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Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
I don’t know. Maybe Barca fans are just used to this sort of thing, week in week out. On this sort of showing, though, there surely can be no stopping them in the final of the World Club Cup on Sunday and, as I said below, Inter must be absolutely cacking themselves at the thought if having to line up against this lot in just three days time. Not, of course, that you’d have had the slightest inkling of any of this if you’d just got to the stadium in time for Frank Rijkaard’s post-match press conference. Now, here’s a man that talks a lot, and says very little. Here’s a couple of sample comments for you: “Our changing room is filled with positive energy and everyone is working towards the same goal”. “We have a disadvantage in the final through Inter having been out here longer than us”. “We are not afraid of anyone, but Inter come from the country where football was born”. You’d think that his team had just scrambled a goalless draw on a wet Sunday night in La Coruna rather than that his team had just utterly outplayed the opposition in the semi-finals of the World Club Championship. Truly, he is a master of understatement.
Let’s take a look at those three quotes again. Maybe something was lost in the translation, but all of them, I think, deserve closer inspection. “Our changing room is filled with positive energy and everyone is working towards the same goal”. Well, one would hope so. If you can’t be positive after a 4-0 win in a cup semi-final, when can you be? The same goes for “working towards the same goal”. I’m struggling to see what alternative there could be, here, unless Deco and Ronaldinho are in direct competition to see who can pull off the most outrageous piece of skill ever seen on a football pitch. “We are not afraid of anyone, but Inter come from the country where football was born”. Well, for one thing, I would take issue with Brazil being the country of football’s birth, obviously (point taken, Frankie, but the game was well into its adolescence before the Brazilians got completely involved), but also… “not afraid”? Really? A wealth of talent that borders on the obscene, and they’re not afraid of anyone? I’d sack their psychologist if they were. Finally: “We have a disadvantage in the final through Inter having been out here longer than us”. Ah, the old favourite. Making out that the other team have an enormous advantage because they’ve been here for forty-eight hours longer than you. An almost Ronaldinho-esque body swerve there from Frank. If they lose on Sunday… it’s all the fault of jet lag! We were tired! Well, I’m not buying that. Not that I think that such an excuse will be necessary. Inter looked out of sorts last night, and I’d be unsurprised if Barca did the sort of damage to them that they did to Club America this evening.
Of course, football being football, this could all come back to bite me on the backside on Sunday night. Barca’s players could all fall asleep on the pitch here through jet lag, allowing Inter a chance to at least take the match to extra-time. On the basis of what I’ve seen so far, though, the others should make the most of the free time between now and the final, because Sunday night seems likely to be the Ronaldinho and Deco Show.
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
I guess you could hope that Barca get spanked like liverpool did last year, by being the much better team but letting in a piddling single goal,though one does get the feeling that compared with Liverpool, Barca have rather more left in the reserves