Posts Tagged ‘Fernando Torres’

Soccer Central podcast: Champions League review

I caught up with the crew on Sportsnet’s Soccer Central podcast on Thursday to look back at the week’s Champions League quarter-final first legs. Our conversation took in the link between tiki-taka and Fernando’s moment of madness against Paris Saint-Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimović’s likely next move and Fernando Torres’s crazy sending-off against Barcelona. You can listen here.

Report: Atlético sink Chelsea to set up all-Madrid final

“London (AFP) – Atlético Madrid set up a Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Chelsea in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday.”

My AFP report on how José Mourinho was denied a Champions League final reunion with Real Madrid can be read here.

Reaction: Mourinho rues Courtois friendly fire
Reaction: Simeone ‘excited’ by all-Madrid final
Analysis: European exit exposes Chelsea’s limitations

Report: Torres accepts gift to send Chelsea second

“London — Fernando Torres exploited a 90th-minute horror show from Manchester City to earn Chelsea a 2-1 win on Sunday that sent them up to second place in the Premier League.”

My AFP match report on a potentially significant victory for Chelsea can be read here.

Reaction: Mourinho indebted to Torres determination

Report: Spain book Italy date in Confederations Cup semi-finals

“FORTALEZA, Brazil –  Spain set up a Confederations Cup semi-final reunion with Euro 2012 final victims Italy after beating Nigeria 3-0 on a steamy afternoon in Fortaleza on Sunday to secure top spot in Group B.”

My AFP match report on Spain’s characteristically slick defeat of Nigeria can be read here.

Reaction: Spain’s Total Football delights Del Bosque
Reaction: Injuries, finishing cost Nigeria, says Keshi
Analysis: Italy blunted by Balotelli withdrawal

Report: Chelsea overcome Basel to reach Europa final

“LONDON — Chelsea reached the Europa League final for the first time in their history after surviving a first-half scare to defeat Swiss champions FC Basel 3-1 in the second leg of their semi-final on Thursday.”

My AFP match report from Stamford Bridge can be read here.

Reaction: Benitez takes heart despite early Chelsea exit

“LONDON — Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez did his best to focus on the positives after the holders went out of the Champions League at the group phase despite thrashing FC Nordsjaelland.”

My AFP reaction piece from Stamford Bridge can be read here. You can read my match report here and there’s an analysis piece on what the short-term future holds for Chelsea here: Chelsea failure leaves little room for manoeuvre.

Report: Spain crush Italy to win historic Euro 2012 crown

“KIEV — Spain confirmed their status as one of the greatest national teams in football history by overwhelming Italy 4-0 in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final in Kiev to retain their European crown.”

My AFP match report on the Euro 2012 final can be read here. I also wrote a tournament review, which can be found here.

Tactics: ‘Strikers’ short-changed by restrictive linguistics

“I see some players who call themselves strikers but their goal-to-game ratio is laughable. These guys are forwards who occasionally score a goal and the Trade Descriptions Act should be onto them for calling themselves strikers.”

So writes Gordon Strachan in this month’s edition of FourFourTwo magazine. The Middlesbrough coach is addressing the rise of a growing modern phenomenon – the striker who does not score. But is it a genuine cause for opprobrium or a simple failure of vocabulary?

Britain’s tactical vocabulary is woefully lacking when it comes to describing a player’s on-pitch role. Where Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese have given us a wealth of phrases to delineate subtle differences between positions, English gives us defenders, midfielders and strikers. Defenders defend, midfielders run around in the middle and strikers strike.

Increasingly, however, they do not. The centre forward’s role is changing. The widespread popularity of single-striker formations such as 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 demands that a team’s most advanced attacking player must be capable of leading the line on his own. Some, like Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović, manage to marry the role of target man with that of a lethal finisher. Less well-rounded forwards, though, are deployed principally as facilitators; their job is to hold the ball up, occupy the other team’s centre-backs and establish a foothold in their opponent’s defensive third.

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