The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
It’s Friday, which means it’s time to look out across the brooding river toward the lights on the far shore, and wonder where the current will take us when we cross through the matches ahead. I’ll be testing the waters at…
Ghana – Ivory Coast (17:00 GMT, 12 PM US Eastern Time) — The third-place match in the Africa Cup of Nations could easily have been the final, and has the potential to be a really delirious game: two attacking teams, one the home side in the tournament, playing for pride in a fantastic atmosphere with no reason for caution and no real pressure to win. No telling whether the teams will be motivated after their semi-final losses, but I’m looking forward to this more than to the relatively dull slate of Premier League matches (I’m talking to you, Middlesbrough v. Fulham) on Saturday.
Sevilla – Barcelona (21:00 GMT, 4 PM US ET) — A high-stakes match between a Sevilla side that seems to be finding its form and a depleted Barcelona playing without seven of their usual starters. Sevilla are just one spot out of a European place, and Barça are closing in on Madrid at the top, so both clubs could use the win.
Man Utd – Man City (13:30 GMT, 8:30 AM US ET) — Will the Man City supporters fall into Man Utd’s diabolical trap and ruin the minute of silence for the victims of the ’58 Munich air crash? Will they prove themselves to be no true gentlemen? Forum threads grow like vines across the stone wall of the internet. The game might be worth watching, too.
Chelsea – Liverpool (16:00 GMT, 11 AM US ET) — Without Torres, Drogba, Essien, et. al., and with Liverpool now only nominally in the big four, this match may break records for failing to live up to hype. I’ll probably turn to the Cup of Nations final at noon, but it must be said in the face of a potential Chelsea victory that Rafa Benitez is a genius and the fact that Tom Hicks is a bastard is all the proof you should need.
Cameroon – Egypt (17:00 GMT, 12 PM US ET) — Now that Angola is out (after a valiant quarterfinal loss to Egypt), I’m not supporting anyone in particular in the Africa Cup of Nations, and I’m looking forward to the final largely as a clash of styles: the patient, methodical, defensively sound Egyptians vs. the more erratic and inspired Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions (still a preening nickname, by the way) have all the stars on their side, but Egypt have been the most balanced group and arguably the best overall team in the tournament. It should be a fascinating match; I hope there are people in the stands to see it.
What else are you interested in? Will Udinese – Juventus be exciting, or is that asking too much? I’m always eager to hear your thoughts about whatever matches you see, so feel free to drop a line in the comments section if you see the light in the window and need a place to rest.
Read More: Another Lost Weekend
by Brian Phillips · February 8, 2008