With a new stadium and back into European domestic football's premier competition, there are plenty of reasons for smiles from Athletico Bilbao supporters...
...what happened to the fourth Champions League place the last time an English team won the thing. Plus, who would want to pay £60 to watch the current England team?
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See You In Court
As I watched the conclusion to last night's opening game, there was one thing on my mind and I needed to know the answer...
Is Gareth Bale allowed to sue Oscar and Neymar for doing his trademarked celebration at the World Cup? This of course assumes they didn't have permission to use it.
Fabregas for Barcelona in Feb-May in three seasons: scored five goals in 62 matches and in 74% of them didn't assist or score.
Maybe Arsene looked at this and decided he wouldn't prevent the end of season collapse Arsenal are getting famous for? He has spent three years disappearing at the most important stage of the season. I think come May, Arsenal fans won't be too upset about missing out on Fabregas for £30m. Do Barcelona often sell home grown players? Maybe it speaks volumes that they're willing to let him go.
...In response to Graham Simons, Gooner, (We've got Mesut bloody Ozil), Norf London,
Signing a good player in a position where his team were short on numbers isn't "about getting one over" on anyone. Its doing the basics of your job as a football manager.
Of course being an Arsenal fan this concept would no doubt be alien to you.
Lucas Pollard, Blue, (We've got Cesc bloody Fabregas), Derby
...It hurts to see Fabregas in that horrid blue rag, but what has been getting me the most upset all day is Arsenal fans insulting Wenger and calling him awful things (a month after loving him unconditionally, to boot). A case could have been made for signing Cesc, and I in fact wanted it to happen, but honestly, it was never a signing we HAD to make, and all the people saying Wenger's an idiot for not signing him are being ridiculous.
Charles AFC says he's better than anyone in our midfield save Ozil and maybe Ramsey. However, he fails to take into account Fabregas plays in Ozil's (and sometimes Ramsey's) position. Josh seems to think it's Arsene's fault that Fabregas went to Chelsea. Here's the thing though: he could've gone anywhere else. The f**** traitor chose to go there. He's not a lover of the club, he's no one, as far as I'm concerned.
Josh also thinks the club just 'let Sagna go' to Man City for no reason, even though it's well documented Arsene has been trying to give him a new deal for over a year. Sagna wanted to go. He's been loyal, and I don't hate him for it, but it was his choice to leave, and there was nothing Wenger could've done about it. And he's old, mate. He's nearing his thirties, and has broken his leg twice in the last couple of years. It'd be lunacy to offer him a long-term, high-paying contract.
Tony Laforce makes the point that competition for places is important. Which it is. He also seems to think there's no competition in our midfield, where Ramsey the Ox, and Wilshere play for the same position, and where Ozil, Rosicky, Cazorla, the Ox, and sometimes Wilshere want the CAM spot. Incidentally, the one where Fabregas would've gone. Now call me crazy, but I think five players going for the same position is more than enough.
As for the "PR" standpoint: Jesus Christ, is this what football has come to? PR, Ken B? Are you f****** kidding? Call me old-fashioned, self-righteous, and tell me to come down from my high horse, but I prefer to support a club that signs a footballer because of, you know, footballing reasons, and not because the team down the road wanted him, or because of "PR" reasons.
Lily, (Hate on Mourinho and Fabregas, not on Wenger) AFC
Kick Up The Arse
18:50 - Chelsea announce Cesc Fabregas has joined the club in a multi-year deal.
19:00 - Oscar puts in one of the most impressive performances for Brazil you'll ever see...
Yes. It's Just You
Is it just me or am I the only non-Brazilian in the world who thought that was a penalty. Albeit it was soft. But then don't lay your hands on opposition players
If coaches spent more time telling defenders not to play dirty then they wouldn't have to spend so much time dealing with dubious decisions. I for one think refereeing needs to be stricter. Red cards for diving, penalties for any tugging or touching in the box on set pieces and so forth. Only then will we see a clean fair game. Until then don't be surprised when 'soft' decisions are given.
