In Stunner, Chelsea Advances to Champions League Final

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it was over, and the balloons had shriveled and the whistles had faded away, Lionel Messi put his hands to his head. Messi, the slick, slippery forward, was rooted to his spot: it was as if he could not believe what he was seeing.

He was not alone. Around him, the Chelsea players threw their arms over one another, hugging in equal parts glee and exhaustion, while the Barcelona players only stared, as if overwhelmed by two sobering truths: on this day, Messi, perhaps the greatest player in the world, could not score. And Barcelona, perhaps the greatest team in the world, could not win.

Instead it was Chelsea, despite playing a man short for nearly an hour in front of a frenzied crowd at the Camp Nou stadium, that advanced to the Champions League final.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSports* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeSpain

Posted April 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

And people think soccer-football is boring. Y’all just watch Sporting KC this season in MLS. Next year we begin the quals for World Cup 2014.

April 24, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
2. MP2009 wrote:

Well, actually, while captivating because Barca could not score when they needed to, the game was kind of awful, really, a lot like the game Barca played against InterMilan a couple years ago. Even more, it was like an NHL game in which one team was killing a penalty. Chelsea sat 6 guys across the top of the box and Barca could not score. Admittedly that is an achievement but an achievement like the NHL analogy.

April 25, 10:06 am | [comment link]
3. MP2009 wrote:

MLS is improving but still ugly, for seasoned fans, to watch. It’s choppy (in two senses): People get hacked down way too often, and there is little real flow—count the number of times, for instance, that there are, let’s pick a small number, 5-6 consecutive passes. Count the humber of times an unpressured player plays the ball out of bounds or aimlessly into the box.  There are some exceptions, from time to time, and there are some very capable, even some strong players, but the culture, if you will, just isn’t there, yet. Sigh.

April 25, 12:26 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

MP:  I have heard it said that in terms of popular participation by playing the game yourself (note the qualification) soccer is the most popular game in the US.  Go to any park on a sunny day if you doubt me.  And with a growing Latino population soccer can only grow also - although among the Latinos I guess baseball will give it a run for its money.

April 25, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
5. MP2009 wrote:

I don’t understand Comment 4 as a response to me . . .
For a long time soccer has had high particpation numbers. I know all about this and have played at every level and coached a top small college team . . . even inthe 80’s they were saying that more colleges played soccer than football (Title IX may have changed this by leading some men’s soccer teams to be cut, but the fact is probably still true, as soccer costs less to outfit.)

I am just saying that the style, level, and artistry of play in MLS is not compelling . . .I could say this of other leagues, too. 
A big, big positive factor in the USA will be, and already is, (I think) the increased televising of the game, which means access of youngsters who can now see the Barca’s, the Man U’s, etc., so they can see the game played by the best at the highest level (in the way kids in the USA saw Dr J, Magic, Bird, etc.,). This will allow them to see then mimic in some fashion the moves, the improvising, the style, the vision, etc., a feature that was not available or prevalent, at least, a generation ago. Happily, we have a lot of players making a real difference in the overseas leagues now, and that means alot. I am not besotted by all the other leagues. Many Dutch teams, for instance, are light on defending. And the criticisms one can make of Premier League play at times are many. But there is a long, long way for MLS to go to be enjoyable to watch, at least for this Cruyff-Clough/Barcelona-NottsForest loving soccer purist. (Then, again, reality might not let me get close to anything I want. Think of the percentage of NBA games that are essentially 2 v 2 games, or 1 v 1, with the other players motionless!  Think of the NHL games that have been all about clogging the middle zone with traps and then dumping and chasing the puck! All painful for purists like me!:)

April 25, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
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