By Bez Saciri | September 4th, 2012 | Category: Sports, Features |
My 2012 summer vacation may not go down as one of the most exciting summers of my young adult life, but there were some moments that I will always remember.
After I got back from a very successful spring quarter at Ohio, all that was on my mind was UEFA Euro 2012. I wanted to see how my predictions would hold up, but most of all I wanted to see how my favorite national side would do.
I remember June 10 very well. There was a lot of buildup to the Ireland v. Croatia fixture, as the loser was surely done considering that the next two opponents waiting for both nations were Italy and Spain.
Croatia started fast and never looked back as a Mario Mandzukic brace and a tidy finish from Everton ace Nikica Jelavic gave the Croats a convincing 3-1 over the Irish. I was pumped to say the least. Luka Modric was his typical self and the pairing of Mandzukic and Jelavic worked perfectly.
Even though they won their group opener, things went downhill from there. They drew 1-1 against 2006 World Cup champion Italy, which meant they needed a result against defending World Cup and Euro champion, Spain. Even though they lost to Spain 1-0 in the dying moments and Italy claimed second spot in the group with a 2-0 over sorry Ireland, I came away impressed with how Croatia played.
My prediction of Germany winning the Euros proved wrong. I thought there main nemesis was Spain, but I guess Italy takes that title as they earned a shock 2-1 over the favorites in the semifinal. Spain proved they are one of the greatest international sides in history as they crushed Italy in the final, 4-0. Spain became the first national side to win three straight major tournaments.
This summer, I went back to work at the same factory as I did in 2011. I was a part of the assembly line at a place called Jeld-Wen, which produces windows and doors. I worked a lot of hours, but I did make good money which is helping me pay for school.
After my long days of work, I played some video games like FIFA 12 and MLB The Show 12, I listened to a lot of music, but most of all, I kept in touch with the transfers in world soccer.
There were so many rumors that my head was spinning. But I love following this stuff. The first big domino fell when Lille star Eden Hazard decided he was going to join Champions League winners Chelsea for $50 million. Chelsea did not stop there, adding Marko Marin, Oscar, Victor Moses, Thorgan Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta as well. They spent over 80 million pounds.
There were two main transfer sagas that I will always remember from this past summer.
First, Robin van Persie, the double footballer of the year in England last year, left North London outfit Arsenal for bitter rivals Manchester United in a 22 million pound deal. I could not believe Arsene Wenger would sell his best player to one of his fiercest rivals, Sir Alex Ferguson. The saga lasted for months and even though Arsenal finally spent money on good quality players, they are left to rue what could have been this season.
Let’s put this in perspective for you non-soccer followers. On Sunday, Arsenal– who, by the way, are one of the best clubs in world soccer–drew their first two games 0-0, scored their first two goals of the season as new boys Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla gave the Gunners a deserved 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. Over on the south coast, Manchester United came from behind to defeat newly-promoted Southampton 3-2. Would you like to know who scored all three of United’s goals? You guess it! van Persie himself. He scored against Fulham last week in an entertaining 3-2 win for Manchester United at Old Trafford as well. If you are keeping track at home, that is RvP 4, Arsenal 2. It’s safe to say they miss him.
Lastly, my favorite player, Luka Modric was involved in a transfer saga himself with Spanish giants Real Madrid interested in his
services. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is known for being a tough negotiator and Real Madrid found out firsthand how tough he can be. Eventually, after the move was considered dead on several occasions, a 33 million pound deal was concluded last Tuesday. Modric won his piece of silverware with Real as they beat Barcelona over two legs to win the Spanish Super Cup.
Well, that’s my summer in a nutshell. I know there has been a lot of soccer talk, but it is my favorite sport to watch and follow. Hopefully you all had good summers. I look forward to writing more for Speakeasy this year and I hope I can write more soccer stories. Look out for my UEFA Champions League preview, which should be available to read by the end of the week. Good luck, everyone.