Barca! Barca! Barca!

Barca! Barca! Barca!  What a game, what a day, and what a performance.  On a day that the whole world was watching, Barcelona returned to the top of the European mountain.  Barcelona and Juventus both came into the match with a great plan, and both for the most part executed their plans for 60 minutes.  Barcelona opened the scoring early with an amazing move, in which all 10 outfield players touched the ball during a 16 pass move that ended with Neymar feeding Andres Iniesta who slide the ball to Ivan Rakitic and he place the ball into the back of the net.  3 minutes into the game and the third fastest goal scored in a final.  Barcelona kept the pressure on and if it weren’t for some amazing saves from Gigi Buffon, it would have been over by halftime.  However it was just 1-0 at half and Juventus had hope.  Then Marchisio won the ball back and played a magnificent backheel to Lichtsteiner.  Lichtsteiner then passed the ball to Tevez who turned and shot on goal.  Ter Stegen made the save, but the rebound fell to Morata and he smashed it into the net.  The score was 1-1 and it was really game on.  The tie did not last long, as just 13 minutes after Morata scored, Rakitic won the ball and found Messi in some pace.  He was able to drive the ball towards the goal and get off a great shot that was beaten back by Buffon but fell perfectly for Suarez to hit back into the net.  2-1 to Barcelona.  Neymar would add a stoppage time goal and finish the game off.  3-1 to Barcelona.  The Champions League trophy would be going to Barcelona for the 4th time in the last 10 years.  This was Barcelona’s third trophy of the year, and they became only the second team ever to win the treble.  This is their 5th European title, which ties them with Liverpool and Bayern Munich for third most all time.  Juventus in the process are now the team that has lost the final the most after losing their 6th final.

What an amazing end to what was a great season.  I have really enjoyed writing about it all season and can’t wait for next season to start.

Lastly, a look at some summer soccer events.

The Women’s World Cup has already begun in Canada and will take place from now until the final on July 5th.  This should be a really competitive tournament, as it has expanded to 24 teams and allowed for more nations to enter the tournament.  The tournament consists of a group stage and then a knockout stage.   There are six groups.  The winners and runners-up from each group advance as do the top 4 third place teams.  The favorites for the tournament are the United States, France and Germany.  Many people expect Canada to do well at home also.  Japan is the dark horse for the tournament, or as much as a defending champion can be.  Other teams to watch would be Australia, Brazil, England, and Sweden.  The following nations are making their first ever appearance in the final; Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Netherlands, and Ecuador.  It should be a great tournament and will be interesting to see what happens.

Predictions:

Group Winners: Canada, Germany, Japan, USA, Brazil, and France

Semifinalist: USA vs Germany and Japan vs. Australia

Final: Germany vs. Japan – Winner Germany

The Copa America is set to start this week in Chile.  The tournament is the national tournament for nations in South America.  The tournament starts on June 11 and ends on the 4th of July.  The tournament consists of 10 members from CONMEBOL and two members of CONCACAF.  CONMEBOL is the governing body of all the South American nations and CONCACAF is the governing body of all the Caribbean, Central, and North American Nations.  The defending champions are Uruguay.  The winner of the tournament of best placed CONMEBOL team will play in the Confederations Cup in 2017 in Russia.  The tournament consists of a group stage and then a knockout stage.  There are three groups of four teams.  The winners and runners-up in each group advance to the knockout stage, as do the two best third place teams.  Group A consists of Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, and Bolivia.  Group B is Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Jamaica.  Lastly, Group C has Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.  This tournament will host some of the best players in the world.

Predictions:

Group Winners: Chile, Argentina, and Brazil;

Group Runners-up: Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia;

Best Third Place finishers: Ecuador and Paraguay

Semi-finals: Chile vs Mexico and Argentina vs. Brazil

Finals: Chile vs Argentina – Winner: Argentina

Lastly, if you are interested in watching some soccer over here in the states, the 2015 International Champions Cup is being held all over the summer. The games start on July 11th and run until July 29th .  The games start with what should be Steven Gerrard’s first match for the LA Galaxy, as they host America from Mexico.  The teams involved are America (Mexico), LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls (USA), Manchester United and Chelsea (England), Benfica (Portugal), Fiorentina (Italy), Barcelona (Spain) and Paris Saint-Germain (France).

Here is a list of all the games:

July 11, 2015 – LA Galaxy vs. America – Carson, CA

July 14, 2015 – San Jose Earthquakes vs. America – Carson, CA

July 17, 2015 – America vs. Manchester United – Seattle, WA

18 July 2015 – Paris Saint-Germain vs. Benfica – Toronto, Canada

21 July 2015 – Fiorentina vs. Paris Saint-Germain – Harrison, NJ

21 July 2015 – LA Galaxy vs. Barcelona – Pasadena, CA

21 July 2015 – Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Berkeley, CA

22 July 2015 – Chelsea vs. New York Red Bulls – Harrison, NJ

24 July 2015 – Fiorentina vs. Benfica –  East Hartford, CT

25 July 2015 – Manchester United vs. Barcelona – Santa Clara, CA

25 July 2015 – Chelsea vs. Paris Saint-Germain –  Charlotte, NC

26 July 2015 – Benfica vs. New York Red Bulls – Harrison, NJ

28 July 2015 – Barcelona vs. Chelsea –  Landover, MD

28 July 2015 – América vs. Benfica – Mexico City

29 July 2015 – Manchester United vs. Paris Saint-Germain –  Chicago, IL

I will be taking a bit of a break but will chime in from time to time.  Make sure you check out the twitter handle as I see transfer news that can change the face of the game.  Have a great summer!

@SoccerPond

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