Daily Archives: June 28, 2012
The European Championships returned to our TV screens yesterday with the first semifinal tie between Spain and Portugal. The Spaniards continued their relentless passing game but Portugal matched them pound for pound.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a vast array of free kicks but he kept killing birds in the sky. Late on, the Iberians on white launched a counter attack that put Spain on the back foot but Ronaldo wasn’t in the same wavelength with everyone else. Extra time beckoned and Andres Iniesta had a glorious chance to kill the contest but Rui Patricio made a great stop.
120 minutes of football wasn’t enough to get a winner, so a penalty shoot-out stood between both teams and a place in the finals. Xabi Alonso, Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed their chances but I must commend Sergio Ramos for pulling out a script from the Andrea Pirlo movie to delightfully chip the ball past Rui Patricio.
He already has a planet to his name after launching his penalty into orbit in the Champions League semifinals and there was no point creating a new one.
Cesc Fabregas repeated the same feat he achieved against Italy in the last Euros, scoring the penalty that won the game for his nation. Spain aim to be the first team to successfully defend their European Championship title but we’ll have to see what Germany or Italy has to say about that.
Still sticking with the Euros, Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand expressed his disappointment on not seeing more of England’s youngsters in the competition. He declared that he is a “fan of the Ox” and he wanted to see more of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the tournament but he turned out to be a spectator, as Ashley Young and James Milner kept disappointing.
He was also surprised that Phil Jones failed to make any appearance in the tourney. With Harry Redknapp touting Jack Wilshere for the “Pirlo” role, Ferdinand stated that England had its own Pirlo in the form of Michael Carrick but he wasn’t called up.
Speaking of Wilshere, the Metro has reported that the midfielder is making good progress in his rehabilitation and he’s now poised to step up his training regime, which includes more work on the ball, after spending countless times on the gym to strengthen his ankle.
Wilshere has been out for the best part of a year and his influence on the pitch has been badly missed. Arsenal has stated that they expect Wilshere to return ahead of the new season, despite the player having a minor knee operation in May that cleared up a long-standing issue.
There are still options for the club to play the box-to-box role and caution must be thrown to the wind when handling Wilshere’s issue because it’s very delicate and we wouldn’t want to have any further setbacks again.
Moving on to transfer news, I’m sure you must have heard about the bullocks regarding Robin van Persie’s future and I don’t intend to bore you with that.
However, I can report that Real Sociedad has made an official bid for Carlos Vela, but it’s way below Arsenal’s asking price. I know that Arsenal has been regarded as a club that is “all about the profits” but we have to cut our losses and let Vela go to a club he’ll be happy plying his trade.
He had his chances at Arsenal, despite being infinitesimal, but he clearly failed to impress and I was surprised to see his exploits in Real Sociedad last season. He’s further down the pecking order for a place as a striker or a left winger, so Arsenal has to do the right thing to let our chipper-in-chief go.
The club has also increased its asking fee for the greatest striker that ever lived, Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner has told us that he’s under the radar of many teams in the galaxy and I won’t give a rat’s ass if an intergalactic team from a nebula beyond come around for his services.
He’s available for just £8m. It’s not too much to ask for the world’s best striker, is it?
Finally, the Gunners are going to visit my nation, Nigeria, to take on the Super Eagles in a friendly on the 5th of August in the National Stadium, Abuja. The match is scheduled to kick off by 4 pm, local time.
Tickets for this game will appear in Arsenal.com from the 4th of July, and I’ll keep you posted on those details.
My nation is currently ranked 60th in the world (what a shame) but we’ve learned that the Gunners are going to field a strong side against us and our manager, Stephen Keshi, is going to follow suit to showcase Nigeria’s finest.
As a thoroughbred and proud Nigerian Gooner, I’m going to watch the game live and I also hope to take a picture or two with some Gunners.
I guess it’s high time I customize my “Forget Batman, we’ve got Robin” T-shirt.
Sperie Customs will help me do that. 😀
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