Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Spain: Mourinho signs on at Madrid until 2016

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 22, 2012
Jose Mourinho

Mourinho has signed a contract extension at Real Madrid

José Mourinho has extended his contract at Spanish champions Real Madrid CF until 2016. The self-proclaimed “Special One”, who had initially signed until 2014, has won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey in his two seasons in charge at Madrid but the prospect of bringing a tenth European Cup to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu must have weighed heavily in his decision to stay at the club. Having won the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto (2004) and FC Internazionale (2010), Mourinho could become the first coach to win the trophy with three different clubs as a coach. This would be a significant achievement along that which he succeeded in doing this year in becoming one of only four coaches to win a league championship in four different countries.

Coach of the Year 2010 (+poll)

Posted in Uncategorized by peterbein on December 24, 2010
Carlo Ancelotti

Is Carlo Ancelotti your coach of the year?

Here is Stoppage Time – International Football Blog’s shortlist for Coach of the Year 2010:

CARLO ANCELOTTI: The Italian ended his first full season in charge of Chelsea FC by bringing the English Premier League and F.A. Cup double to Stamford Bridge, something which even The Special One himself was unable to do. Ends the year in the top four of the Premier League and in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League with the defence of the F.A. Cup due to start in January.

José Mourinho

Is José Mourinho your coach of the year?

JOSÉ MOURINHO: What more is there to say about The Special One? Mourinho masterminded the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League with Milanese giants Internazionale FC and maintains his unbeaten record in home matches which has now stretched into its eighth year. Now at Real Madrid where his team lies second in La Liga and progressing well in the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League. Could another treble be on the cards in 2011?

Louis Van Gaal

Is Louis Van Gaal your coach of the year?

LOUIS VAN GAAL: The Dutch coach made a slow(ish) start to life with FC Bayern but came good to help his team win the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in his first year in charge. Also got to the final of the UEFA Champions League but came up against a superior Internazionale team. At the end of the calendar year his team lies fifth in the league and has progressed to the last eight of the 2010-11 DFB-Pokal and last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

Lamine N'diaye

Is Lamine N'Diaye your coach of the year?

LAMINE N’DIAYE: The Senegalese coach helped maintain TP Mazembe’s standing as Africa’s best club side coaching them to a second successive CAF African Champions’ League title. TP Mazembe hammered Tunisian side Esperance ST 5-0 in the first leg of the final and secured a draw in the second leg which helped the Congolese side qualify for their second consecutive FIFA Club World Cup tournament. In Abu Dhabi TP Mazembe shocked the world by defeating Brazilians SC Internacional to become the first side from outside Europe and South America to reach a final.

Vicente del Bosque

Is Vicente del Bosque your coach of the year?

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE: The Spain national coach has helped solidify Spain’s standing as the best team in world football by guiding La Seleccion to their first ever FIFA World Cup triumph, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in July’s final. This helped Spain become only the third nation to hold simultaneously the UEFA European Championship title and the FIFA World Cup following West Germany (EC 1972, WC 1974) and France (WC 1998, EC 2000). Spain also finishes the year top of their qualifying group for UEFA 2012 and the FIFA World Rankings.

UEFA: Now José really is the Real Deal

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 23, 2010
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is almost certainly leaving Treble winners Internazionale for the challenge of Real Madrid

Like him or loathe him there is no denying that José Mourinho is one of the finest and most astute football coaches in history after the self-styled “Special One” led Italian double winners Internazionale FC to their third European Cup against German Double winners FC  Bayern München in an emotional night for the Milanese club in Madrid on Saturday becoming only the third coach after Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld to win the competition with two different clubs. After the final his team flew home to Milan returning to a heroes’ reception at their legendary San Siro stadium but José himself stayed in Madrid to reveal football’s worst kept secret – that he would almost certainly be joining Spanish giants Real Madrid CF for the 2010-11 season.

José Mourinho is very much a man who has courted controversy throughout his maverick coaching career. Having started life within football as an interpreter for Sir Bobby Robson whilst the former England coach plied his trade for Sporting Clube do Portugal, FC Porto and FC Barcelona Mourinho would then work with Robson’s successor Louis Van Gaal before fate dealt him his first proper coaching  job at Portuguese giants SL Benfica. Sadly for Mourinho he lasted only nine games there before he took a modest provincial club União de Leiria to their best ever finish of fifth place in the 2001-02 season. After moving to FC Porto the beginning of the Mourinho legend was really starting to take off after he guided Os Dragões to two league titles, one Portuguese Cup, a UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League glory. The manner of his departure from Porto upset some of the club’s supporters who thought that his cold and unemotional demeanour after the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League win over AS Monaco had soured his legacy somewhat. Nonetheless Mourinho then went to Stamford Bridge to guide a Chelsea FC side to their first league championship in fifty years before going on to win another five trophies with the Blues before club politics with billionaire chairman Roman Abramovich saw him discarded and move on in 2008-09 to Italian giants Internazionale FC with whom he has prospered immeasurably.

