Tag: Milan

Five Great European Cup Finals

If you open this morning’s newspapers, you’ll see that, in the opinion of the hacks, it’s already a foregone conclusion that this year’s European Cup final will be the greatest football match of all time. This may or may not come to pass, but it has some stiff opposition to overcome if it is to join as much as the greatest European Cup finals of all time. Although there were nine consecutive years during the 1970s and 1980s when no-one could manage more than a single goal in a European Cup final (and English teams were the worst for this – the halcyon days of English clubs in Europe featured five successive 1-0 wins for Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa between them), there have been many European Cup finals that have been breathtaking events. Here, in no particular order apart from chronological, are five of the best: 1960: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt – Real Madrid, of course, owned the European cup in its early years. They had already won the first four competitions by the time of the 1960 final, played at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The signs of greatness were already there. Real had thrashed Barcelona 6-2 over two legs in one semi-final, while Eintracht had beaten Rangers 12-4 in the other. A few weeks prior to this match England and Scotland had played out a...

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Milan vs Arsenal

Well, good evening, everyone. Here’s something strange. I switched on the television at 7.30, and (lo and behold) ITV1 is showing Manchester United vs Lyon – a match which is surely a nailed-on home win. Fortunately, the considerably more interesting match between Milan and Arsenal is on ITV4, so we’re not limited to watching Rooney and Tevez (or whoever) smashing in a hat-trick each against the hapless French champions, and can instead settle down and, hopefully, learn a little more about whether Arsenal are genuine contenders to be the champions of Europe or not. To be fair to them (and this may be the only time that I manage that all evening), they’ve got their work cut out against the current world and European champions. Milan may be faltering somewhat in the league at the moment (they dropped points at the weekend, allowing Fiorentina to open up a bit of a gap in fourth place, and meaning that Milan may have to win this competition in order to qualify for it next season), but they’re packed with experience and, you could argue, save themselves like this. The teams line up as follows: Milan – Kalac, Maldini, Kaladze, Nesta, Oddo, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Gattuso, Pato, Kaka, Inzaghi. Arsenal – Almunia, Clichy, Senderos, Gallas, Sagna, Diaby, Fabregas, Eboue, Hleb, Adebayor. There are also three other Champions League matches, as well as a...

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And The World Champions Are… Milan.

Perhaps surprisingly, the FIFA Club World Cup left the best until last, with two magnificent matches to mark the end of the 2007 competition. In the first match, for third place, Urawa Red Diamonds came from a goal down to lead Etoile Sportive De Sahel 2-1, before a horrific goalkeeping error pegged them back to a penalty shoot-out, which the Japanese side won on penalties. It’s probably fair to say that the experiment of having a side from the home nation in the tournament has been a success. Urawa, in spite of a late season collapse in the J-League, have been far from outplayed in any of their performances in this competition and thoroughly deserve their third place finish. Etoile have been the surprise package of the tournament. Even their win in the CAF Champions League was a major surprise, so their performance in getting to the play-off match and only losing on penalties in what was effectively an away match. After this match, the two pre-tournament favourites had a lot to live up to in the final. As it turned out, this was a step too far for Boca, and Milan thoroughly deserved their win. Inzaghi gave Italian side an early, but uncharacteristically sloppy defending allowed Palacio to level the scores up a couple of minutes later. Five minutes into the second half, Alessandro Nesta gave Milan the...

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The Steamroller Is In Town

They might not be the most famous club in the world – that dubious honour probably lies with Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United – but they are one of the most successful club sides in the history of the game. They are a football juggernaut, with a hint of controversy about them and a record both at home and in Europe and at home that is second to none. Now, for the first time, they have touched down in Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup. Can Milan become the world champions? I’ll come on to that in a minute, but first of all, a quick history lesson. The one curio about Milan that every schoolboy knows is the one about their name. Founded by an Englishman, they chose to keep the English spelling of their name, rather than changing it to the Italian spelling of “Milano”. In spite of this, the club’ name is pronounced differently in Italian as “Mee-lan”, rather than simply knocking the ‘o’ off the end of “Milano”, which would leave it pronounced the same as it is in English. Traditionally they are the working class Milan team, with Internazionale (who, as every schoolboy knows, should always just be known as “Inter” – there’s no such club as “Inter Milan” in Italian) drawing their support from the city’s more affluent areas, though this distinction...

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Let Me Add My Voice To The Moralising Multitudes

So, Dida’s antics at Celtic Park, then. You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t express too much outrage over this, because I’d feel a little hypocritical if I did. At the Spurs-Chelsea FA Cup match earlier this year, a fan got on the pitch at full-time and went for Frank Lampard and, for all the hand-wringing and wailing at the time, it was quite funny (particularly when it looked as if the miscreant was going to get beaten to within an inch of his life my the rest of the Chelsea team, before they were calmed down by stewards). It is difficult, therefore, for me to sit here this morning and express any outrage at what happened last night. You can see the incident in full here. To my eyes, there are two disciplinary issues to be dealt with – the lapse in security that lets someone run onto the pitch, and what looks to my eyes like a deliberate attempt by Dida to get the match abandoned through feigning an injury. The fact that they happened as a result of each other shouldn’t alter the fact that UEFA should be dealing with them quite separately. This is an important distinction to make, because neither Celtic nor Dida should be excessively punished or seek to mitigate their behaviour because of what else happened. Let’s take the two issues...

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