What to look forward to over the summer

26 May

Now that Premier League is over til August, here’s what you have to look forward to over the summer…

1.  Champions League final – Manchester United vs. Barcelona – Wednesday, May 27 – Rome, Italy
The two best teams in Europe with the best two players in the world will be playing for the title of champions of Europe.  It’s been billed as Messi vs. Ronaldo, but I think that it will really come down to Barcelona’s backline.  They lost Rafa Marquez to a knee injury and will be without a couple other defenders due to suspension.  Barcelona also will need to take more shots – when you have a clean look anywhere close to the box – just take it, don’t try to get too fancy with the passing.  This game has the potential to be brilliant, make sure to watch it on ESPN on 1:30 p.m. ET.

2. World Cup Qualifiers – June 6-10 – Around the world
The World Cup qualification process continues with another two games at the beginning of June.  The US men play at Costa Rica on June 3 and then host Honduras on June 6.

3. Confederation Cup – June 14-28 – South Africa
The Confederations Cup is essentially a practice run for next year’s (!!!) World Cup.  Eight countries will be competing and there are some good matchups (Group A: South Africa, Iraq, New Zealand, Spain – Group B: USA, Italy, Brazil and Egypt).  Group B is definitely stronger and it will be fun to see how the US stacks up against Italy and Brazil (especially Italy since the last matchup was an ugly 1-1 draw in the 2006 World Cup).  A good performance in South Africa could give the US a lot of confidence.  Brazil won the 2006 edition of the tournament in Germany.

4. CONCACAF Gold Cup – July 3-26 – USA
The biannual tournament will be hosted in locations across the United States.  There are three groups of teams participating, including the 2007 champion United States.  Group A: Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica. Group B: Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, United States. Group C: Guadaloupe, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama.

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