Sunday, December 17, 2006

Well, We Got Here

In spite of a moment of minor panic on the train out of Tokyo, we made it to Yokohama in one piece. It's finals day, no less, so there are two matches being played on this final day of the World Club Cup, with Ahly SC taking on Club America for third place before the main event - Barcelona vs Internacional. To my considerable surprise, they're not even showing the final live here, and I can't even find a listing for it on the radio. As I write this, Sepp Blatter is sitting in a conference room (he's got more of a tan than I remember him having, and it looks to me rather as if he has put on a few pounds as well). Sadly (or otherwise), the English language television is belting out all of his answers in Japanese... Damn. They've turned it over, and now I can hear EVERY WORD OF WHAT HE HAS TO SAY.

So, time enough to let you know what I will be up to today. I'm off for a wander in a moment, and will be back at 4.00 local time with a preamble for today's two live matches. Some of you may be wondering whether I've footballed myself out this week, and I can only answer that question by saying that I was up at 1.30 this morning watching Arsenal claw a point back against Harry Redknapp's woefully dour Portsmouth team. That Matthew Taylor is destined for better things that that lot, I can tell you. The two matches are Ahly SC vs Club America, which kicks at 7.20 GMT, and Barcelona vs Internacional, which kicks off at 10.20 GMT. It would be lovely to see you here for either or both of these matches.

For the record, the tide of certainty that Barca are going to win handsomely this evening has been turning, somewhat, A repeat viewing of Barca's win on Thursday night has demonstrated that they were rather handed the victory by a woeful performance from Club America. Combine this with the fact that everybody was surprised at how poor Internacional were against Ahly SC in their semi-final match (the widespread rumour is that they got quite a telling off afterwards, and rightly so), and we could be in for a much tighter game that many may expect. Having said that, though, one would be a fool to bet against Barca this evening, such is the wealth of talent that they have at their disposal. I'm also, for the record, backing Ahly to beat Club America this afternoon. Ahly have been a tidy team so far, and were slightly unlucky to get knocked out by Internacionale. CA seem to still be suffering from the hangover that has been afflicting them since their recent Mexican League play-off defeat by Chivas of Guadalajara. Blanc and Lopez, the main men, have looked out of sorts, and I just don't think they've got what it takes to win this one. Could be a tight match, though.

Right: I'm off to have a wander around and compose some words for "The Star Spangled Blatter", and I'll be back later on. All I need is a microphone and a blank CD, and I could leave my mark on this tournament before the action even starts.


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