So Real Madrid won a helluva game last Saturday. We’ll recap that, take a look at some of the more important UEFA World Cup Qualifying matches this weekend and not dive into the Rumor Mill because everything is conjecture at this point. Next week, maybe the week after, we’ll have some clarity (probably not) on transfers.
UEFA Champions League Final – Juventus v Real Madrid – 1 – 4. Well this had the early trappings of a competitive match. Ronaldo, who has probably had the best year a footballer has ever had, opened the scoring in the 20th minute. However, Juventus stormed back and Mario Mandzukic scored perhaps the goal of the year here. Take a look:
However, it was not to be for the Old Lady as Madrid was the far superior team in the second half. Two quick strikes including the second by Ronaldo made the game 3-1. Juan Cuadrado then decided to make history by being the first substitute to ever be sent off in a Champions League final when he got his second yellow card. Madrid became the first team to win back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles. Another fun fact: Real Madrid scored in every single one of their games this year. Let your fucking mind process that!
The nice thing about football is that it never actually ever stops, which is fantastic. This weekend UEFA enters Matchday 6 for World Cup 2018 Qualifying: Road to a Country and Sporting Federation Overlooking So Many Goddamn Atrocities, Like Literally North Koreans are Dying Building Stadiums in St. Petersburg™. Anyway, there are actually some pretty tasty matchups this weekend, so if you’re like me, let’s knock off work early on Friday and catch some hot, sexy European soccer action! (All kickoffs Central Time)
Two important matches kick off at 1:45 PM:
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Greece – As expected, B + H and Greece are battling it out for the playoff spot in Group H. Greece sits in second currently and Bosnia in third place. Greece have continued their tradition of playing tight ass defense and literally zero offense. These two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Greece in November. Points for BIH here could be huge as they have the home leg against group leader Belgium and then matches at table minnows Cyprus, Estonia, and Gibraltar, surely at least 10 points in those 4 matches.
Sweden v France – This is probably the match of the weekend right here, though I’ll listen to arguments about the one right below this. France sits first in Group A on 13 points, Sweden is second on 10 points, the difference being a French 2-1 home win in November. France has a glut of talent including the likes of Pogba, Griezmann, Giroud and 18-year-old wunderkind Kylian Mbappé. The Swedish team is obviously missing the Zlatan, but don’t sleep on a Swedish football team. In particular Emil Forsberg who was one of the top goal setters in European football last year. He scored eight goals with RB Leipzig but more importantly setup 19.
Scotland v England – This is probably like the 115th meeting of these two teams [Editor’s Note: there is something magical that happens when hyperbole lines up with reality. This will be the 114th official match between the two sides]. England sits pretty safely ensconced in first place in Group F with 13 points. Scotland (which, let’s be fair, is the better part of the United Kingdom) sits a disappointing fourth but only two points off second place Slovakia. Scotland has fall matches with Slovakia and last place Malta and away trips to Slovenia (one point ahead of them) and Lithuania (two points behind them), so any points they can take from England on Scottish soil could go a long way to a World Cup playoff opportunity.
Multiple matches at 1:45 PM:
Iceland v Croatia – This is a battle of the top two teams in Group I. Croatia leads the group with 13 points to Iceland’s 10 points. Croatia has had Iceland’s number recently, including a 2-0 qualifying win back in November. The Croats recently surprised Mexico with a 2-1 victory in Los Angeles. Iceland and Gylfi Siggurdson hope to capitalize on their Euro success and earn Iceland’s first ever World Cup berth. This match could prove critical.
Serbia v Wales – Serbia surprisingly leads Group D, tied on points with Ireland at 11. Gareth Bale and Wales have yet to lose in qualification but have only won once to sit in 3rd place at 7 points. This is a must win for the Welshmen if they think they have any thoughts at qualifying for Putin Party 2018. The Serbs still get home matches against Georgia and Moldova.
Puppy Rumour Mill
We’re gonna take a break from the rumour mill, because of things, but mostly Liverpool apparently getting bitch-slapped by Southampton. Check back next week though after we’ve had some qualifiers and the actual rumours really start flying!
So who’s coming to the bar with me on Friday!?