Kop an Attitude: 2007 Champion’s League Final Post-Pre-View

As I write, a strange set of truth-claims exist. The Champion’s League final betwixt Liverpool and AC Milan is over, a winner determined. I have absolutely no knowledge about the game. Greatest game ever, surpassing even the heavenly heights of the 2005 Final with the same two teams? Worse than the recent FA Cup Final 4-5-nothing snoozefest? No idea.

So, while I wait for my virtual machine to properly configure itself and daydream about skipping home to the blessed DVR (and if you missed it, ESPN2 and Classic are rebroadcasting it quite a few times over the next 24 hours), here’s a few questions (and less answers). Call it a Champions League Final post-pre-view.

How amazing are the respective midfields ? If God put together a best XI, He would certainly be tempted to just scoop up one of these units whole. Gattuso-Pirlo-Seedorf-Kaka vs. Zenden-Xabi-Mascherano-Gerrard. It’s all there baby. Xabi’s urbane yin to Gerrard’s heart-on-sleeve yang. The Pitbull Gattuso to the panther Kaka. The player that doesn’t even need to cross the half-line to set up amazing plays (Pirlo) vs the smoothest, hungriest holding midfielder from the dirty dirty of Argentina (Mascherano). For defensive-offensive marking, Monster Mascher handles Kaka and Gattuso stalks Gerrard. I think I just got a little light-headed thinking about how glorious those matchups are.

Any team is only as good as it’s spine, and these dudes are the zebrafish of soccer. Liverpeople’s vertebrae are Agger-Carragher-Xabi-Gerrard-Bellamy-Kuyt for a nice Danish-English-Spanish-Liverpuddlian-Dutch treat, while the fashionistas of Athletic Club walk the runway supported by Nesta-Maldini-Pirlo-Kaka-Inzaghi.

Multiple choice: If you had to be hit by a 30-yard shot in the, er, Gudjohnson (if you know what I mean), who would you rather it come from?

  1. Jon Arne Riise
  2. Andre Pirlo
  3. Steven Gerrard
  4. Massiomo Oddo
  5. Paolo Maldini
  6. Craig Bellamy shooting with a golf club

I’d pick #5. Riise would result in utter destruction. Pirlo would be exquisite torture. Gerrard might take off your head just as well. Oddo, well, anyone named Massiomo Oddo does not get near my equipment. Bellamy has already taken out one or two people with his club, so fool me twice… No, Maldini, despite his 39 years of age, would certainly give you something to remember, but then he would take you aside and, in the best Grecian Socratic tradition, use the bruising as a learning opportunity to instill some of his wisdom. You would become a castrate, but a wise one.

How is it that these two teams have no forwards to speak of? On the one hand you have Mr. Top-Flite himself, Bellamy (or Dirk “Dutch Diggler” Kuyt) paired with GTFABM (Good Touch for a Big Man) Crouchinho, on the other hand you have Pippo “He can’t play soccer. He just scores” Inzaghi paired with…his invisible friend Pipi? Probably the worst set of forwards to play in a CL Final in the last ten years. But hey, when you have Kaka and Gerrard around, who needs forwards? Bring on the 4-6-0!

With a midfield so good and forwards so bad, however, this game could easily devolve into a frustrating mire of middle-pitch pinging. So here’s to class and skill winning the day.

[Uhoh-date] The mean median, always presiding over the anticipated events of my life, dictated that the game was neither as stunning nor as soporific per expectation. Benitez bows to his ever-cautious instinct and plays, though with two genuine wingers, an over-crowded and under-delivering five in the middle. How much of a difference Crouch could have made from the very first whistle! Milan deserved the win, with Kaka’s Zidane-turn past Gerrard and Mascherano the highlight of the day. Well, that and watching Gattuso randomly wander in and out of the celebrations. The man’s a party wherever he goes. How terrible a soccer player is Inzaghi? I bow to him, the ultimate antinomy: completely laughable when playing, utterly devastating in scoring. As God, so Inzaghi. Save us.

May 23rd, 2007 | Soccer

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