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Heading into part two of the Germany-Spain derby in the Champions League, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are in similar positions in their respective leagues heading into today’s clash. Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich have already clinched the league and sit a whopping 21 points behind the Bavarians. Real Madrid are likewise in a similar position, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona. This is the chance for both clubs to win some major silverware this year (Madrid are in the Copa [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Apr - 24 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Italy won their third straight match Tuesday night as they dispatched Denmark 3-1 in a sparsely filled San Siro. Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli proved to be the decisive figure yet again for the Azzurri, assisting on the first goal and scoring one himself to seal the three points for Cesare Prandelli’s men. Prandelli deployed the same formation that he used last Friday against Armenia, eschewing the 3-5-2 in favor of his tried and true 4-3-1-2 but not without a [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Oct - 21 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Saturday’s Italian Super Cup match between Juventus and Napoli saw the Bianconeri emerge as 4-2 winners in a hotly contested match. The most significant absence for the Serie A champions was manager Antonio Conte, who is currently serving a 10-month touchline ban for failing to notify authorities of purported match-fixing; Giorgio Chiellini was also missing in action with Lucio replacing the Italian international in a three-man defense alongside Leo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. New signing Kwadwo Asamoah played in an [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Aug - 13 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Before the start of the European Championships this summer, many in Italy were feeling pessemistic about the Azzurri’s chances, not only with regards to the knockout stages, but towards getting out of the group itself, needing to navigate through the likes of a seemingly invincible Spain, a Croatia team that has always given Italy fits, and an Ireland side managed by the wily Giovanni Trappatoni. Between the difficult group, the exploding match-fixing scandal at home, and the departure of Cesare [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Jul - 7 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Poland go into Saturday’s match needing a win in order to advance out of the group. The Czechs, on the other hand, only need at least a draw to pass through to the quarterfinals thanks to their 2-1 victory over Greece on the second matchday. Here are five important stories to look out for during the game. 1. Injuries on both sides Both Poland and the Czech Republic face a few injury scares to important players. Three of Poland’s starters [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Jun - 16 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The match itself was very nearly overshadowed by skirmishes between Polish and Russian hooligans before kick-off, however, an exciting 1-1 draw more than made up for the ugliness off the field. It was evenly poised throughout, with both sides going after one another; Russia would attack, and Poland would counter. Poland started out brightly, creating several decent chances, including an Eugen Polanski goal that was ruled out for offside. Defender Sebastian Boenisch also nearly scored, but saw his header come [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Jun - 13 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

A 1-1 draw against the reigning world champions can be counted as a good result for the Azzurri despite the injuries and off field distractions. Cesare Prandelli utilized the much talked about 3-5-2 after experimenting with the unorthodox formation in training last week, with the back three comprised of Juventus duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, plus Daniele De Rossi making his international debut as a center back. Up front the attack was also as expected, as was most [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Jun - 13 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Admittedly this is a late preview, but with all the tumult going on both inside the Azzurri camp and in Italian football as a whole, now is a good time to look at how Italy may fair at Euro 2012, what to expect and how Prandelli’s men compare to their group competitors. First up is the injury problems Italy is facing, particularly in defense. Giorgio Chiellini is just coming off an injury suffered in Juventus’ last home game of the [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On Jun - 8 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

AC Milan head into the off season wondering what could have been as they bowed out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage against Barcelona and finished second in Serie A behind Juventus by only four points. There is, of course, no shame in being knocked out of Europe by one of the best teams in the world or losing out on the league title to only the third undefeated side in league history; however, the Rossoneri had high [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On May - 24 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

It all ended just the way everyone had hoped. Sunday was already going to be an emotional day for Alessandro Del Piero, who most likely would be playing in his last home match for Juventus, a club he had stayed with for an astonishing nineteen years. But to score was the cherry on top. In the 28th minute, with Juve ahead 1-0 thanks to the up-and-coming Luca Marrone, Del Piero received a pass just outside the 18-yard box. Shaping to [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On May - 17 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

With Serie A rolling into the last match-day, we are settling into one more scrape for survival. Fiorentina officially achieved salvation with a 1-0 victory over Lecce  on Saturday. Novara and Cesena have officially been relegated and will see each other again in Serie B. Both Lecce and Genoa lost last week to Fiorentina and Udinese respectively, meaning there is still a three point gap between the two teams in seventeenth and eighteenth place. Lecce need to travel to Verona [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On May - 10 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

It’s never easy for a club or its supporters when a legendary player leaves, whether on his own accord or otherwise. Sadly, for both Alessandro Del Piero and Juventus, it has been the latter. The whole mess started last October during a shareholder’s meeting, when president Andrea Agnelli announced that this season would be Del Piero’s last in Turin as the club decided not to extent his current contract. Cameras stationed outside club headquarters after the meeting showed a clearly [...]

Posted by Frank Lopapa On May - 3 - 2012 2 Comments READ FULL POST

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