Champions League Semi-Finals 2022!!!

Wow! The Champions League has provided us with some exhilarating football, notably from Liverpool and Man City showcasing why the Premier League stands out from their fellow European counterpart’s leagues.

Man City had a slender 1-0 advantage from their 1st leg to take to the Wanda Metropolitano, home of Atletico Madrid. Notoriously, Atletico have previous of being the masters of the dark arts; embodied by head coach Diego Simeone and this game was no different. Real clash of styles with City’s elegant brand of football trying to combat a well drilled defence who sought to soak pressure and hope to hit devastatingly on the counter. However, a barrage of fouls from Felipe and Savic saw the former see red for 2 yellow card offences and the later was very lucky to avoid seeing red after sprinting 30yards to chase down Phil Foden; grabbing by his shirt in what is a microcosm of what Atletico gain their success from. For supporters of the domestic teams, City were able to hold onto their advantage from the first after holding out for a 0-0. On face value, you might think it was a tedious game, much on the contrary, it was electric from start to finish and had every little bit of “s**t-housery” from Madrid; meanwhile Liverpool played out an exhilarating game with Benfica to book their place in the Semifinals. (6-4) on aggregate after 2 legs.

Unfortunately, England’s representatives did have a casualty inflicted by the Spanish. Chelsea had a mountain to climb after falling foul to a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge knowing that a 2-0 win at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu would be enough to see them through. Seems easy enough, but Real Madrid had never lost 2-0 to an English side in the champions league at home, so the odds weren’t looking great for a blue revival. Incredibly, the Blues raced into a 3-0 lead with 15mins to go and were looking good for the semifinals until an absolute work of art from a veteran in the game Luka Modric picking out an exquisite pass to substitute Rodrygo who set up extra time. Madrid’s European knowhow saw them through after a 4th goal in this clash for Karim Benzema that saw Chelsea win the game 3-2 but lose the tie 5-4 on aggregate.

Other tie saw the Yellow Submarine (Villarreal) pull off a shock at the Allianz, dumping out Bayern Munich. Unai Emery has drilled this team into his philosophy having won the Europa league last year and now 180mins away from a Champions League final.

Semi Finals

From Russia To Paris

Following Russia’s ghastly, inhumane invasion of Ukraine, authorities have hit Russia with sanctions widening from economic sanctions on Russian Oligarchs or to sporting sanctions in which this article will cover.

This year’s Champions league final was originally scheduled to be held at the Krestovsky Stadium on Krestovsky Island in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This honour of hosting one of the most watched sporting events across the continent if not the world was rightfully revoked by UEFA following the Kremlin’s military offensive against Ukraine.

So, where did UEFA relocate the final? Wembley Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were all under consideration, but following the disgraceful scenes we saw at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final with fans breaking into the stadium, that made UEFA’s decision much easier than everyone had anticipated.

Decision made: 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷

Stade de France, Saint-Denis

When is the 2022 Champions League final?

  • Date: Saturday, May 28
  • Time: 9 p.m. local / 8 p.m. GMT / 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: Saint-Denis, France (north of Paris)
  • Stadium: Stade de France

Who is going to book their ticket to Paris and lift the holy grail of winning Europe’s most prestigious prize. Let me know!!!

Medals for Team GB curlers:

The 24th Winter Olympics came to a conclusion with a spectacular closing ceremony in the national stadium and ended with the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing to Milan/Cortina for the 2026 Winter Olympics. Norway had resounding success at these games, topping the medal table (16 gold, 8 silver and 13 bronze- total of 37) ahead of Germany (27 medals) and host nation China who garnered a total of 15 medals.

For Team GB, it was an underwhelming games compared to the summer games of years gone by. One of the hopes for a medal was on 35year old, experienced Dave Ryding, but unfortunately finished 13th in the men’s slalom after making a big mistake which ate into his time and saw him drop out of medal contention quite quickly.

These games didn’t offer much hope for GB to win any medals with British hopefuls dropping out of medal contention quite quickly, the hopes were pinned upon the curlers to salvage any hopes of medals. The Men’s team had a successful round robin campaign only suffering one defeat to the 2018 Olympic champions in the USA which paved the way for them to advance to the semi finals. Bruce Mouat (skipper) and his team faced a tough task in the semi finals, up against the Americans who were chasing down back to back gold medals led by the vocal John Shuster. The game played out very similar to the round robin stage with Shuster showing his experience in some of his shots, but every shot was matched by Mouat and his team ultimately seeing GB round up as 8-4 winners, guaranteeing them with at minimum a silver medal. The success of the men was matched by the women who also had advanced to the gold medal match after overcoming the 2018 champions Sweden 12-11 in what was a tense watch with Anna Hasselborg forcing an extra end being played.

From Left to Right- Milli Smith, Hailey Duff, Jennifer Dodds, Vicky Wright and skip Eve Muirhead
Left to Right- Ross Whyte (alternate) Hammy McMillan Jr, Bobby Lammie, Grant Hardie and skip Bruce Mouat

Beijing 2022 was looking like it would end up ending as a nothing event for Team GB, yet very much ended up the complete opposite with curling salvaging the games for GB. The Men up against Sweden and the Women up against Japan in their quest for gold medals. Unfortunately Team GB were nudged out of a golden finish to their Olympic games by the swedes led by Niklas Edin who had finally won the elusive Olympic gold medal in what was his fourth attempt with an extra-end victory over Bruce Mouat’s resilient British side and running out 5-4 winners.

Surely, GB would walk away with a gold in the curling as both team’s efforts warranted a gold. Thankfully, in the early hours of Sunday (20th Feb) morning UK time, Eve Muirhead’s team stroke gold and absolutely thrashing Japan 10-3, leaving skip Muirhead full of emotion as they had replicated the success of Rhona Howie’s team 20 years ago in Salt Lake City 2002:

“It’s a dream come true,” “That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It’s such a special moment.”

Eve Muirhead speaking to BBC Sport following their success in Beijing

Personally speaking, I was so proud watching these two teams win medals at these games, it’s clear that the hard work they put in prior to Beijing had paid off with some of the play that we had the privilege of watching and their achievements inspired the nation in organising large watch-long’s to the finals and for many to adventure out and take up curling.

If you want to take up curling, follow this link- https://www.trycurling.com -and find your nearest rink.