Legends are born once in a generation. A lot of heroes come and leave the scene, and they continue to come, but the legends never fade. They live for eternity as they focus for longer periods of time and that is the difference between a mere hero and ultimate legend. They dictate the reality and their impact betas the numbers and kick the stats in the solar system. They survive the test of times and Sergio Ramos was one such legend in Real Madrid.
The atmosphere was like Italia 90. The evening was warm but comfortable and the gentle breeze blowing carried the emotions of the fans present at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Rome embraced its favourite sons delightfully – the noise was like the joyous expression of an Azzuri fan, who has been waiting for many years to witness the Italians in such a good form and no venue other than the Stadio Olimpico at Rome would be ideal for the fans to enjoy the Azzuri show, who are showing a lot of promise in a major event since 2012.
The Germans have enough depth and variety under their belt which the French can only match. You cannot find a team in this showpiece event that can match the quality of France and Germany – the teams can set the tempo and attack like a bunch of wolves and when needed, they can change the tempo by being resilient. Yes, the other teams do such as well, but not with the kind of perfection that the Germans and French do.
Football can be very cruel and at Budapest, it was Hungary who had to swallow the cruel pill in a match where they did not deserve to lose by 3-0. They had been compact and kept the defending Euro Champions – Portugal at bay for the major part of the contest but in the last ten minutes, the complexion of the game changed and yet another match and yet another triumph for Cristiano Ronaldo.
While the Czech republic were featuring in their seventh consecutive Euro event, Scotland were playing in a major soccer event since the FIFA World Cup 1998 and the last time they played in a Euro event, was way back in 1996. Their presence was welcomed by the fans at Hampden Park, Glasgow – sadly it ended in a disappointment because of Patrik Schick’s double strike – the second goal is already part of Euro folklore.
The Day 3 of the Euro witnessed England registering their first win in the opening game of the event and Austria hold the nerves to bag a victory for the first time in a major event since Italia 90 and in Euro. England had been good and hinted of becoming better while Austria showed that they could be a threat and when the evening got darker, at Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Ukraine dished out an absolute classic.
But during this COVID-19 Pandemic, the mantra has been all about moving on – life has taken a blow, but it never stopped from facing new challenges – rather life has always fought against adversity and stood up smiling and prepared itself for the next challenge. Life must win to keep the hope alive – life must smile so that the world does not stop. At Copenhagen, perhaps, this was the motivation
Italy deliver the best opening ceremonies in the football showpiece events – we witnessed it back in the San Siro in the 1990 World Cup and after 30 years, we witnessed yet another masterpiece in Rome. It was colourful, well organized and the immortal song Nessun Dorma made millions cry – a decade after decade this song just touches everyone deeply – Italian football and Nessun Dorma seem connected so deeply. Then came Bono to inject a soothing effect and the festival commenced where Italy produced a vivid display of attacking football.
Paraguay - quarterfinalists at the South Africa 2010 a decade ago, of course - are looking to book their first return since this time around, having missed out on Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018. A surprise victory here could have vaulted them into the top four and keep them firmly on the front foot. But it did not happen.
The answer is NO! Because the safety of the players and emotional state of the nation is more important than hosting such a mega-event - Not only Brazil but the rest of the countries in Latin America are devastated by the Pandemic and it would be sensible enough not to host the event this year.
Amid the doubts of the upcoming Copa America, which has been shifted to Brazil and the rumours of head coach Tite’s resignation; Brazil faced Ecuador in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at Porto Alegre. Brazil looked underwhelming at the start, still, picked the tempo when Tite brought changes. In the end, the Selecao did not drop any points like Argentina and Uruguay.
After a dramatic and hectic football season in Europe, international football has commenced. Back in Europe, the preparation for the Euro is underway while in Latin America, the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers are back. At the new and sparkling new Madre de Ciudades Stadium, Argentina logged horns with Chile and ended up sharing points.
After leaving Real Madrid, the record of Carlo Ancelotti had not been something to cheer for. The old Midas touch was missing; still, his return has been welcomed because of the outstanding results as the coach of Real Madrid previously. Ancelotti knows, it is never easy in Real Madrid and he would be judged by how many trophies he wins and nothing else.
The contribution of Zinedine Zidane towards Real Madrid as a player and coach can never be undermined. He has given the best of the moments to the Los Blancos in both roles. In his second stint as the coach – Zidane was impactful again, but after the end of the season, he decided to leave after completing the fight against injuries and COVID where the Los Blancos missed the opportunity to win the La Liga title by a whisker.
After the final whistle, Tuchel smiled and the sadness of last season’s defeat against Bayern Munich was laid to rest once and for all. In Porto, Tuchel stood among the litter of blue and silver glitter as a winner, the mastermind of a triumph that writes his name in Chelsea history.
Juventus have reappointed Massimiliano Allegri as the new coach of Juventus and which means they had to show Andrea Pirlo the exit door. It was a sad end to one of the sharpest brains in world football and the legend of Juve as well. When Pirlo was appointed as the coach of Juve, it was a risky but smart gamble that backfired in the last season but could have been fruitful in the next.
What a day it had been in European Football! As if the 21-goal penalty shootout was not enough and while the world was still not out of the dramatic final in Poland, top coaches started to say goodbye to their respective clubs. Excellent coaches like Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte decided to leave while coaches like Andrea Pirlo felt the pressure and had to move towards the exit door.