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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Last eight in Champion's League

So the final eight of the world's "greatest" football competition contains: three Premiership teams with one decent striker between them, a load of Spaniards facing a stretch for being thugs, a team unable to score in 180 minutes against a defence organised by Gordon Strachan, some other chancers from the sub-SPL Serie A, the worst Bayern Munich side for nigh on five decades, and PSV. The state of it! The state of the Champion's League!

If there's ever been a time to replace the pomp and ceremony of Handel's Zadok the Priest as the tournament song with the theme tune from Spike Milligan's Q, now's the time.

Still, things could be worse. At least some of the clowns who got knocked out this week won't be befouling European football any longer. Check out this pathetically lame whine from Real Madrid's Roberto Carlos (who Chxta thought had retired from football sometime around 2002, but in fact clearly only did so at 1945 last night). "The ball bobbled off the surface and bounced just in front of me," went the stupid excuse for letting Bayern's Roy Makaay score the fastest-ever goal since European football began in 1992.

"The pitch wasn't in a good condition and it was a real shame. We didn't concede the goal because of a lack of concentration, it was because the ball bobbled when I got it." Whatever you say, Carlos, whatever makes you feel better about yourself...

But if Madrid's inability to bugger off with good grace was a complete embarassment, you could have set an atomic clock by Ged Houllier's post-defeat nervous breakdown. "Success against Roma would have given us a psychological boost for the future," the hapless Lyon coach quietly sobbed, as he pressed his boot on top of a shovel and serenely cut a 4x12ft hole in the turf to lie himself down. "Now we are still looking for that confidence and enthusiasm we have been badly lacking!" At which point he adroitly leapt into his freshly dug hole and entreated Chxta to bury him alive. Sadly, I was unable to help poor Ged, as I too elected to jump into the grave in the hope that a passer-by would sprinkle some soil over our heads. How else, after all, can I hope to avoid the unbearably loud whining sure to start reverberating from the mouth of Thierry Henry any time now?

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