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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who is the real "Super Mario"?

Mario Balotelli was nicknamed Super Mario during his time at Italian giants Internazionale and has shown his immense quality on a number of occasions over the past few years. After the christening of Balotelli as "Super Mario", the football world has also seen the rise of two other players with by the name of Mario. Both of them ply their trade in the German Bundesliga. Both of them have represented Germany at the international level. They've both won the Bundesliga. I'm talking about Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze and Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez.





Both the Germans have been far more influential than Balotelli in their clubs' domestic triumphs. Gotze was part of a Dortmund squad that was much weaker than Jose Mourinho's Inter, where Balotelli was at the age of 19. Gomez has shown the world how clinical a striker he really is, while Balotelli has merely been shrouded in controversy.

Here's a more detailed look at the three players




CLASS OF 2011 - HOMECOMING

After the hammering handed out to Newcastle in the 1-1 draw at the weekend we are back in action tonight with a Carling Cup quarter final at home to Ipswich Town and from the looks of it it wil be a young side containing the class of 2011 who won the FA Youth Cup last May .The likes of Ravel Morrison, Larnell Cole, Paul Pogba, Ezekiel Fryers are all expected to play some part in the game tonight. The game being played at home wil be an advantage for the young side as they will be playing in an familiar environment rather than daunting Portman Road had the tie been the other way around.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Reasons Why The Game Ended 2-1 To Napoli

Napoli picked up a memorable victory against Manchester City last night courtesy an Edinson Cavani brace. Also, Walter Mazzarri finally picked up his first win over Roberto Mancini in eleven meetings. Napoli now sit in second place in Group A of the UEFA Champions League and a win against Villarreal will confirm their participation in the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Here's a look at 5 possible reasons for the Partenopei triumph :

1. City forgot that Dzeko is good in the air





Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bayern Munich V/S Borussia Dortmund - Key Battles

Bayern Munich host defending champions Borussia Dortmund tonight in a clash of mammoth proportions. Bayern will be without the services of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anatoliy Tymoschuk, but have Arjen Robben returning to action. Heynckes will probably decide to start the Dutchman on the bench and expect him to run riot against the Dortmund back four when he comes on. Dortmund's only player on the injury list is center back Neven Subotic and he will be replaced by Felipe Santana.

Dortmund beat Bayern in both ties last season, but are without the services of the ever so influential Nuri Sahin, who moved to Real Madrid this summer. The other goalscorer for Dortmund over the two games last season, Lucas Barrios, will probably start on the bench yet again. Both teams are brimming with quality and this is proving to be a mouth watering clash. Both teams are not the most efficient defensive units, so if you're a neutral, this could prove to be a highly enjoyable goal-fest.

Let's take a look at which personal battles could prove to be crucial in tonight's game.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Possible Draws For EURO 2012

Portugal, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland and Croatia confirmed their participation in EURO 2012 last night by qualifying for the tournament via the play-offs. With the qualifying round of EURO 2012 coming to a close, UEFA announced the seeding of the teams for the tournament in June.

POT 1            POT 2           POT 3       POT 4
Spain              Germany        Croatia       Denmark
Netherlands     Italy               Greece       France
Poland            England          Portugal      Czech Republic
Ukraine           Russia            Sweden      Ireland

Based on current form and quality of their squads, Spain, Netherlands and Germany will be the early favourites, but the European Championship is known to produce upsets with Denmark and Greece going all the way to win the tournament in the recent past. Italy, England, France and Portugal have fairly good teams on paper but are not the most consistent and disciplined teams in the tournament. Croatia and Sweden have the potential to pull off a few major upsets and will be the prime dark horses for the tournament. The remaining teams may not be up there at the moment, but another stand-out performance, accompanied by some luck, could see teams like Russia and the Czech Republic pull off something similar to Greece's EURO 2004 triumph.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

EURO 2012 Play Offs : Preview (Part Two)

Czech Republic Vs Montenegro

The Czech need to keep their fans away from this!
Granted full membership by UEFA just half a decade ago and Montenegro are currently on the verge of qualifying for Europe's most prestigious international tournament. They have indeed come a long way and will be greatly supported by their 250,000 odd nationals. On the other hand, the Czech have hit a new low. Group toppers in the qualifying stage for EURO 08 and EURO 04 and are currently on the verge of being denied a spot in the 2012 edition.

Fans must have seen both Wales and Switzerland finish ahead of Montenegro in Group G but the Montenegrins proved them wrong. A memorable draw in Wembley and a remarkable comeback against England in Pogdorica has seen this little country come so close to a spot in the group stage of EURO 2012.
The Czech Republic had no hopes of finishing in first place in their group. With Spain as clear favourites in Group I, the Czech had to rely on being the best second placed team in all groups but failed to do so. After a remarkable performance in EURO 2004, the Czech have failed to get past the group stages of the following European Championships and World Cups. Their defence was fairly resolute in the qualifying stage but will be in for a real test against the Montenegrians.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EURO 2012 Play Offs : Preview (Part One)

Bosnia vs Portugal

Another triumph over the Balkans is on the cards

Bosnia have never qualified for a major international tournament. The European Championships have been Potugal's forte but the trophy has eluded them to date. The last time these two teams met was in the play-offs for the 2010 World Cup and Portugal emerged victorious in both legs of the tie.

In the group stage of qualification, Bosnia finished just a point behind France to qualify for the play-offs. They won all their games at the Bilina Polje and their only loss at home(to Les Blues) came at Asim Ferhatovic stadium. With a 62.5 win percentage at the Bilina Polje, Bosnia seem to be in a fairly good position with respect to the numbers game.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Far From A Tribute. Disaster in Minsk

Appalling, deplorable, repulsive, ghastly! I can't find a superlative to do justice to Milan's performance in Minsk. Milan's trip to Belarus showed just how unprepared they are for the Champions League. The club announced that this game was going to be a tribute to Cassano(taken in ill for an ischemic stroke after the Roma game) but it was far from it. It disheartens every Milansti to see the team put in such a terrible performance after all this talk of it being a tribute.

Tribute? More like a disgrace.
 Allegri was cut for choice with his strikers and was forced to start Robinho alongside Ibrahimovic. This proved disastrous. Misplaced passes and wasteful finishing characterised Robinho's game last night. A completely wayward pass to Taiwo was the start of his disastrous night and it was concluded with the goofing up of a simple one on one. Boateng had another fruitless night. Poor movement and poor delivery seemed to be his forte for the night. As a Milan fan, this inconsistency in attack and Fantantonio's absence fluster me.