The Toronto Raptors got creative announcing their starting lineup the other day, and it’s pretty great.
Ramble of the Day
I’ve very much enjoyed this string of Champions League and Europa League matches, and I think it’s because I like knockout tournaments. We usually have a big international tournament around this time of year anyway, so it’s almost simulating the normal times even though the reminders of the pandemic are right there in front of us. That’s not really why I’m enjoying this stretch of games or why I like knockout tournaments, really.
I find that the single elimination format really raises the stakes that maximizes entertainment value. It doesn’t always create the most exciting game — Atléti-Leipzig, for example, was probably the leas tfun of the four Champions League quarterfinals this year — but like I said, it creates a higher possibility for more fun games. The single game also gives a greater chance for teams like Lyon and Shakhtar Donetsk to make it to the semifinals, and it’s pretty easy to root for those underdog-like teams to enjoy deep runs (especially if it has nothing to do with your team).
I don’t know how feasible it would be to replicate something like this in normal times — that’s probably the argument for the extended Club World Cup in the slot formerly occupied by the Confederations Cup. I also don’t know if you really need to — particularly in the case of the Champions League, it’s already very entertaining in its normal setup. I will, though, make an argument that the Europa League will benefit from a full knockout format, a bit like a tennis tournament. From the qualifiers all the way to the final. I feel like the Europa League could develop a reputation of being a tournament where teams have to take on one giant after another, especially if you still allow the Champions League rejects to come in and try to mess things up.
I get why the Europa League will probably never scrap the group stage, and I’m fine with it. I’m just saying doing it full knockout style might be fun, and that it’s a free idea.
tl;dr: Ramblings on the single elimination knockout style to close out this season’s Champions League and Europa League. Also, I think the Europa League should stick with it.
Links of the Day
Barcelona fired manager Quique Setién after a seven month spell in charge.
Real Sociedad signed David Silva on a free.
Stuart Pearce rejoined the West Ham coaching staff.
Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen will be out until October with a knee injury that requires surgery.
The 2020 U.S. Open Cup was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A longer read: Sarah Hughes interviews Julie Welch, the first woman to cover football for a major U.K. newspaper and writer of Those Glory, Glory Days for The Guardian