With their win over Cagliari on the final weekend of Serie A, Juventus have made history.
Well, Juventus already made history last weekend, when they beat Roma 1-0. Those three points took them to 99, surpassing the previous record held by Inter Milan. But this weekend’s win makes Juve the first team in Serie A to reach the 100-point mark, an impressive achievement.
The Old Lady were perfect at home throughout the season (the only team in Europe to hold that honor), losing just twice overall to finish out the year at 102 points. The tally sets records beyond Italy, with Juve setting the mark for all of Europe’s top-ten leagues.
Cagliari had nothing to play for, making it all that much easier for Juventus to run out 3-0 winners. The scoring began with a lovely goal from Andrea Pirlo – from a free kick, of course – in the eighth minute. By the 15th, Fernando Llorente’s tap-in had the hosts up 2-0. And it was all over by the 40th minute, when Claudio Marchisio scored the third.
Of course, Juventus took the Serie A title as well, ultimately finishing 17 points above Roma. That puts them at three consecutive scudetti, and takes their title holdings to thirty, with two titles having been stripped by the calciopoli affair nearly a decade ago.
With Juventus thoroughly dominating the league, they will use the summer to further strengthen their squad, in an attempt to progress further in the Champions League, where they crashed out of the group stage this season, despite facing rather weak opposition. The bianconeri will do their best to hold on to manager Antonio Conte, as well as Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal. They’re rumored to have already secured Patrice Evra from Manchester United, and are in hot pursuit of Barcelona’s Alexis Sánchez.
It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.
Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.
Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”
Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.
So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.
It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.
Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.
So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.
What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.
The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.
[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]
So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.