2006 Learners’ Podcast 9: End-of-Year Football Review

For this End-of-Year Football Review learner’s podcast we look back at some of the main footballing stories from the past year.

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The learners’ report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. For this end-of-year learner’s podcast we look back at some of the main footballing stories from the past year. We hope you enjoy it.You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above, while there is also a worksheet here

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Transcript: Review of 2006

2006 draws to a close and there have been some memorable moments in football. Here we look back at some of the highs and the lows from the past year.
Now, back in January the African Cup of Nations took place in Egypt with the home side beating Ivory Coast in the final on penalties. Not the first time this season a final would be decided this way.

In February, Wigan in the Premier League for the first time in their history managed to reach the Carling Cup Final, also for the first time, but were eventually thrashed by a more-experienced Manchester United, 4-0. However, Alex Ferguson’s team were not enjoying the same success in the English Premier League as Chelsea dominated from start to finish to win their second title in a row. But it was in the FA Cup Final in May which saw the most excitement of the English 2005-6 season. Underdogs West Ham were leading 3-2 in the last minute of the game when Gerrard scored a long-range effort. Heartbreak for West Ham who came so close to winning before eventually losing out on penalties to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool team.

In May the two European finals saw matches involving Spanish and English clubs with Sevilla thrashing Middlesbrough 4-0 in the UEFA Cup Final and Barcelona coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 with a Julian Belletti goal.

In other European leagues, Celtic won again in Scotland and Lyon won their 5th French title in a row, Barcelona won their second consecutive championship while Bayern Munich won in Germany. However, there was chaos in Italy where a scandal involving club officials, referees and match-fixing caused ‘scudetto’ champions Juventus to be stripped of their title and relegated to Serie B. Inter took their place as champions. Italian football was not the only country with problems as there was problems in Germany with a refereeing scandal, transfer bungs in England and crowd trouble in France, Holland and most seriously, in Argentina.

But the most important sporting event of 2006 was the World Cup in Germany and to celebrate it we launched D&D World Cup Podcasts. We were not the only new members at the tournament, however, as Togo, Ivory Coast, Ukraine, Ghana, Angola and Serbia Montenegro all made their debuts too. Brazil were hot favourites to win a sixth title but it was their South American rivals, Argentina that started really well, scoring two of the best goals of the competition in the group stage. But they ran out of steam against the hosts Germany in the quarter-finals where England played Portugal again. Rooney’s sending off did not help and yet again England left a major tournament in the last 8 on penalties. Two days after the game and Damon was still feeling quite upset.

Damon: Well, I have got to say that I was really, really upset that they lost. I couldn’t believe it. I thought they deserved to win. I thought the referee stunk. But on reflection a couple of days later, you think, well, over the whole tournament did they deserve to get further? No, they didn’t. Did Portugal? Hmm. I don’t think many people would be supporting them to win the final. Did they play very well? Yes, they did in places, defence. Did they dive very well? Of course they did. Did they influence the referee? Perhaps they didn’t need to, he was already influenced. But, yes, I’ve got over it I think.

Damon did however correctly predict a French victory over Brazil in their quarter-final match while I successfully tipped Italy to beat Germany in the semi final, which they did thanks to the ‘gol di Grosso’. When the two teams met in the final on July 10th, this is what we thought would happen.

DF: Now if it were France what would your scores be?

DB: France versus Italy in the final? I’d say that would be a much closer game. I can see that going 1-1, in extra time and finished on penalties.

DF; Wow, and which team would take it?

DB: I reckon France would bottle it.
DF: Italy to win on penalties in the World Cup Final?

DB: Yeah, yeah.

And of course, Italy went on to win their 4th World Cup as Damon had predicted, on penalties. But the biggest talking point of the game was Zinedine Zidane. What a way to finish!

Since then, club football has dominated with two teams already celebrating surprise championship wins, Estudiantes in the Apertura in Argentina and Urawa Reds in the J-League in Japan, while Internacional are the new World Club Champions.

At the half way stage in Europe Lyon, PSV, Inter and Celtic are well clear in the French, Dutch, Italian and Scottish Leagues. While Manchester United and Chelsea are involved in a two-horse race in England and in Spain, Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid are all fighting for the title there, and in Germany there are 4 teams involved for the championship, Schalke, Stuttgart, Bayern and current leaders, Bremen. It promises to be another great year for football in 2007.

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