The Internazionale side that he inherited was already a successful one having won the previous three Serie A titles prior to his arrival albeit the first of these titles was won in the courts after a match-fixing scandal and the second won in a championship minus giants Juventus FC, who’d been forcibly relegated to Serie B, and an AC Milan team who were deducted eight points in the 2006-07 season. In Mourinho’s first season at the San Siro Internazionale won the Serie A title by a ten point margin from both AC Milan and Juventus FC but were denied the Double having surprisingly lost to Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. In 2009-10 the Nerazzurri had to tough it out against AS Roma in the battle for lo Scudetto as Claudio Ranieri’s men recovered from a poor early-season start to take Inter all the way in the championship fight. However Mourinho was able to take his Inter team ahead in the title race with three matches to go and the club stayed there and won the league by just two points. The 18th league title for Internazionale ensured that they overtook Milan’s number of 17 Scudetti and also secured the Double, the first half of which had been secured a couple of weeks earlier when Inter defeated old adversaries AS Roma again in the Coppa Italia final.

Now it was only Louis Van Gaal’s Treble-chasing FC Bayern team that stood in the way of Mourinho and history and the Special One had certainly done his homework on the opposition stifling the creativity of danger man Arjen Robben whilst playing the sort of combative, compact football which have become Mourinho’s hallmark. Diego Milito, a player who Mourinho had brought to the club from Genoa at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, was to play as fundamental a role for Inter as Pedro had for FC Barcelona in their Treble winning 2008-09 season. Milito scored the winner in the Coppa Italia final, the only goal of the game in Inter’s final Serie A game of the season against Siena to secure the league title and the two goals to win the UEFA Champions League for Inter, their first triumph in this tournament since 1964-65 in the old European Cup. The credit for the triumph has to go to Mourinho who has guided Inter into an elite group of clubs who have completed the Treble – domestic league and cup plus European Cup or UEFA Champions League – and has maintained a personal record of having not lost a home league game since February 23rd, 2002 (where his FC Porto team lost to Beira Mar) chalking up 136 games undefeated on home soil which is a truly remarkable record by anyone’s standards.

Now it seems that José Mourinho will take over at Real Madrid CF with whom it has been reported he could start negotiations to take over Manuel Pellegrini as recently as Monday. Should he take over los Blancos one can only imagine just how much more unpopular he will become in Barcelona but that will be the sort of thing that the Special One will thrive on. Always up for a challenge Mourinho will want to become the man who takes Real Madrid to their tenth European Cup/UEFA Champions League victory and only from Monday will we be nearer knowing that the Real Deal will soon be signed and sealed for Mourinho.

Serie A: Milan derby preview

Posted in European Football by peterbein on January 21, 2010
Milan 0 Inter 4

The first Milan derby of the season was emphatically won by Inter

At 20:45 local time on Sunday the second “Derby della Madonnina” will begin between Milanese giants Internazionale (46 points from 20 games) and AC Milan (40 pts, 19 games). Six points separate the sides and this has turned what is normally a grudge match anyway into something even more significant as both sides have separated from the rest of the league as the only likely challengers for lo Scudetto.

On Matchday 2 of the 2009-10 Serie A campaign the two sides met with experienced campaigner José Mourinho leading his Inter team to an emphatic 4-0 victory over a Milan side whose new coach Leonardo found the going tough in the opening weeks of the new season. Goals from Thiago Motta, Diego Milito and Maicon had already put the game beyond the Rossoneri by half-time before Dejan Stanković sealed the deal for the Nerazzurri with a long range strike midway through the second half. However one can only guess that, on current form, Inter won’t be finding their neighbours such an enticing proposition as Milan, and especially their charismatic talisman Ronaldinho, are in great form having only dropped three points in their last nine league games whilst Inter have stuttered in recent weeks scoring eleven points from eighteen available.

This particular fixture usually brings about the best in either one team or the other as there hasn’t been a drawn derby game in Serie A since October 2004. In the last nine derbies Inter have been victorious on six occasions including a ‘double’ in 2006-07, a result which, if repeated this Sunday, will extend Inter’s lead at the top to nine points albeit having played a game more. However if Milan can keep up their great recent form with a win against the champions they’ll close the gap to a mere three points which they can then equal with a win in their game in hand. Out of all permutations for Sunday’s game it is the latter option which is most important if the title race is to become a nailbiter. After being ‘given’ the Scudetto in 2005-06 due to the “Calciopoli” scandal, Inter have almost strolled their way to another three more titles by margins of 22pts, 3pts and 10pts in the last three championships. If Inter are to be denied being only the second team to win five Scudetti in a row (after the great Torino side of 1943-49) then it is imperative for the Rossoneri’s big guns to show on Sunday.

