Barca Bash 2011

I recorded the Champions League final the other day, intending to watch it that night. But I didn't feel well, so between that and taking care of the kids, I didn't get around to watching it until tonight. Alas, I already knew who won, but I still watched it.

It was quite the impressive display of talent. At about the 80 minute mark, I noticed the announcers saying that someone (I think it was one of the players or coaches) saying that the top of the Champions League has more talent than in the World Cup. I'm not sure that that's true, but I must admit that I'm not sure it isn't, either.

Anyway, ManU started out playing very well, dictating play for the first ten minutes or so, but it was all downhill from there. They did manage a goal in the 34th minute off a broken play, but they were utterly dominated from about the tenth minute on. Measure it any way you want, and Barca had the better of it. It still took quite a while for them to get their second and third goals, but with the chances they were getting, you knew goals were coming.

ManU's goalkeeper, I thought, had a pretty good game, despite the final score. He didn't have any really spectacular saves, but he saved everything you'd realistically think he might stop.

What's left to say about Messi's play? He is just unbelievable with the ball in tight spaces. He was muscled off the ball a few times, but not often. And the one time they gave him space around the box, he scored. (And a pretty goal it was, too, into the upper corner from just outside the box.)

Rooney had a very nice play that led to his goal, and generally looked very good as well. I will say, though, that after scoring, when his teammates all crowded around him, he looked like he was thinking, "Damn, these guys are lucky to have me on their team". He didn't look at any of them, nor did he return any of the hugs or any of that. You'd think, at the least, he'd have a gesture of thanks for the guy with whom he did the give-and-go just before the shot.

But other than that, the story was just one of Barca dominating in the midfield, controlling the ball, and attacking whenever they felt like it.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't be soccer without talking about the diving. I will say it was better than many World Cup teams. I wasn't keeping a careful count, but I only remember five or six dives (all but one of them from Barca, which didn't surprise me). So it wasn't as bad as I expected, at least.

In any event, congratulations to Barca and their fans for a very well-played game. I would have been a bit happier, I think, with a ManU win, but there was no question that the better team won.

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