Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

Top 50 Worst Things About Modern Soccer

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Football is one of the greatest things in the world but it’s not perfect. It used to be perfect. Before money and television and the Bosman ruling and Baby Bentleys and roastings and tattoos and takeovers and no standing and agents and prawn sandwiches and rotation.

English newspaper The Times takes a stab at the “50 Worst Things about Modern Football”, or soccer as they call it North America. They also add “it could have been 500″.


Serie A: T Minus 180 Minutes – Scudetto, CL, UEFA, and Relegation Battles Are On

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

As we gradually approach this year’s big Summer event (a certain Euro cup), leagues all across Europe are sequentially coming to a close. There are two matches left to play in the Serie A, and there’s still plenty to be decided in the remaining 180 minutes. The Scudetto race is still on (somewhat), the battle for 4th spot hasn’t said its last word, and the UEFA Cup and relegation zones haven’t found permanent residents just yet. Truly, it’s been a while since we saw such an open-ended contest in the Italian league.

Let’s take a look.



Less than a week ago, Inter seemed to have this thing all wrapped up. However, the loss vs. AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina and the simultaneous victory of Roma away to Sampdoria has kept the suspense alive, but for how much longer? Only one thing separates the Nerazzurri (81 pts.) from the tricolore, and that is obtaining just one more win. Indeed, a victory against Siena on Sunday would mathematically assure Inter their championship title, regardless of Roma‘s (78 pts.) result vs. Atalanta. Just to remind you: in case of a draw in the final league standings, head-to-head records will be used as tie breakers, and Inter are slightly favored over the Giallorossi in that respect.

If (by some miracle) Roma were to win Sunday and Inter were not, the Scudetto will be played out on the last matchday of the season, where the Giallorossi will be playing Catania (away) and the Nerazzurri will be travelling to Parma. Call me crazy, but somehow I don’t see that happening…

Fourth Spot

Champions League

After a season-long pursuit which had left many Rossoneri fans cringing their teeth and biting their nails, AC Milan (61 pts.) managed to overtake Fiorentina (60) in the 4th position and obtain full control of their Champions League destiny next year. The calendar it must be said, isn’t exactly favoring the Rossoneri though: Napoli (away) and Udinese (home) are the remaining matches of Carlo Ancelotti & Co., a bit more difficult than what La Viola will be faced with (Parma at home, and Torino away).

Still in mathematical contention is Udinese (57 pts.), who will be facing Cagliari (at home) on Sunday but more importantly, will play out their final card vs. AC Milan on matchday 38, i.e. the last day of the season.

“Zona” UEFA


Inter and Roma have qualified for the Coppa Italia final, thereby freeing up another spot for UEFA Cup qualification. If the league were to finish right now, the teams qualifying for Europe’s “consolation cup” (that’s how I call it) would be Fiorentina (60 pts.), Udinese (57), and Sampdoria (56), respectively 5th, 6th, and 7th. With Genoa in 8th position and 48 points, the previous three teams are at least guaranteed to be playing in Europe next season.

“Zona Salvezza”: Relegation Battle


Down at the bottom, nothing’s decided just yet either. Siena (42 pts.) managed to pull themselves to safety last week, and are now mathematically assured of avoiding the drop. The same cannot be said for the 7 teams right below them, and with several direct encounters in the last two matchdays, the battle against relegation promises to be even more exciting than the Scudetto.

Livorno (30 pts.) is currently dead-last in the standings, and will be left facing Torino (home) then Empoli (away). Speaking of Empoli (33), the club lead by Alberto Malesani isn’t exactly comfortable either: second-to-last in the Serie, they will be travelling to Calabria to face Reggina (and then as mentioned, will host Livorno on the last day).

Those with the toughest calendar however are Parma (34) and Catania (35): the Gialloblu will have to battle Fiorentina (away) and Inter (home), while the Elefanti will travel to Juventus before hosting Roma at Stadio Angelo Massimino. Brutal.

As for Reggina (36), the Calabrians have their destiny into their own hands (Empoli at home and Cagliari away), much like Torino (37), who will only need a victory vs. Livorno to be mathematically safe before matchday 38 (Fiorentina at home).

Finally, after a very long and tough season spent at last spot, Cagliari (38) are this close to their “salvezza” miracle. They will only find Udinese (away) and Reggina (home) to stand in their way.