Monday, May 26, 2014

Congratulations to Madrid

It has been a huge year for soccer in Madrid.  Atletico Madrid, which is normally overshadowed by the two Spanish giants -- Real Madrid and Barcelona -- won the Spanish League for the first time since 1995-96.  It was a thrilling race, as Atletico had to pull out a draw in Barcelona on the last day of the season to hold on for the title.  It was the first time since 2003-04 that neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona had won the Spanish title.

But that wasn't all.  Atletico Madrid had the chance to also capture the championship of Europe.  They reached the final of the Champions' League, only to find themselves facing . . . Real Madrid.  Atletico was going for its first ever European title, Real Madrid was going for its 10th.  For 90 minutes it looked like Atletico would pull off the double.  As the match went to extra time, Atletico was defending a 1-0 lead.  But N.C. State doesn't usually beat UNC, and Atletico Madrid doesn't usually beat Real Madrid.  Real scored to send the match into a extra time -- and then scored three more goals in extra time for a 4-1 win.  Real had its 10th European title -- no other team has more than 7.

So as we head off to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, here is where things stand in the world of soccer:

Defending World Cup Champion:  Spain
Defending European Champion:  Spain
Current Champions League Title-Holder:  Real Madrid (Spain)
Current Europa League Title-Holder:  Sevilla (Spain)

(The Europa League is basically the European version of the NIT).

No country has held all of these titles at the same time since West Germany turned the trick back in mid-1970's.  It is an amazing accomplishment.

Until 2010, Spain had never won the World Cup, and it was common to read articles psychoanalyzing Spanish soccer and trying to understand by Spain tended to underperform on the big stage.  But no one is writing those articles now.

No comments:

Post a Comment