Thursday, April 29, 2010

Inter reach Champions League final despite losing to Barcelona

Barcelona lost the chance to defend their European crown when they could only beat Inter Milan 1-0 at home at the Nou Camp this morning.

Inter will now meet Bayern Munich in the final of the European Champions League at the Bernabeu in Madrid.

A goal by Pique in the 83rd minute won the game, but not the tie, for Barcelona, with Inter winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Picture a training session with 10 versus 10 in just one half of the field and the attacking side’s goalkeeper in the centre-circle. That is what this game was like after Inter had Thiago Motta sent off just short of the half-hour mark after shoving a hand in the face of Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona had all the possession but very few shots and Inter survived to reach the final. Possession for almost the entire match was about 80% to 20% in favour of the home side.

As Inter celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle, the sprinklers came on as the home team’s ground staff attempted to dampen the visitors’ joy.

It will be Inter's first appearance in the showpiece European final since 1972.

The attendance was 98,000.


Richard Bennett said...

I for one won't bother watching the final now Walter, but that's football. Hope the 2 teams try and be less pragmatic and seize the opportunity to win it rather than play to not loose it but I somehow doubt it.

4-4-2 said...

Inter won this game in the 1st leg and Barca paid the price for getting smashed by The Special One's perfect plan at San Siro, Disgraceful reaction by Barca for the send off and they deserve not to go through. Could of been 2 years in a row the ref handed Barca a path to the final.

The final will be a belter with Bayern a great team and Inter having their strongest lineup for years.

Richard the game was about 2 legs and watching them overall was very entertaning and some master tactics were implemented.

Richard Bennett said...

I agree 4-4-2 that it's about better tactics, commitment to the plan and efficiency over two legs and always will be.

I could list many major finals/semis etc that were won by applying these facets of the game over outright attacking brilliance. many great teams have suffered because they didn't roll their sleeves up when needed and that is always a valid point. in modern professional football the result is the bottom line.

however for the "purist" it's not ideal it's football reality. I am speaking as someone who would love to watch the game with my under 10 team and watch Barca in full flight. that's why I think it's a bit disapointing because that is what inspires young players to want to play.

Richard Bennett said...

also if we are going to raise the issue of deserve to go through, nothing wrong with Barcas second goal this morning unlike Inters third the week before.

either way if you dwell on it the referees are responsible but that only serves as an excuse for wasting your chances.

swings and roundabouts but I suspect that there will be no complaints from Barca just some people outside the club such as the media etc.

melikesfootball said...

I agree with 4-4-2. That has got to be the best defensive display of football over 180 minutes you are ever likely to see.

Inter had to make only 1 save today, the other shot on goal was the one awarded, even though it should have been flagged off-side. Inter showed the art of playing football without the ball.
Whilst I enjoy watching Barca play its attacking brand of football, I must admit, it was a joy to watch brilliant defence over a prolonged period.

4-4-2 said...

I suppose I'm just bitter, I support Chelsea and I'm still coming to terms with how Chelsea were robbed last season in the Semi Final at Stamford.

I actualy think Bayern are playing so well the last 2 months they will win the Final.

Tommy said...

Hey Richard, whilst I'd have liked to see Barca go through it's hard to say they were at attacking brilliance when they only scored one goal against ten men.

They only had three chances inside the box, two of which were goals, the other missed. That says a lot about the quality of defending, and or a lot about the lack of ideas from Barca in the final third in this game.

Der Scheinmeister said...

It is great to see two different teams make the final.

Uns im UEFA Pokal Finale

Richard Bennett said...

I didn't say Barca were at their best in this match and thats largely due to the excellent tactics and application of their plan by Inter, I was saying I prefer watching the type of footballing team that Barca is when in full flight especially in a showpeice like the champions league final. I think the way they swept aside man utd last year was breathtaking and provided the non football sporting fan with a taste of "the beautiful game".

I as a football fan do not want to watch two teams sit back and wallow around in the midfield just feeling each other out.

I understand the term winning ugly and teams have to do it to be successfull but I don't like having to watch it.

yes it was a great example of playing without the ball and it's part of football but I may be alone here apparently I do not want to have it served up as a regular on the football menu.

and yes 4-4-2 I think bayern have the capacity to win provided they do not lapse into this mindset of not losing first.

simo said...

Can you please explain to me how Barcelona's style of football is more 'purer' than the football Inter play, what do you describe as being 'pure' in the game today. Strictly speaking, Rory Delap's long throws have few rivals for a purer tactic in football today, using a exceptional individual talent to create a opportunity to score from.
Pure football is two teams struggling against each other, beautiful football is just a luxury some teams are able to provide but does it make them pure, for example are Barcelona more pure than Stoke City?
And anyway football is all about winning the game, or in this situation the tie and Inter did exactly that, you can't argue with results mate.

Anonymous said...

Richard - show your U10s the Barca v Arsenal game and ignore the rest! Its the beautiful game after all, and whilst beauty may not always win out, that's what kids should aspire to.


