Manchester United Ready for Champions League Semifinals

Manchester United Captain Gary Neville believes the team is well prepared to win this season Champions League due to the ability and the preparation the team possesses.

Last year the Manchester United was defeated by the AC Milan, but the team players think they can overcome Barcelona and prove they are better suited this new season.

Manchester Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has invested a lot of money in new players after making an exhaustive research he decided to bring Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves as well as the promising couple of Anderson and Nani to the squad.

Actually it was Tevez who scored the goal that marked the victory of Manchester over Roma and sealed the ticket to the semifinals 3-0.

Neville said "We have a great chance this season. Once you get to a semi-final anything we can happen. We are playing well at the moment and winning games regularly. Last year we were maybe not quite ready. to go all the way. The games and the atmosphere against Barcelona will be brilliant. There will be some great players on show. Both teams like attack.

Ferguson could even afford to leave 37-goal Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes on the bench with a crucial Barclays Premier League match against Arsenal to come on Sunday.

Also; Neville's words echoed into another experienced campaigner Ryan Giggs who was a Neville's team mate nine years ago when both of them used to play with the Bayern Munich. He agreed with what Neville had to say and also is expecting a great English final in Moscow; since the other two teams involved in the semifinals are the Chelsea who must face Liverpool in the next few weeks.

Giggs also thinks that Manchester has a lot of possibilities of winning over the Barcelona team since this season is not the best for the Spaniard team. He thinks the one who wins is the one who is going to perform better in two legs.

He also thinks that all of the 4 teams that are right now in the semifinals are capable of winning the Champions League this season.

"If you are not up for that game you will never be. Both are very good teams. It is nothing better than the two legs mentioned Giggs. happens on the day. Games against Barcelona are what you want, playing against great teams ".

Manchester United set a new record by having 11 straight home victories by defeating Roma last Wednesday.

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The 10 Best Moments In English Football History

1. World Cup Win (1966)

This was clearly the pinnacle of our Footballing achievements. Not a very exciting team, and we were at home, but it was a wonderful achievement. Sir Alf Ramsey had said as early as 1962 that we would win the 1966 World Cup and he saw through his promise. The four-two extra-time win in the final will live forever in the memory of any Englishman who saw it. I did, but I was only four. I kid myself that I can remember it, but I do not think I can.

2. Beating Holland in Euro (1996)

I do remember this one because I was there. What a night, what an atmosphere. Up to that point it was the best England performance I had ever seen. We destroyed the Dutch 4-1 by playing great football. Two goals each from Shearer and Sheringham wrapped up the game for the English. We conceded a late consensus goal which save England fans the unexpected bonus of stopping Scotland from qualifying! A good night all round.

3. Man Utd Winning European Cup (1968)

I just about remember this game. United beat a Benfica side, containing the great Eusabio, 4-1 after extra time. Goals from Bobby Charlton 2, Brian Kidd, and George Best sealed the win which was the first European Cup win by an English team. Celtic had won the trophy before, but no other English team had managed the feat.

4. Man Utd Winning European Cup (1999)

I am by no means a Manchester United fan but I have included this game because of the wonderful achievements of that particular United side, and also the dramatic fashion in which they won the game. The team from Manchester had already won the English Premier League and the FA Cup when they arrived in Barcelona looking for a remarkable and unique treble. The signs were not good when they fell behind to an early Bayern Munich goal. The German team continued to dominate the game, and going into injury time at the end of the match the United dream was all but over. The, in the space of a minute, substitutes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham, scored to seal a famous victory.

5. Liverpool Winning European Cup (2005)

I am even less less a Liverpool fan, but this most amazing of all comebacks has to be included. Playing against the mighty of the AC Milan side, Liverpool found themselves 3-0 behind before half time. The game was over. Surely there was no way back. Slowly but surely Liverpool edged their way back into the game and goals from Gerrard, Smicer, and Alonso took the game into extra-time. With Liverpool clinging on, and Dudek making some incredible saves, they took the game to a penalty shoot-out. The great Shevchenko missed for Milan and Liverpool had one an almost impossible victory.

6. Beating Scotland in Euro (1996)

I am not anti-Scot at all, but most Scots appear to be pretty anti-English. The Tartan Army depended on Wembley and their optimism was high. A first half Shearer goal put England in control, but Scotland clawed their way back into the game. With the Scots on top in the second half they were awarded a penalty. I have no doubt in my mind that if they had scored they would have gone on to win the match. The penalty was driven to Seamen's left, and he saved the ball with his elbow. Within a couple of minutes England had broken away to the other end and the genius that Paul Gascoigne scored a sublime goal to make the game safe. Happy days.

