San Siro's Siren Call: 2015-16 UEFA Champions League

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Juve had a few major missed chances to get a third and Muller makes them pay. Bad clearance by a Juve player -- I think Evra. He tried to dribble out of the trouble and got dispossessed, when he could have gone for a more simple clearance.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Felt a lot like the 2014 Final, where Atletico worked so valiantly to defend a lead, got caught in stoppage time, and then was second best in extra time.

Good for Juve, though -- the game winning goal for Bayern came because Juve was pressing forward with positive play trying to get a winner themselves and so were vulnerable. They didn't try to ride it out for penalties or anything. It was a really good game.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Juve had a few major missed chances to get a third and Muller makes them pay. Bad clearance by a Juve player -- I think Evra. He tried to dribble out of the trouble and got dispossessed, when he could have gone for a more simple clearance.
I feel for Juve, but as far as being the goat, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
 

SocrManiac

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Morata gave and Morata took away. He put Juventus up 2-0 with his run that Cuadrado finished but had awful misses.

Dybala would have stolen it.

Also... That was some truly horrific refereeing in both directions. Totally lost control. The blown offside that stole a goal looms large. Flip it around and he missed Lewandowki offside by four yards. Horrible.
 

Schnerres

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It was a good game, definitely. Bayern lacked some ideas and in the end, they were fighting and going into the tackles with more intensity. In the last 20minutes in regulation time, you could see Juve was fighting for survival, but still had some occasional counterattacks. In the first extratime, Bayern took a step back and just held on with no attacking intention.
It was a really close fight between two heavyweights. Bayern is obviously missing their defensive leader Boateng (joined the onfield party). I see why Pep likes Kimmich as a CB, because when Bayern dominates an opponent, he can start the buildup with his passing (he´s a regular DM). But when he gets under pressure, he makes mistakes and has no cover like he´s used to. He´s young, he will learn, but i don´t understand why Pep is raving about the guy ("I love Joshua Kimmich" quotes everywhere). Benatia played a bad game. Alaba played like a winger in the first half, it was more stability with Bernat as LB and Alaba in the middle.
If Bayern draws another heavyweight (Barca, Real, Atleti), they are in trouble. Boateng should be back in April, but i think a matchup with Wolfsburg or Benfica would be much easier. Let´s get some quarterfinal battles :)
 

bosox4283

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My rankings:

1. Barca
2. Bayern
3. PSG
4. Atletico
5. Real Madrid
6. ManCity
7. Benfica
8. Wolfsburg

There is a huge gap, of course, between 1-2 and 7-8. I imagine everyone wants to draw Benfica and Wolfsburg.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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Just finished watching a recording of Juve-Bayern, holy crap that was one of the more intense matches I've ever seen.

Group winners making the Quarterfinals: 6, plus PSG and Benfica, who were runners-up to Real and Atleti respectively. No real upsets in the R16 unless you count PSG roasting Chelsea, which I don't.
 

bosox4283

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My rankings:

1. Barca
2. Bayern
3. PSG
4. Atletico
5. Real Madrid
6. ManCity
7. Benfica
8. Wolfsburg

There is a huge gap, of course, between 1-2 and 7-8. I imagine everyone wants to draw Benfica and Wolfsburg.
Atletico gets the worst draw, getting paired with Barcelona. This year is the third in a row when Atletico has played a Spanish team in the quarterfinals: Barcelona two years ago, Real Madrid last year, and Barcelona this year.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid gets the easiest draw. Awesome.
 

Zososoxfan

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My rankings:

1. Barca
2. Bayern
3. PSG
4. Atletico
5. Real Madrid
6. ManCity
7. Benfica
8. Wolfsburg

There is a huge gap, of course, between 1-2 and 7-8. I imagine everyone wants to draw Benfica and Wolfsburg.
That looks right to me. I think you could argue that PSG could potentially fit behind Atleti and Real, but PSG beat Chelsea more convincingly than Atleti beat PSV. Real beat Roma handily, but their league form is not inspiring. Forced to choose, I'd go 3. Atleti, 4. PSG, 5. Real.