Francis franchise (MUFC)
Brazil's New Star
Just one game in and I'm already pissed off thanks to Referinho. Based on that performance, he shouldn't be allowed to officiate another match in this tournament. So If he isn't sent packing, are FIFA inadvertantly admitting that dodgy (at best) decisions will be allowed to pass if they are for the betterment of the tournament? The place seems like a tinderbox already and an early exit for the host nation would be the spark that starts the blaze.
On another note, I'm looking forward to watching Tim Vickery go into meltdown if he has to hear more half-witted ex pros and media types trotting out hackneyed cliches about Brazil and it's people.
Pretending To Be Cultured
Why do columnists insist on calling the national teams by their local nicknames? I've had a bag full of Seleção or Azurri and La Roja.
Stop it. It doesn't make me think you know the local languages. It's just showing off and then I have to go and Google it to work out what f*** is going on. Seleção just means selection in Portuguese. We don't call England 'team' so stop it. As you were.
Don't Write Off Brazil...But They Probably Won't Win It
I'm surprised at the amount of people writing off Brazil after one match. Actually, why am I surprised? Knee-jerk reactions seem to be a clause in the football media's collective contract. Really, though, I can't say I agree that Brazil have been found out and will be on their way soon enough.
The first match was always going to be an absolute pressure cooker, and you could feel it for the entire ninety minutes. The atmosphere was more akin to a tense qualifier at Wembley than the raucous affair we might expect from South America - Brazil's goals were celebrated with relief as much as enthusiasm.That was bound to make things a bit more difficult for the team, and you could see that particularly in the early stages, where the defence looked completely at sea. As the game went on, Brazil were able to settle, and while they never hit top gear, they had their moments.
Croatia also seem to be being painted as walkovers by a lot of people, which is odd. They're still a damn good side, and played very well indeed. That shouldn't be taken away from them as a stick to beat the hosts with. Their role as the underdogs, hitting Brazil on the counter and putting them under the pressure, allowed them to settle more easily than Brazil did. A 3-1 win, despite being very flattering, should be seen as an impressive result against a performance of that quality. It's not hard to imagine many teams (England) wilting under that sort of pressure. Andy Townsend's rubbishing of Oscar's goal one more addition for his list of stupid comments.
The ref undoubtedly helped Brazil more than a bit. I don't think they really have the squad to win the thing, unless things really come together for them (and they might). But, after coming out on top of a difficult match, it's not hard to imagine them comfortably dispatching Mexico and Cameroon and going into the knockouts with a positive head of steam. It's also laughable to suggest that Neymar is comparable to Danny Welbeck, or that Welbeck has a bad haircut - it's a classic!
Is it just me, or does the fact that the Manaus pitch looks far from perfect actually go down as a positive for England, not a negative?
I cast my mind back to the drunken haze of the Euros two years ago, and can vaguely recall that we were given a passing master-class across the deck by Italy, largely inspired by Pirlo. Two years on, with high-humidity, hot-temperatures, a dodgy pitch, and Pirlo soon to retire, fingers-crossed this should be a distinct disadvantage for the aging legs of Pirlo and his colleagues, and their intricate passing technique.
If Roy's master plan is to lump it over the Italian back-four in the hope that we can exploit the pace of our front men, the state of the pitch is surely less of an issue for us than it will be for the more cultured passing game of our opposition, no?
Charlie (it is a long-passing game, not a long-ball game, honest), Birmingham
I have to say I think it's a bit harsh of Mediawatch to criticise Robbie Savage for not being able to tell the difference between himself and his missus. Admittedly it was in the days before he had his beard but I once got very confused seeing the two of them walking hand-in-hand through Leicester city centre wearing matching olive green velour tracksuits. To this day I'm not 100% sure I didn't just see Robbie walking next to a mirror.
Bill Handley, Gloucester
Did anyone catch a glimpse of Niko Kovac's constant smirking early on in the game yesterday? I'm sure he was smiling, but it looked hilarious to me. Watch out, he has a great smirk to him.
Throughout the match yesterday, I wasn't immersed in the football, the teams, the players or the controversy.
No, I was wondering if anybody else felt that Lee Dixon and Ivica Olic look very similar to Jerome Flynn (Bronn in Game of Thrones) and Daniel Craig, respectively.
Anyone else? Probably just me.