For the last few weeks, second place teams all across Europe have been hoping for a miracle. This past week, all those hopes were shattered as the winners of the three major European leagues (England, Spain, and Italy) all became mathematically determined. The strange thing, however, was that in none of those three cases did the first place team need to win their games in order to be crowned champion.
In England, a tie is all Manchester United needed to claim the Premier League, and as anyone who watched the match knows, they’re pretty lucky that they even got that. They tied their game against Arsenal 0-0 with absolutely no shots on goal from Manchester. This was enough to ensure them their third Premier League title in a row.
In Spain, Barcelona had an even less exciting match. Since Real Madrid lost 3-2 against Villarreal the night before, all Barcelona had to do was show up and they would be given the league. Well, they showed up, but they didn’t do much more, and ended up losing 2-1 on Sunday after Mallorca came from a goal down to beat them in their first game since winning the Spanish Cup. It looks like they’re on their way to what could become a historic season.
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) four days before, this past Wednesday, in magnificent fashion 4-1 against Athletic Bilbao. With the champions league final coming up against Manchester United next week, they may be on their way to what Spaniards call “el triplete.”
Italy was slightly more interesting. Although Inter Milan was in a very similar position to Barcelona, they actually came out and played a good game, winning 3-0 against Siena. This is their fourth league title in a row.
Although the champions have been crowned, some teams are still battling it out for Champions League qualifying positions. Meanwhile, others are fighting just to avoid being relegated to the second division next year, and still others are preparing for European finals. So no worries! There’s still some soccer to watch before the summer starts.
E-mail Gordon at: firstname.lastname@example.org.