Anyway, the QF is set:

Wolfsburg v. Madrid
Bayern v. Benfica
Barca v. Atleti
PSG v. MANC

I really think that the confederation restriction should be in place until no longer possible. In other words, Madrid, Barca, and Atleti should not be drawn together and should all have a chance to play in the semis if they're good enough. For me the fun of UCL is seeing how teams from different leagues stack up against each other, for example with PSG against MANC. If Real and Atleti are the two best teams in UCL and have to play each other in the final, then I'm obviously fine with it. But, Barca v. Bayern and Atleti v. Benfica or Atleti v. Bayern and Barca v. Benfica would be a more interesting QF IMHO. Moreover, I think this has to have substantial ramifications for the coefficients. So, while Spain is guaranteed at least 1 and no more than 2 in the semis, there's also no chance that they have 0 nor that they get 3 in (like 2 years ago).
 

Vinho Tinto

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For me the fun of UCL is seeing how teams from different leagues stack up against each other
If that's your interest, you'll watch the non-EPL Europa League matches. The CL is now a circle jerk for the top 6 money clubs in Europe. This competition has taken months to set up the same matchups we've seen for at least 4 years. It's not proving which league is the strongest, but which mega-club is the king.

Moreover, I think this has to have substantial ramifications for the coefficients.
Whose coefficient is being harmed? Spain has 6 clubs still in Europe. They have such a large lead over Germany they could take a zero next season and still be the top ranked league. The four strongest leagues during my lifetime are still pretty far ahead of everyone else. The EPL was only threatened by Serie A for 4th because they don't value the Europa League at all (And Juve had a surprise run to the CL finals). Those clubs make so much money from their domestic broadcasting that it's not worth their time to compete in the Europa. Frankly, I'm waiting for the day where they start opining that competing in the Champions League isn't worth their while over finishing as high as possible in their domestic league.
 
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Schnerres

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I like the draw. It would have been best if Real played the 1st leg at home and then would have been forced to come away with a good result, like Bayern and Barca are.
The draw could help City, although i see PSG as the favourite to advance. I hope for Atletico to hold it close in the 1st leg, I fear Bayern destroys Benfica, although i don´t know much about the Portuguese to build a serious opinion about their defensive behaviour. Wolfsburg usually has a solid home/road split, so this draw could end up close, if they win their home match with two goals and score away. They have the attacking power to score away, but their defense isn´t the best, so they could also receive a bunch of goals (like the Lewandowski-flurry a few months ago).

Guesses (not what i think is most likely):
Bayern vs. Benfica 4-0, 2-1 (6-1 aggr.)
Barca vs. Atletico 1-1, 0-0 (1-1 aggr., Atletico advancing on away goals)
Wolfsburg vs. Real 2-1, 1-2 (3-3 aggr., WB advancing on penalties)
PSG vs. Manchester City 3-1, 1-2 (4-3 aggr.)
 

Zososoxfan

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If that's your interest, you'll watch the non-EPL Europa League matches. The CL is now a circle jerk for the top 6 money clubs in Europe. This competition has taken months to set up the same matchups we've seen for at least 4 years. It's not proving which league is the strongest, but which mega-club is the king.



Whose coefficient is being harmed? Spain has 6 clubs still in Europe. They have such a large lead over Germany they could take a zero next season and still be the top ranked league. The four strongest leagues during my lifetime are still pretty far ahead of everyone else. The EPL was only threatened by Serie A for 4th because they don't value the Europa League at all (And Juve had a surprise run to the CL finals). Those clubs make so much money from their domestic broadcasting that it's not worth their time to compete in the Europa. Frankly, I'm waiting for the day where they start opining that competing in the Champions League isn't worth their while over finishing as high as possible in their domestic league.
I certainly am interested in Liverpool-Dortmund and Villareal-Prague, Braga-Shahktar, not so much. If Spurs had cared about Europa, Spurs-Dortmund would've been a fun tie too. To your point about UCL, I get that the tourney is about figuring out what club is best, but there's also an entertainment factor involved and it's more fun as a neutral observer to watch international matchups as much as possible. We've seen Barca and Atleti battle plenty in the last 12 months, and if they really are both top 4 clubs right now, then they should rightfully meet in the semis. Having the QF be federation-restricted (if possible) would accomplish that.

As for the coefficients, I believe they look back 5 years, right? If that's the case, it's hard to say what the landscape will look like then. Although as you say, if the lead is that large it probably doesn't matter. I thought it might be a secondary consideration for the argument above.
 

coremiller

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The case against nationality restrictions is that it gives teams from very strong countries a competitive advantage in an otherwise unseeded draw. If Barca, Real, and Atleti really are 3 of the best 4-5 teams left (which I don't dispute), then it would be a real advantage for each of them to be protected from drawing the other two, and it would penalize the other non-Spanish clubs.