News from Milan’s camp has not been positive on the injury front. Players such as Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf are doubts whilst Pato will definitely sit the game out with a thigh problem. Inter have some problems of their own as two of the scorers from the 4-0 win this season, Motta and Stanković, are doubts and Sulley Muntari pulled up with a thigh strain in training earlier this week. Despite these problems both clubs have any number of players who can make a difference but one feels Milan have the advantage as they have Ronaldinho playing his best football since he left FC Barcelona, David Beckham looking like he hasn’t been away from the San Siro and Marco Borriello whose confidence has shone through in recent games, especially the 5-2 win over his old club Genoa. Inter will miss their top scorer Samuel Eto’o due to his participation in the African Cup of Nations but they still have potential matchwinners in Mario Balotelli, Goran Pandev and Diego Milito. Either way it makes for an exciting derby match which, hopefully, will set the scene for the rest of the season.

Champions League – Group Stage Round-Up: Part Two

Posted in European Football by peterbein on December 10, 2009
Fiorentina v Liverpool

Gamberini (left) competes with Liverpool's Fernando Torres in Fiorentina's 2-0 win on Matchday 2

In the second half of our look at the Champions League group stage “Stoppage Time” focuses on groups E-H:

GROUP E (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS, FIORENTINA, LIVERPOOL FC, DEBRECENI)

The biggest disappointment in this year’s competition, without any doubt, was five-time European champions Liverpool. After the opening group match against Hungarian champions Debreceni the Reds were caught short against group rivals Lyon and Fiorentina. Too many mistakes at crucial times proved Liverpool’s undoing and this was emphasized in the last minute of Matchday 6 where Alberto Gilardino was able to capitalize on a defensive error to give Fiorentina the three points needed to top the group. Lyon were impressive throughout especially in their games against Debreceni, against whom they scored eight goals without reply in two matches. Fiorentina finished top on fifteen points, two more than Lyon, whilst Liverpool have to be content with a Europa League place finishing on a dismal seven points in a group they were widely expected to qualify from. Debreceni’s maiden Champions League finished, as expected, in last place but no doubt their team would’ve enjoyed the experience.

GROUP F (FC BARCELONA, INTERNAZIONALE, RUBIN KAZAN, DYNAMO KYIV)

This was the most open group in the Champions League. All four teams harboured hopes of qualification to the Round of 16 prior to Matchday 6. In the end the big boys, FC Barcelona and Internazionale, managed to qualify but they were made to work hard for their place. Jose Mourinho’s Inter had the upper hand in their final game at home against Russian champions Rubin Kazan thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Mario Balotelli whilst European champions FC Barcelona had to come from behind to beat Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine 2-1. Goals from Xavi and Lionel Messi were sufficient for the Catalans to finish top of the group, two points clear of Inter. Rubin Kazan’s first season in the Champions League provided much drama, the 2-1 win against Barcelona in the Camp Nou was one of the highlights of the tournament so far. However they just didn’t have enough killer instinct to put the group to bed but at least they can be content with a Europa League place. For Andriy Shevchenko and his Dynamo side it’s another disappointing exit from a European campaign but they should be back next year barring a dismal second half to the domestic season in Ukraine.

GROUP G (SEVILLA CF, VfB STUTTGART, UNIREA URZICENI, GLASGOW RANGERS)

Sevilla were the clear winners of the group remaining undefeated through the campaign. Their 4-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox Park on Matchday 2 was their most convincing of the tournament thus far. The chase for second became a Matchday 6 “cup final” between VfB Stuttgart (who fired coach Markus Babbel and replaced him with Christian Gross in the weekend prior to the game) and Unirea Urziceni (coached by Chelsea legend Dan Petrescu). The German side started like a train and were 3-0 up inside eleven minutes. Despite Unirea pulling a goal back early in the second half the Germans managed to preserve their lead and the three points allowed them to overtake the Romanians into second place. Unirea go into the Europa League whilst Glasgow Rangers must swallow their pride and be hopeful that they can be back next season.

GROUP H (ARSENAL, OLYMPIAKOS, STANDARD LIEGE, AZ ALKMAAR)

Arsenal were comfortably the best team in the group and had already qualified for the Round of 16 when they went to Greece to play Olympiakos on Matchday 6. They played a young team with an average age of 21 but Arsene Wenger’s men couldn’t maintain their unbeaten record in Athens going down 1-0. Zico’s Olympiakos finished second thanks to some good results earlier in the tournament against Standard Liege and AZ Alkmaar. The third and fourth placed teams came up with some drama of their own on Matchday 6 in Belgium. Dutch champions AZ took the lead in the first half through Jeremain Lens and they held on to their advantage until five minutes into stoppage time. A free-kick was whipped in at pace and among the crowd of players in the penalty box was Standard’s goalkeeper Sinan Bolat who headed home to gain the ‘Liegeois’ a precious point and a place in the Europa League.