Euro 2000 Final 20th Anniversary

Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1

On July 2 2000 France beat Italy 2-1 in extra time golden goal to win Euro 2000 in Rotterdam’s De Kuip stadium (home of Feyenoord). Euro 2000 was co-hosted by The Netherlands and Belgium.
France started with 4-2-3-1 like formation featuring many stars – and five future coaches in Deschamps, Zidane, Henry, Blanc and Vieira – and many with the added experience from the World Cup winning side of two years earlier in France. Italy countered with a 3-5-2 that featured many of the defensive stars of the era in Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro.
Italy had taken the lead early in the second with a Marco Delvecchio goal (from a Francesco Totti cross) and was kicks away from winning the tournament. Sylvain Wiltord beat Francesco Toldo from a somewhat tight angle in added time to send the game into what was a golden goal 30 minutes. It took 13 minutes for the game to end. Robert Pires had come in just before the 90 and provided a low cross that David Trezeguet, himself a late sub, emphatically diverted into the upper near side of the Italy goal.
The French team added their names to the history books and became a first simultaneous World Cup and European champion. The Roger Lemerre led team would go on to the 2002 World Cup where they would self destruct and return from Asia embarrassed. Dino Zoff would step down as Azzurri coach and be replaced by Giovanni Trapattoni and Italy would go on to not fare much better in South Korea/Japan.
Match highlights below.

Liverpool 2019-2020 English Premier League Champions

Starting Lineup: 4-3-3
van Dijk

Liverpool have clinched the 2019-2020 English Premier League title after only 31 match days. After missing out on the 2018-2019 title by only one point Klopp and Liverpool worked hard on taking the next step and win the EPL. The summer 2019 transfer window saw relative little activity as Liverpool worked on using and improving on what they had.

Klopp’s famous all over the pitch pressing 4-3-3 has looked better and more effective with a goalkeeper trying to play a sweeper role when possible. The central defence which due to injury has more often featured Joe Gomez – instead of Joel Matip – with Virgil van Dijk has played impressively in keeping the the opposition from even getting into Liverpool’s penalty area. Fabinho has been just as impressive a central or defensive midfielder allowing Henderson and Wijnaldum to press, pass and more importantly provide the movement to open up spaces for the fullbacks. The system has allowed the full backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson to become one of the most effective combos in world football with impressive runs and assist stats. The front three have been a constant and played many minutes offering pace and finishing and all working hard to play their part in using and creating space. Firmino has assisted more often and Salah and Mane have been prolific.

As the pandemic interrupted season heads for its conclusion Liverpool have and are making history.

Penalty Shootout Alternative

Use previous results to determine a winner

The penalty shootout is one of the more debated parts of a football match. Its existence is often mentioned in terms of excitement. It can be exciting for several reasons. Arguably the foremost reason is that it provides a relatively quick result. The darker side of the shootout, however is its undoing. The winner of the penalty shootout can very easily not be the team that played better during regular and extra 90+30 minutes of actual football.


So what can be done about the penalty shootout? What alternative is there to the shootout? The more historical approach of playing a replay after a tie is not really practical, one should be mildly surprised it was ever possible but certainly with today’s schedules it is not. There are less usual ideas that pop up once in a while. For example one is that a tie be decided by the number of corners taken during a match with the team having taken the most corners being declared the winner. Another suggestion was to do the shootout before a match so that the teams know their possible fate before hand. Of course there have been other ideas too and also rules to make it less likely to get to a shootout by making an extra time goal a golden one so less games, may in theory, even reach the penalty phase.

Another idea that came to me – and I don’t recall seeing elsewhere – is that a winner be declared by taking the teams’ previous three games into account. Let’s say a second round World Cup game reaches the penalty shootout stage, how about letting the team with the better group record (in this case the 3 group games) win? Of course this would seem unfair to a team that has finished second in the group stage –  and is playing a first placed team – but why not? A World Cup semifinal match would take into account the quarter final, second round and last group matches to decide, not really unfair. A champions league quarter final second leg would look at the results of the quarter final first leg and the two round of 16 matches, again not really unfair. Of course applying the usual tie breaker rules if the two teams have equal number of wins/points in their last 3 games.

The potential benefit would be to provide an extra incentive for playing for the win in more matches and also of course to avoid the dreaded penalty shootout in the process.

Let football matches be decided in game situations and not walking up to shoot the ball.

Messi V Ronaldo – The Battle for the Ballon D’Or

The latest edition of El Clasico ended with Messi’s Barca beating Ronaldo’s Real 2-1. This infographic courtesy of NeoMam Infographic Agency explores the dominance of arguably the two best players in the world.

MESSI V RONALDO – THE BATTLE FOR THE BALLON D’OR [Infographic] by the team at Unibet

The infographic is no longer available from the source