I'm more in favor of nationality restrictions in the Europa League, because the EL doesn't have any pretense about trying to fairly determine a champion. Unlike the CL, it has no raison d'etre beyond entertainment, and it's more fun to watch clubs from different countries play each other.
 

bosox4283

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The case against nationality restrictions is that it gives teams from very strong countries a competitive advantage in an otherwise unseeded draw. If Barca, Real, and Atleti really are 3 of the best 4-5 teams left (which I don't dispute), then it would be a real advantage for each of them to be protected from drawing the other two, and it would penalize the other non-Spanish clubs.

I'm more in favor of nationality restrictions in the Europa League, because the EL doesn't have any pretense about trying to fairly determine a champion. Unlike the CL, it has no raison d'etre beyond entertainment, and it's more fun to watch clubs from different countries play each other.
It kind of does since the winner of the Europa League gets a spot in next year's Champions League. For clubs like Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, this perk is huge.
 

teddykgb

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I like the draw. It would have been best if Real played the 1st leg at home and then would have been forced to come away with a good result, like Bayern and Barca are.
The draw could help City, although i see PSG as the favourite to advance. I hope for Atletico to hold it close in the 1st leg, I fear Bayern destroys Benfica, although i don´t know much about the Portuguese to build a serious opinion about their defensive behaviour. Wolfsburg usually has a solid home/road split, so this draw could end up close, if they win their home match with two goals and score away. They have the attacking power to score away, but their defense isn´t the best, so they could also receive a bunch of goals (like the Lewandowski-flurry a few months ago).

Guesses (not what i think is most likely):
Bayern vs. Benfica 4-0, 2-1 (6-1 aggr.)
Barca vs. Atletico 1-1, 0-0 (1-1 aggr., Atletico advancing on away goals)
Wolfsburg vs. Real 2-1, 1-2 (3-3 aggr., WB advancing on penalties)
PSG vs. Manchester City 3-1, 1-2 (4-3 aggr.)
On current form, City were probably the worst team left. I'd have expected both Wolfsburg and Benfica to knock them off. PSG Is probably the ideal draw in the sense that City won't be favored and will probably show them enough respect to try to Chelsea their way through the tie. Nonetheless, I think PSG walks that tie in the end, City are really dire right now.

I think Benfica will give Bayern a real run but Bayern have Muller and he always finds a way. Barca and Madrid likely both advance for me as well. Real are another paper tiger at the moment but I think they have enough to cope with Wolfsburg.
 

Schnerres

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Today:
Bayern - Benfica
Barca - Atletico
Tomorrow:
Wolfsburg - Real
PSG - City

I don´t know what to watch today.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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Well I certainly know what to watch tomorrow. City looked worlds better with De Bruyne back - and Aguero is healthy right this minute.
 

teddykgb

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City looked better but they're nowhere near the form needed for this one. I don't expect much.

Both of today's matches would be a blast to watch. Too bad I'm at work. It's a non league matchup and that Benfica team can be really plucky.
 

bosox4283

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I. Can't. Wait.

Godin is back from injury, which is huge for Atletico. But the gain from Godin's return is tampered a bit since Gimenez and Savic, the second and third CB options, are out. Simeone has to go with Lucas, the 20-year-old. Vamos, chaval.

And, in an unexpected move, it seems that Simeone is going with an--wait for it--offensive line-up. Rather than Augusto, one of the team's DMs, Simeone is going with Carrasco. Atletico may be going with a 4-1-4-1, with Gabi in back and Griezmann moving back a bit. Or it means Sa or Koke will be playing more centrally with Gabi.
 

Schnerres

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2nd minute, (Barca didn´t even start), Bayern is up 1-0! Way too much time for Bernat on the left wing and it´s a nice header for Vidal!
 
Dec 21, 2015
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Goal for Atleti! Torres makes Pique and Mascherano look like pikers and has a decisive cut through the defense with a confident finish, a few minutes after Messi and Neymar each made a hash of an opportunity. I'm rooting for Barca, slightly, but that was pretty.

I have to ask, though: what the hell was Ter Stegen doing? The shot went right between his legs! Exactly what was he taking away from Torres - the "put it right into the keeper's chest" angle?
 