7. Winning 5-1 in Germany (2001)

On the 1st September 2001 England traveled to Munich to play a World Cup qualifier against Germany. We all feared the worst when Germany took the lead on six minutes. The next eighty-four minutes will live forever as the finest England performance of all time. A hat-trick from Michael Owen and goals from Gerrard and Heskey mean that England had achieved the impossible and beaten Germany 5-1 in their own back yard.

8. Beating Argentina in World Cup (2002)

At the World Cup in 2002 England were drawn in the same group as the highly fancied Argentina side. This game would provide a chance for England's David Beckham to exact some revenge against the nation against whom he had been sent off four years earlier. The celebrations of the Argentina players after that victory in 1998 had upset all of the English players, and this was built up into a serious grudge match. The script was perfectly written, and England won the game 1-0 with a scuffed penalty by David Beckham. A great win and a great moment for Becks.

9. Michael Owen's Goal Against Argentina (1998)

The World Cup quarter final match between England and Argentina will be remembered for many things. David Beckham's sending off, Sol Campbell's disallowed goal, two penalties in the game, and the dramatic penalty shoot-out won by Argentina. The one thing that stands out however is an eighteen year old Michael Owen receiving the ball on the halfway line with the score at 1-1. He ran at the defense and took the ball past the Argentine defense before smashing an unstoppable shot past the helpless keeper. It was one of the great moments in sporting history.

10. Drawing 0-0 in Italy to qualify for 1998 World Cup

It might seem strange to include a 0-0 draw in my top ten, but this was a magnificent performance by a very good England team. Needing a draw in Italy to qualify for the finals was hardly ideal. With a bloodied Paul Ince and the mercurial Paul Gascoigne running the midfield England were holding Italy quite comfortably until the final couple of minutes. Suddenly England broke away and Ian Wright was presented with a glorious chance to win the game. His shot hit the post and rebounded to an Italian defender. Italy counter attacked quickly and a cross was met by the head of the Italian striker six yards from goal with only Seamen to beat. He made good contact and the hearts of millions of English fans stopped working there and then. The unrestrained joy of realizing the ball had gone wide was one of my happiest footballing memories.

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Santa Eulalia – The Forgotten Saint of Barcelona

If you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Barcelona in the week of the 24th September, you’ll know from “La Mercé” festival week, that the patron saint of Barcelona is Our Lady of Mercy. There is however, a second saint who is perhaps a little forgotten – and it’s easy to see why. Read on to find out more!

The 12th February is the date of the second – perhaps not as well known – Patron Saint of Barcelona, Santa Eulalia. She has also been given the name of the patron of children. Dating as far back as the year 303AD, details are sketchy depending on who you speak to, but the legend lives on. 13-year-old Eulalia (affectionately known as Laia) protested to the then governor of Barcelona, Dacian, about the persecution of the Christians. Dacian was so enraged by the girl’s outspoken views that he ordered a punishment for each of her years, which were all extremely barbaric. The 13 punishments are not all clear, but what is clear from all accounts is that she never spoke a word during each torture. The poor girl was maimed with hooks, put in a barrel with broken glass and nails and thrown down a hill, hot oil was put on her wounds, she was whipped, placed in a box with fleas, and finally nailed to a cross in the place that is now Plaça Padró.

You would think that would be enough for the title of saint to be bestowed on the little girl, but the story doesn’t stop there.

Until the 9th century, her body lay in the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, when it was decided that her body be moved to the cathedral. A great procession of the city’s wealthy population (Eulalia herself was daughter of a rich family in the high part of town) followed the pall bearers until the gates of the city. Legend has it that the whole procession stopped, that the coffin had become too heavy to carry through the gates. Prayer ensued, and an angel descended and pointed a finger at one of the Canons, who admitted to have taken a finger from Eulalia’s body, as a keepsake. Once the finger was returned, the procession continued and to this day Santa Eulalia’s body rests – intact – in the cathedral’s crypt. The city’s gates were re-named “Puerta de Santa Eulalia” (gate of Santa Eulalia) until the city walls were torn down, and the spot is still called “Plaça de l’Àngel” or Angel Square.

The church at Plaça Padró (which used to house local radio station) has been undergoing extensive renovation work – I think part of it is to become a nursery – and locals have petitioned for the body to be moved again, to what they say would be her rightful burial place, and for the Plaça to be re-named. However, in this case and considering the history, I think it’s perhaps better to leave Poor Eulalia where she is!

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