Richard Bennett said...

Simo couldn't disagree with you more. Some teams play the game at a different sublime and beautiful level and live long in the memory for doing so. plenty of teams win trophies and are quickly forgotten.

there in lies the big difference.

Walter said...

Richard, I'd like to quote Johan Cruyff on this topic: "I don't go through life cursing the fact that I didn't win a World Cup. I played in a fantastic team that gave millions of people watching a great time. That's what football is all about. The Dutch team of the seventies was fantastic to watch. People say that to me every day...They talk about us in awe. That is the biggest reward I can have as an ex-player. I played my football in a thrilling team. And I coached Ajax and won the European Cup playing that way, too. Then I went to Barcelona as coach and we won many trophies. But the best reward for me was that people said we were producing the best football in the world.

"There is no medal better than being acclaimed for your style. As a coach, my teams may have won more games if we'd played in a less adventurous way. Maybe I'd earned a little more and the bonuses would have been bigger, but if people say that Barcelona were playing the nicest football in the world with me as coach, what more can I ask for? If you're appearing in the World Cup final, it may be the biggest occasion of your life, so why be sad and fearful? Be happy, express yourself and play. Make it special for you and everyone watching. For the good of football, we need a team of invention, attacking ideas and style to emerge. Even if it doesn't win, it will inspire footballers of all ages everywhere. That is the greatest reward."

This is from David Winner's "Brilliant Orange: the neurotic genius of Dutch football", a must-read for any serious football follower.

Anonymous said...

How many world cups have the Dutch won? how many have Spain won?

Richard Bennett said...

Anon 12.07 Germany won in 1954 and 1974 playing ruthless efficient football and football fans remember their opponents because of their sheer brilliance. i.e hungary 1954 and holland 1974.

and yes Walter you can't sum it up any better than cruyff a masterful champion player and coach he had a rare football gift. we have the memories thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

Cruyyf was an individual and these comments prove so. It's amazing how over the years teams have maintained similar traits, barca for flair, Inter as a strong defensive unit, Bayern Munich as efficient.

I personally think people remember individuals more than great "footballing teams". You don't get medals for great skill and technique but for showing all the characteristics needed to win a game of football, sometimes even using the more negative aspects of the game.

I think Fozzy on SBS has brainwashed the public into believing Barca is the only way teams should play when they aren't even close to Madrid on European cups & you never know Inter might even be level with Barca at the end of May!

Richard Bennett said...

to follow up on the logic of the brilliance of the team that plays without the ball, maybe FIFA should invoke a new law that means we ban the ball from the game and we can all sit back and appreciate the style and system after all then both teams will be forced to play that way or like Stoke City!

Sorry glen "chalky" but I didn't use that example to begin with and Rory Delap was from my team originally. He did actually play a bit of football there though under the bald eagle!

simo said...

Richard, some great points there and in some ways I agree with you as it is nice to see Barca play that 'pretty' football but it is the different styles of football that teams employ which makes football such a amazing game to watch, the second leg of the Chelsea Barcelona game is a great example, in how many sports can you see a team have 70% of possession but in many ways dominated by a team which didn't have as much possession but was able to breach their backline numerous times, while the team who had the majority of possession only had one shot on target very late in the game.
To quote Gabriel Marcotti, a amazing football journalist and pundit, "You watch football to see your team win, seeing them play attractive football is an bonus." That is why fans go to the game, to see the team they support take all 3 points.
And anyway, if every team played the way Barcelona or Arsenal tried to play, football would become boring as there would be no contrast, that is my biggest argument with Craig Foster saying that all teams should play in a particular way, football would become stale and boring, teams like the Stoke's are vital for football, perhaps as vital as Barcelona as they show the diversity which makes this game the best in the world.

Richard Bennett said...

Simo I'm clearly talking as a fan of football and not from a follower or fan of a particular club which is very different expectations.

I agree with what you are saying but I am really advocating that although teams play to their standard or potential the desire to strive for the beautiful is great to watch and is preferable.

I would like to also disagree with previous post that attacking and brilliant football is what the game is about and a trophy is a bonus not the other way around.

must also say it's great to debate the pros and cons of a football opinion without any derisive or personal insults being thrown into the mix. the worm maybe turning Walter.

also nice to see a european final involving Fulham and Mark Schwartzer. I spent a few cold saturday afternoons at craven cottage in the early 80's and like I'm sure everybody else there then would not ever dream of it happening. great result.

Anonymous said...

no one has answered my question, how many world cups have Spain and Holland won ? hahhaha

Anonymous said...

I am a TV spectator and watch for the love of the game. I love watching the likes of Barca and Arsenal, because they are inventive, attacking and unpredictable as to how the next attacking move will evolve. I don't overly enjoy watching the italian defensive style of counteratacking football, but I have an admiration for what it takes for 11 people to play as one in that style. In Barca v Inter you had the 2 best exponents of their style going head to head and for me was great entertainment and theatre to the end. (Got to love the Groundstaff LOL)