Schnerres

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Fernando Torres makes it 0-1 for Atleti! Barca dominating possession so far and basically no chance for Atleti until the goal. Perfect passing and bad central defending. I don´t know if Rakitic missed someone, but Pique went out and didn´t get the ball and then it was a huge gap between Mascherano in the middle and Dani Alves who came in for Pique to cover in the middle. Torres just shot it at the goal and shot it through Ter Stegen´s legs.

Edit: A hard shot which comes 10m in front of the keeper and you can´t react when your feet are planted. There´s not a single thing Ter Stegen can do different than try to get a foot on the ball, but the mistake wasn´t on him, for sure.
 

teddykgb

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Shots at feet are complete hell for keepers. Especially today, they're all so tall and they're taught to get as big as possible and challenge the shot. They just can't sort their feet out fast enough on a ball hit directly at them with pace.
 

Schnerres

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Say what you want about refs making mistakes, but this match (Barca-Atleti) will be unwatchable in the 2nd half. The poisoned atmosphere on the pitch is already in full effect. It´s so annoying. The two yellows for Torres were both soft, but you could give them, i think.
I watch a tv station which switches between both matches and it´s a blessing when it´s back to Bayern-Benfica, even if it´s not the best match you can imagine.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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Was a fair second yellow for Torres - BT's commentators called it "stupid" and "unfathomable" and I'm inclined to agree. His first is given 80%+ of the time, his second maybe 50% of the time, but none of them were huge reaches.

And yeah, this is going to become even more of a street fight than it already was. I may switch my second screen from this game back to the Sox at halftime in a minute.
 

swiftaw

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Not watching, but just saw a picture, are both Atleti and Barca wearing their away kits?
 

SoxFanInCali

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3 goals in the Barca-Atletico game, all from 2 ex-Liverpool strikers, one of which left the club within an hour of the other one signing.

Back to the Europa League thread for me...
 

bosox4283

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Well, shit. The best I can say is that the result is not end-of-the-world bad. I think it's possible for Atletico to win 1-0 or 2-1 at home. I should say, too, that in the last two matches against Barcelona, both of which Atletico lost 2-1, Atleti looked better than Barcelona when Atletico was at full strength.

I think any rational Atletico fan will recognize that Torres made two foolish tackles/challenges that were playing-with-fire with yellow cards. Someone above wrote that maybe the first challenge gets a yellow 80% of the time, while the second gets one 50% of the time. Sure, it sucks that the calls did not go Atletico's way, but it's all on Torres that he gave the ref the opportunity to make the decision. Torres is a veteran: he should know this.

Suarez is such an amazing striker but such a shithead. The Spanish paper As thinks he should have been showed a red for his attempted hit / tackle / take-out of Juanfran (or maybe Godin) in the first half, and Marca thinks he should have been off in the second half for his whack of Filipe Luis. But the dude can score.
 

GBA

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Well, shit. The best I can say is that the result is not end-of-the-world bad. I think it's possible for Atletico to win 1-0 or 2-1 at home. I should say, too, that in the last two matches against Barcelona, both of which Atletico lost 2-1, Atleti looked better than Barcelona when Atletico was at full strength.

I think any rational Atletico fan will recognize that Torres made two foolish tackles/challenges that were playing-with-fire with yellow cards. Someone above wrote that maybe the first challenge gets a yellow 80% of the time, while the second gets one 50% of the time. Sure, it sucks that the calls did not go Atletico's way, but it's all on Torres that he gave the ref the opportunity to make the decision. Torres is a veteran: he should know this.

Suarez is such an amazing striker but such a shithead. The Spanish paper As thinks he should have been showed a red for his attempted hit / tackle / take-out of Juanfran (or maybe Godin) in the first half, and Marca thinks he should have been off in the second half for his whack of Filipe Luis. But the dude can score.
I'm an idiot and forgot to record the games so I haven't seen the Suarez incidents, but can you really trust the opinion of those papers (especially Marca) when either barca or a Madrid based team is involved? Is my Suarez man crush showing?
 

bosox4283

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I don't know. I don't think Suarez should have been shown the red, but he continually does strange things, some of which are really bad ideas.

 

Zososoxfan

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Really entertaining matches yesterday. Bayern pip the early goal and threaten often, but Benfica did have some chances to break out. Still not likely to threaten Bayern.

