To the delight of nobody, I’m back with this week’s football TV guide. There was a plethora of Under 21 and Confederations Cup group stage games last week, but how is the week looking now both competitions have reached the knockout stages?
Monday 26th June
As the previously mentioned tournaments take a day off, we can enjoy a very random start to the week. Remember when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managed Cardiff City? What a time that was. He’s now manager of Molde back in his home country of Norway, sitting 6th in the Eliteserien. But fear not Ole fans, a victory in Monday’s clash away at 13th placed Stromsgodset could lift his side up to 4th, just outside of the European qualifying places. It’s at 6pm and can be found on the usual betting sites. The most tedious link I can find in either team is that Stromsgodset have former Crystal Palace and Ipswich left back Jonathan Parr on their books. Did you know there is one English manager in the Eliteserien? 34 year old Ian Burchnall is in charge of the excellently named Viking. They’re bottom of the league…
Tuesday 27th June
When I was planning this article I was all set to bring you TNS vs College Europa in the first round Champions League qualifier. It hardly seemed fair that the Champions of Wales would play some sort of European college, but it turns out College Europa are the champions of Gibraltar. No pressure lads but last year’s Champions beat Celtic 1-0. Anyway, enough of this, because the events of Saturday night has brought us the latest chapter in an old rivalry.
In the European Under 21 Championships, England have managed two wins and a draw to top their group. Unfortunately, such is the bordering insane rules of the competition, if the best runner up came from Germany’s group, they would face the winner of England’s group. Rumours that Alanis Morissette has added a line to her 90s hit Ironic to include “It’s like winning your group, and still getting Germany in the semis” have so far proved wide of the mark. It’s at 5pm and Sky will have Martin Tyler describing our latest disappointment.
Wednesday 28th June
Again, as much as Linfield vs Florita in the Champions League qualifiers captures my imagination, I have to say I am looking forward to Portugal vs Chile in the Confederations Cup semi finals. Portugal have been quite dour in recent years, in my opinion, but their current crop of players are complimenting Ronaldo well, with Silva’s Bernardo and Andre looking to be worth every penny of their big summer transfers. Chile are always a good watch, I just hope both teams go for it. I’m pretty sure they will, there’s not much to gain by grinding out for extra time, and I don’t think it suits either team. Also, constant pest Pepe is suspended, which can only help. The cherry on the cake is that ITV have this, as they have the whole tournament, with a 7pm kick off.
Thursday 29th June
The other semi final is Germany vs Mexico, also at 7pm on ITV. It might not be Germany’s first team but all German footballers are fitted with the Tournament Gene at birth which means they’ll be in the latter stages regardless, except for a brief spell from 1998 until 2001 when a manufacturing error resulted in consecutive tournament disappointments for Germany, even doing the unthinkable and losing to England at Euro 2000. The faulty footballers were mostly discarded after a certain heavy home defeat in September 2001 and it’s been largely better ever since. Anyway, enough of my drivel. This should be another good game, Mexico are no pushovers either and again I’d expect it to be open. That or I’m desperate for football and I just think any game is brilliant at the moment.
Friday 30th June
OK, we have a slight problem here. The obvious main event on Friday is the European Under 21 Championships final. However, we don’t know who it’s between yet. Germany and England clash on Tuesday as mentioned above, but the second semi final is Italy and Spain. I watched Italy vs Germany on Saturday night and my word it was dull, as both teams settled for the result that saw both advance. Fancy that. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of Spain but they seem to be the fancied team having won all three of their group games. In summary, I need another game.
To the relief of everyone, there are League of Ireland games on Friday night. I’ve picked the one with a tedious Premier League link, and that is Drogheda United vs Limerick. Drogheda United have a pair of former Sunderland players in Sean Thornton and Stephen Elliott. That perhaps explains why they are 10th, in the relegation zone. Limerick meanwhile are managed by Willie Boland. There once was a man named Willie…
Saturday 1st July
Honestly, make plans for Saturday. You know how I’m always saying the Swedish League is the league to watch? Come on, I’ve always said it. Well, at 5pm on Saturday (on selected betting sites) you can see what I mean as Halmstad play Elfsborg. I can’t wait. Halmstad are in the relegation zone, whereas Elfsborg are 8th (out of 16). But here’s the twist. They are captained by former Man City keeper Kevin Stuhr Ellegaard. I know, right!? He made four appearances for them so you know, a real household name. Seriously, make plans. Any plans.
Sunday 2nd July
I know I had this pickle on Friday but I’m not going searching anymore. The Confederations Cup final is on, ITV at 7pm. If you want more, and I imagine you do, the 3rd place playoff is on at 1pm. If you wanted to see a match where literally nobody cares about the result, watch the third place playoff in the Confederations Cup. Imagine being able to say you came third in the Confederations Cup. Hopefully whoever is in this match plays a goalkeeper up front or something. The final itself I’m sure will be quite the time. Whoever is in it will no doubt put on a great show but will ultimately end in the usual manner – with a Germany win.
That’s all from me this week, whether I can face this without the lure of two tournaments remains to be seen. When does pre-season start?