The Women World Cup speaks American again. The U.S. retained the world title conquered four years ago in Canada by topping European Champions Netherlands 2-0 in the Final played on Sunday in Lyon. The USWNT, coached by Jill Ellis, triumphed via a penalty by their influential captain Megan Rapinoe, and a sharp left-foot shot by Rose Lavelle.
The Azzurrini did their job, but their fate doesn’t depend on them anymore. Luigi Di Biagio’s Under-21 selection defeated 3-1 an already-eliminated Belgian side on Saturday, but Spain’s simultaneous 5-0 routing of Poland qualified the young Furias Rojas as first from Group A of the U-21 European Championship. Chances for Italy to advance as best runner-up are dim.
The starting grid for the upcoming Serie A season will look familiar to the most aficionado fans of Italian football, as the elevator from the second division sent back three clubs with a remarkable history in the top level of calcio. Brescia, Lecce, and Verona won a ticket to the big show at the end of a tormented Serie B season.
Italy, it’s reality-check time already. A lone goal by Krystian Bielik gave Poland an unexpected win over Luigi Di Biagio’s Azzurrini in the second match of Group A of the U-21 European Championship. Italy are now at risk of missing the train to the next stage of the tournament. Even beating Belgium next Saturday could not be enough to book a place in the Semifinals.
Italy U-21 finally broke a spell made of multiple setbacks against the same-aged Spaniards, defeating Luis de la Fuentes’ side 3-1 on Sunday in their opening match in Group A of the U-21 European Championship. The young Azzurri came from behind to level Dani Ceballos’ lead with a double by Federico Chiesa, before setting the score with a penalty by Lorenzo Pellegrini.
The Azzurri have learned to suffer. It was a battle with no quarter on Tuesday at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, where Italy knocked down Bosnia with goals by Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti, coming from behind in the second half to neutralize Edin Dzeko’s opener. Roberto Mancini’s boys caught the fourth win in four Euro 2020 qualification games.
Italy made it again to the Top Four. The Azzurrini beat Mali 4-2 today in Tychy, Poland to book a place in the Semifinals of the Under 20 World Cup, an achievement already reached two years ago by coach Paolo Nicolato’s squad. Italy’s next opponent on the way to the Final in Lodz will be Ukraine, which beat Colombia 1-0 earlier in the afternoon.
Seven is a charm for Jurgen Klopp. The German coach finally clinched a European Cup title leading Liverpool to a 2-0 win over Tottenham to conquer the Champions League 2018-19, and breaking a curse made of six international Final losses. Liverpool took a rapid lead with a penalty by Mohammed Salah, and controlled the game until Divock Origi’s late goal.
Maurizio Sarri came, saw, and won. The former Napoli coach led Chelsea to their first Europa League title, seeing off Arsenal in the Final in Baku with a storming second half. Eden Hazard scored a brace in what was likely his last match with the Blues, and goals by Jean Giroud and Pedro Rodriguez wrapped a comfortable 4-1 success against Unai Emery’s side.
It happened again. Yet another last minute comeback, to further embellish a Champions League edition that could arguably end up being the most exciting ever. This time, it was Tottenham’s turn to pull out the most incredible of victories, stunning Ajax with a shocking 2-3 late win that projected them straight into their first Champions League Final in their history.
Mohammed Salah’s t-shirt was prophetical. “Never Give Up,” it read. Liverpool wrote another page of a history made of impossible comebacks as they trashed Barcelona to reach the Champions League Final once again. The scorecard at Anfield Road read 4-0 at full time, an outcome that completely overturned what happened at the Camp Nou one week ago.
Ajax don’t want to stop. The white-and-red won 1-0 in London over Tottenham, and can now legitimately aim at reaching the Champions League Final for the first time in 23 years. A lone goal by midfielder Donny van de Beek stunned the Tottenham Stadium and the Semifinal debuting Spurs to secure his side a strong advantage in view of next Wednesday’s second leg.