In the Atleti game, Torres only has himself to blame. Like Bosox said, he's a veteran and he gave the ref a chance to send him off legitimately. On the Atleti goal, I actually think Sergio was the main culprit. When the ball was over on the right flank for Atleti, Alba, Iniesta, and Neymar were in position to defend. Sergio cheated over to that side and when Atleti knocked it towards the middle, either Suarez was responsible for closing down the defender and got there late, or Sergio again cheated towards the Atleti player in possession leaving space in behind. Pique went to close him down and Masche was too late covering in behind Pique. Really, it was nice movement and linking by Atleti, but Sergio should let Suarez or the weakside MF (Rak) pickup the ball in that situation and stick on the player who ended up making the assist. After the red, Barca really struggled to break down an organized and stout Atleti. Messi couldn't complete his moves, Suarez was being shut down effectively in the middle, and while Neymar threatened, the defending was great. What really changed the complexion of the game was the play of Dani Alves. While Alba is a great player with incredible pace, he really isn't creative. Alves' touch is incredible and his creativity allows Messi and the midfielder(s) on his side extra fractions of seconds to pry open the D. Both Barca goals were the product of pinpoint crosses by Alves. Normally, Barca has the chops to slice apart a D down the middle or through dribbles, but against a narrow and compact defense the play of the width players really gets highlighted and Alves delivered the goods. All that being said, not a terrible result for Atleti who is definitely capable of beating Barca 1-0 or 2-1 at the Calderon in the return leg.

Very excited to see what today brings.
 
Dec 21, 2015
1,410
On Suarez, the commentators reviewed those incidents at halftime and after the game, and while not committing on whether he should have been sent off, did say that all good strikers "play on the edge" and that the same intensity and ferocity that makes him effective also makes him a bit of an asshole. They cited Rooney as another example, someone who goes absolutely nuts if they're not getting touches and chances in half an hour of play. And Suarez was basically blanked for the first 30 minutes yesterday.

Not an excuse, of course. If he'd been carded for either one, no Barca fan could really complain.
 

Gunfighter 09

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Other than Diego Costa is there any player in the world who deserves less benefit of the doubt than Suarez? How is that dirty cheap shot artist not getting an extra share of referee's attention on plays away from the ball? The man does incredible shit, but he is a menace and it is all so predicable that when he is not getting his run he is going to act out like a child.
 

teddykgb

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As crazy as Costa is, Suarez deserves less benefit of the doubt. To answer your question, Barton, maybe Pepe. Ballotelli is more crazy off the pitch than on. Wasn't Cassano a nutter?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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On Suarez, the commentators reviewed those incidents at halftime and after the game, and while not committing on whether he should have been sent off, did say that all good strikers "play on the edge" and that the same intensity and ferocity that makes him effective also makes him a bit of an asshole. They cited Rooney as another example, someone who goes absolutely nuts if they're not getting touches and chances in half an hour of play. And Suarez was basically blanked for the first 30 minutes yesterday.

Not an excuse, of course. If he'd been carded for either one, no Barca fan could really complain.
I think the play with Juanfruan was a no doubt straight red. Anybody who has ever played soccer has been in that position a million times of trying to block a clearance or pass with your left foot reached out and/or elevated. Proceeding to then plant that left foot and kick the guy in the leg/nuts with your right leg is completely unnatural. Its not a matter of momentum or an accidental collision- he did it purely intentionally, whether out of frustration or to hurt the opponent. He should have been sent off and if it was a different team playing in a different stadium he probably would have been.
 

Zososoxfan

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The plays in question from the second half (0:14 and 0:19) are likely both fouls, but neither rises to the level of a card. The foul on Juanfran is either a straight red or yellow if seen. Bullet dodged on that one for Barca for sure.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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Agreed on both. The officials must simply not have seen the one in the first half. The second-half sequence in the clip above struck me as being fouls, but not hugely cardable; the second bit (with Godin) might even be a flop by Godin. If they see the first half one, though, it could be yellow or red and either way no one could fairly complain.
 

Schnerres

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Ronaldo almost makes it 1-0 after 72 seconds, but it was offside (correct, but very close). I think Wolfsburg didn´t touch the ball until that point...
 

Schnerres

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Dante with a remake of himself in the WC semifinal against Germany. Just old and slow.
And now it´s a penalty for Wolfsburg...
 

Schnerres

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Marcelo misses Henrique on the wing and Ramos misses Maxi Arnold in front of the goal and it´s 2-0 Wolfsburg! Hold the defense boys!