International Football: Best and Worst of 2007
In that spirit, here are the three best things and three worst things that happened in the football world in 2007...
Best thing No. 3: Scotland becomes a competitive footballing nation again
As an Englishman, this is a hard thing for me to admit, but it's the truth.
Scotland's qualifying group for Euro 2008 must have made them groan when the draw was done—they had the current world champions and winners of Euro 2000 to contend with.
But they weren't deterred.
The Scots started their campaign with a flyer—and even when Walter Smith left to join Rangers, Alex McLeish kept the momentum going. Home and away wins over France were the highlights, and the team have right to hold their heads high.
Best thing No. 2: Wembley Stadium opens
After seven years of work, people were beginning to wonder if Wembley was ever going be finished. But finished it is—and what a magnificent venue it turned out to be.
I was glad to see football return to the home of football.
Best thing No. 1: Manchester United win the league
I was heartbroken to see the EPL crown ripped away from Chelsea, but United deserved it.
Winning is the be-all and end-all—and Alex Ferguson's boys won this one is style. The Premier League needed another classy champion, and nobody deserves it more than the oft-criticised but still-talented Ferguson.
Worst thing No. 3: The Carlos Tevez West Ham saga
The problems started when Javier Mascherano moved from West Ham to Liverpool, and some irregularities were discovered in the original move to West Ham.
Critics will say that West Ham should've lost points, but I didn't like the way the drama got dragged out for months, and even threatened to spill into the courtrooms .
This wasn't good for the Premier League.
Worst thing No. 2: England fails to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals
Enough said. At least Steve McClaren is gone.
Oh—don't forget the FA Cup Final's not being worthy of the new Wembley. Watching that game was like having my fingernails pulled.
Worst thing No. 1: AC Milan wins the Champions League
I have no problem with AC Milan as a club, but the fact is that they shouldn't have been in the Champions League at all because of the part they played in the Italian match-fixing scandal.
Supporters will argue that on appeal, Milan got their points back and earned their eligibility—but I say their being banned from the tournament would have made for a strong deterrent to future offenders.
The UEFA were powerless to give Milan the boot, as it's up to the Italian FA to decide who represents Italy in that tournament. UEFA officials have since changed the rules to give themselves the final say.
There you go—my best and worst of 2007. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
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