Congratulations to Barcelona for having won the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final before it’s even started. Such is the confidence and expectancy among the Barcelona players and supporters. Almost everyone expects Barcelona to win today, so they can take their rightful place in the UEFA Champions League Final, right?
All around the world today, millions of soccer fans will gather around the television sets and computer monitors at the pubs, restaurants, offices and homes to watch the much anticipated match between Barcelona and Chelsea. On paper, Barcelona should cruise to victory at Camp Nou. They have the far better team. They have more creativity in midfield to create a hatful of chances. And they have the clinical finishers up front who are so precise. It’s a foregone conclusion that Barcelona will win today. After all, this is the best football team ever assembled.
No matter what happens today at Camp Nou, Chelsea’s footballers can walk away with their heads held high. This is a team that was so close to getting knocked out of the Champions League by Napoli. That was until Andre Villas-Boas got the sack, and in walked Roberto Di Matteo to boost this squad with common sense decisionmaking by the manager — putting the veterans back into the squad, solidifying the defense, returning the team to tactics and formations that they were better suited for and, most importantly of all, being a manager that the players could believe in and rally around.
Sure, Barcelona lost El Clasico. Sure, Barcelona is down 1-0 on aggregate to Chelsea. But there’s no reason, no matter how well Chelsea plays today, why Barcelona cannot win this match and win it convincingly at home in front of their supporters. Barcelona is preordained to be in final. They’re invincible. Indestructible.
In closing, here are some stirring words from Winston Churchill, with a little creative license used, that capture the mood before the match:
“We shall fight in Spain, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”