Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday afternoons were made for drinking

There are few days in the year where it is socially acceptable to start drinking at 2:30 p.m. However, today is one of them. Forget the Super Bowl, the world’s most watched sporting event is the UEFA Champions League final. And, with apologizes to Sao Paulo and Boca Juniors fans, it’s also the unofficial world championship game of club football.

In case you’ve been too busy following the Memorial Cup, it’s an historic final today between two English sides—Chelsea and Manchester United. For the non-soccer inclined this is a Red Sox/Yankees final and it evokes all the same dilemmas for the neutral observer. Who do you cheer for when ‘both lose’ isn’t an option?

Although I hesitate to bring it up, it’s also historic in that it will mark the first time a Canadian-born player takes part in the game. I’m not a fan, but I won’t bore you will a tired old rant about Mr. Hargreaves’ decision. Other than to lament what could have been had he made the braver choice.

In the lead-up to the game much of the talk has been focused on the future of the extremely talented and incredibly annoying Cristiano Ronaldo (a man who has accomplished the impossible—he’s made ManU more unlikable).

Chelsea will go into this as the underdog. And, as the slightly more interesting story. One would have thought that Roman Abramovich’s money would have got them to a CL final sooner, but if you were to guess six months ago you would have thought that this was the least likely Chelsea team to play for the title. As Stephan Brunt points out, it could be its only chance for a while too.

So, if you see any middle aged guys with subtle British accents stumbling out of a pub around mid-afternoon today, give them a break. It’s a big day.



Anonymous said...

'the team that shall never be named' vs Cheski - should be a dandy if there is an early goal. if not, just watch everybody clam up hoping not to make the first mistake.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

A pretty intense game. United dominated the first half, and really should have had more than one goal, but Chelsea controlled the second half and most of the extra time. I was on pins and needles through overtime and the shootout. Who would have thought Terry and Ronaldo would both miss penalties? Terry gets off, though, because his header to deny Ryan Giggs was the only reason it even went to a shootout in the first place. For a 1-1 match, there were an awful lot of good scoring chances: Lampard hitting the bar, Drogba ringing one off the post, Tevez's diving header and Carrick's follow-up shot straight at Cech. A pretty darn good afternoon of football in my books.

Mikey said...

There were plenty of lads with non-English accents stumbling out too yesterday.

The CL, Premiership, and international football audience is growing larger with the internet and better television coverage here.

Supporters of international clubs and countries, especially England, aren't all from English anymore.

Don't want to seem fickle, but from a writer -to his great credit-who supports the MLS and the Canadian national team, I think we should embrace soccer's expanding following here in Canada.

Can't wait for Euro.