Category Archives: Football Panorama
It came to pass that Bayern Munich were crowned European champions for the fifth time after failing twice in the last four seasons. To Borussia Dortmund who gave as good as they got; it was an anti climax of sorts as Bayern’s experience at this level shone through at the death when Arjen Roben scored the winning goal in the 89th minute of the epic encounter.
German football is a winner in the whole scenario even if one team had to go home with the heartache of failing at the last hurdle in Europe’s topmost competition. Seeing the way things went down made me more convinced that Germany is a potential winner of the world cup to be hosted by Brazil next year.
Today is the finals of the UEFA champions league. For the first time in a long while, two German teams would spar at one of football’s greatest grounds, Wembley, in England to determine the winner of European topmost club football crown. Like in the past, predicting the teams that would play in the final had always been as difficult as knowing exactly how tomorrow would be. However, we have had pundits, analysts and commentators made attempts to narrow down potential finalist particularly after group stages of the competition.
While Bayern Munich had always been represented strongly in the finals of this completion, Borussia Dortmund is playing its first since 1997 when they famously defeated Juventus to win their first and only trophy in this competition. One thing I clearly remember in that match was that Zinedine Zidane (one of the greatest players to have ever graced the pitch) was shackled throughout. He couldn’t do anything of note during the duration of the match as Dortmund ran away 3 – 1 winners.
In consecutive seasons of the UEFA Champions League, the favourites will not be in the finals! Like last year, the draws from the semi-finals pointed to the possibility of Real Madrid squaring up to Barcelona to enact the much loved ‘el Classico’ at the topmost level of European club football. However, Chelsea and Bayern Munich ‘connived to deny us that dream.
This season up till about nine days ago looked promising again for the ‘dream’ finals at Wembley. The wheels came unstuck for Barcelona first at the Allianz Arena in Munich when they uncharacteristically shipped four goals against a dominating and well drilled Bavarian side. As if that was not tough enough to take, Bayern completed the rout at Camp Nou by putting the Messi less Catalans to the sword.
Unlike most Arsenal fans, I was not agitated or angry over Robin Van Persie’s exit from the Emirates in the summer of 2012. What engaged my mind was the fact that a major rival had gained a supreme attacking firepower with Arsenal being the loser in the real sense of it. And tonight, with three goals in the match that clinched the 20th league title for the Red Devils, RVP justified the huge confidence Sir Alex Ferguson had in him to have parted with such a big transfer for a 30 year-old.
Looking at the second goal he scored from the long racking ball from Wayne Rooney, one couldn’t but marvel at the quality of the Dutch striker. He took the ball one-time with his famous left foot and it nestled in the top left corner. That second goal will surely count among the best goals of this season.
The exploits of the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the last Africa Nations Cup are still fresh in our memories. Like many outstanding teams of the past, they must now focus their attention on the new challenge ahead of them. Getting soaked in or carried away by past successes had been the albatross of potential greatness in some of our past teams.
I could recall the euphoria that followed our triumph at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the United States of America after the ‘Dream Team’ won the gold medal of the men’s football event. It was as if Nigeria had won the FIFA World Cup. Being the first African country to achieve that feat didn’t help matters as we were celebrated by all and sundry.