The other side of the world in 2012
It is with much enthusiasm that we receive 2013, a year that without a doubt will bring us surprises and great competitions, where we can enjoy the best soccer on the planet. However, we cannot forget those international events that marked the year that just ended.
At the beginning of June we enjoyed a magnificent event, as we saw another European Championship, which on this occasion took place in Poland and Ukraine. The tournament was really attractive, we saw the spectacular game of Spain, the impressive German team, the tradition and hierarchy of others like Italy, England and, of course, France.
Spain and the renovated Italy made fans vibrate in the final, with an great match that resulted in a 4-0 win for “La Roja” that made them the best team in the world and the Old Continent. Well deserved titles that put the Spaniards on a level that was not seen reach in a team for many years.
The Europa League also left us pleasant surprises in its current edition. We already know the 32 teams that will contend in the next phase in February. Among the most relevant are Liverpool, Lazio, Inter, Tottenham, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica and Ajax. Among the most significant matches are Atletico against Ruben Kazan and Chelsea, which will face Sparta Prague.
We also know what the most attractive matches in the Champions League will be in the quarterfinals. I must say I am very surprised with the matches that the draw left us.
Barcelona should have a tough match against Milan, with Real Madrid facing the same challenge against United; Arsenal plays Bayern Munich and the impressive PSG faces Valencia; Porto of Mexican Diego Reyes will face Malaga.
I’d like to make a brief parenthesis to share with you the disappointment produced by current Champions League holders Chelsea, a team that was eliminated in the group stage leaving its title vacant. Without a doubt, the Blues performance is one of the most disappointing chapters in the club’s history. It becomes even more daunting if we add that Chelsea also lost the Club World Cup against Brazilian club Corinthians. In this same tournament, Monterrey removed itself from past performances and with a lot of hard work, took the third place in Japan.
Talking about the leagues, I have to recognize Barcelona as the best of the year. The ‘Blaugranas’ have continued their winning philosophy and have taken advantage of the extraordinary moment from their leading figure Lionel Messi. On the other side lives Real Madrid, which has been a club that has played far below the level shown when we saw it lift the league trophy in the past tournament and has been making headlines more for its internal problems than for its good play. The surprise without a doubt is Atletico Madrid, which by the hand of Radamel Falcao has entered the competition between Barça and Mardrid.
In England the reigning champion, Manchester City, also has had a season with ups and downs, after its disappointment in the Champions League, but it continues to give United a fight at the top of the table in the Premier League.
I take this opportunity to share with you that my wish for this 2013 that has just started is that we continue to witness the greatest events in soccer and sports in general. Happy New Year!