Tuesday 26 June
David Luiz has made the Brazil squad for the Olympics. As one of the overage players in an U21 tournament David is our first representative at the games. Unless that is, you count Adam Gemili the sprinter who finished second in his trial race behind a pumped up Dwayne Chambers. Adam is a surprise in the athletics world but trained with Chelsea for seven years until the age of 15.
More exciting still is the sponsorship tie in with Delta Airlines announced by the club today. We are not sure how much changes hands but the advantage of being European Champions is starting to become clear. Now we have official airline, beer, car and Formula 1 partners expect chocolate bar, logistics development, insurance, soft drink, anti-personnel weapon, celery and circus skills partner announcements over the next few weeks.
Wednesday 27 June
Spain beat Portugal on penalties doesn’t really do this swings and roundabouts match many favours. Note to Roy – Portugal did not sit in their shell and quake they had a go, playing three at the front – yes, Roy three – and pressing high up the field. They had by far the better chances in the first-half but needed to take them as they tired through the effort in the second and were hanging on in extra-time.
Raul Meireles put in one of his brilliant performances and was one of the Portuguese stars of the night.
Portugal’s kicks were woeful and yet when they beat England on penalties for much of the noughts they were supreme.
Thursday 28 June
After a couple of years of behind closed doors at Cobham the reserves will return to Griffin Park next season. Only the reserves will now be a U21 team with three allowed over age and the best academies in the country will form the league not just those of the top flight. No more regional nonsense either so long trips to Newcastle will become the norm. The hope is to create a competitive league that will cut the necessity of loans for developing players.
The youth team games (U18 from next season) and our NextGen matches will be playing at Staines Town’s Wheatsheaf Park so we’ll be able to watch Chelsea football three times a week.
Sunday 1 July
Spain 4:0 Italy
Well it ended with a bang as Spain sought to prove that they are more than a tika-taka cloud of possession and passing by slicing open Italy time and again.
The logic of playing with no striker suddenly became apparent as Italy’s back four sat and watched as Spain’s midfield ran through them. You have to have sympathy for Italy who could have taken a few of the chances made but finished by playing the last half-hour-or-so with ten men when one of their substitutes limped out.
Just as you were urging Italy to nick one back and make a finale of it, Torres came on and scored calmly before setting up Juan Mata for the final act of another blitz of football. Fernando Torres won the golden boot outright for that assist as he’d played fewer minutes than the others on three goals.
Say what you like the 16-team format produces short bursts of intense football just right for summers stuffed with cricket and tennis and the Olympics – a sad contrast with the World Cup’s 36 stodge-fest with another brand-new ball that doesn’t move in air.