Champions League, Issues in the game, Republic of Ireland

Blatter, Barça and Ireland lift a cup.

It was an extraordinary weekend of football. We may aswell start with the Champions League final and what a glorious display Barcelona put on. The powerful midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta combined with the attack-minded David Villa and Pedro not to mention the genius that is Messi proved to be far too much for Sir Alex’s men.
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Watching the game, there could have been more goals. The first 20 minutes of the second half was really telling the story of how Barça play. In control and completely taking posession – the extra goals that followed were inevitable. Barcelona won 3-1. And deservingly. The party in Catalunya went on for the many hours that followed around the city’s main square before a presentation in the Camp Nou to a full house. The party then continued over at the city’s Olympic Stadium where some of the players joined Shakira onstage for some celebrations. Gerard Pique, naturally, leading the way.

Another cup was lifted this weekend. A far less important one. The Carling Nations Cup. OK, the cup itself means nothing to the players and, if we’re honest, the fans. But it was Ireland’s results in the tournament that mattered. Maximum points and maximum clean sheets is the best possible situation ‘il Trap’ could have asked for. With the competitve qualifier against Macedonia next weekend, confidence should be high in the camp. Still, it was weird watching Ireland lift a trophy. How I pray for a repeat next summer in the Euros. One step at a time, I guess.
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Controversy, controversy and more controversy has been on the menu for FIFA quite a bit as of late. An email leaked by the suspended Fifa vice-president, Jack Warner stated that Fifa’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke had said that Qatar had basically “bought the World Cup“. And of course, it was the ever popular Sepp Blatter who faced the media at FIFA’s HQ in his native Switzerland on Monday. “Crisis?” asked the 75 year-old, “what’s a crisis?” at the press conference. Knowing full well of the media’s awareness of alleged corruption within the organisation, Blatter did say that there are some “problems” and they would be solved internally (or “inside our family” as Blatter put it). It’s not all happy families for the FIFA boss. Oh, it will be an interesting summer.