddo.

Zaragoza 2 (Sinama Pongolle 2) – Osasuna 2 (Obradovic OG, Diego Castro). The first goal was another own goal, this time by Zaragoza’s Ivan Obradovic. The home side was responsible for the next goal against them as well, when Jiri Jokosek earned a red card and a penalty shot. Diego Castro made the shot without any trouble, and Osasuna was up two. Florent Sinama Pongolle made up the deficit with a pair of goals shortly thereafter, but neither side could come up with a third to break the draw.

Europa League catch-up

2 Oct

Photo: Getty Images via Daylife

Atlético Madrid 1 (Simão) – Leverkusen 1 (Derdiyok). Another disappointing result for the defending champs. Forlán, what happened to you? Atlético are currently sitting at the bottom of Group B.

Villarreal 2 (Rossi, Gonzalo) – Club Brugge 1 (Donk). Villarreal’s Cani had a rough match, first getting elbowed by Ronald Vargas (who was promptly sent off), then being carried off on a stretcher after a vicious tackle from Jonathan Blondel (who only got a yellow card). He will be recovering for the next week or so.

Young Boys 2 (Degen 2) – Getafe 0. Between injuries and Míchel’s experimental lineup, it should perhaps be no surprise that Getafe failed to follow up their win against Odense. Adding to their injury list, Mario Álvarez ruptured his Achilles tendon in the match. This means he’ll be out for the rest of the season, pobrecito.

Borussia 0 – Sevilla 1 (Cigarini). Gregorio Manzano is off to a good start as Sevilla’s new manager. Luca Cigarini scored just before the break, and Borussia Dortmund couldn’t recover after Marcel Schmelzer was sent off in the second half.