Beyond Pairings, La Liga, Round 16

The draw for the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil showed us some interesting hand movements by the FIFA secretary, Jerome Valcke. Abracadabra and the first round of the next World Cup was settled.
Although Diego Maradona will not be one of the protagonists of the 2014 World Cup, he seized the opportunity to publicly join the overrated trend established by world media to give Cristiano Ronaldo the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or.

The Champions League draw for the Round of sixteen included a few footnotes. It is worth noting that the teams from the same country cannot play each other in this round. Another magical pairing will be due for the Quarter-finals.

An early Christmas present for many players that usually stand out as substitutes, the Copa del Rey. In this competition, the two teams in the Andalusian capital continue to show that they can barely cope with one game a week.

Also, let’s not forget Round 16 of La Liga that highlighted tight matches and even results. This can be attributed to the large number of professional competitions at the end of the year 2013 on the first place. Secondly, the large number of international protocol events showcased by world media and that has little to do with football.

Osasuna 2 – Real Madrid 2: the home team is rising up to the challenge set by high expectations. After Osasuna manage to take first points in La Liga from Barcelona, this behaviour repeated with Real Madrid. An attitude that demonstrates that the home team must still face it’s own shadow and try to maintain a spirit that reflects the level of football regardless of the team playing with. Unfortunately, Osasuna does not find the formula to climb higher in the leader board and misses out on opportunities against the weakest teams in La Liga.

Rayo Vallecano 0 – Granada 2: in the fight to avoid relegation, Granada has a clear idea: the commitment of the 11 players who are in the field in defence. Despite the victory, coach Lucas Alcaraz, delivered a phrase worth remembering: “In thirty years, football taught me that the horizon of pessimism and optimism lies within seven days.”

Barcelona 2 – Villarreal 1: a game with little brightness, considering that the two teams play a dynamic football. Villarreal continues to surprise most teams in La Liga, even those that are theoretically superior. Marcelino Garcia Toral’s work has to continue with humility! On the other side, Neymar sealed a perfect week with 5 goals at the Champions League and La Liga.

Real Sociedad 5 – Real Betis 1: Real Sociedad gradually stays within the first teams of La Liga. The team from San Sebastian has the scoring power and acceleration and just needing control during the ninety minutes of every game to balance out each performance.

Sevilla 1 – Athletic Bilbao 1: a game with a lot of friction and inaccuracies. Reality indicates that the home team missed their leader, Rakitic.

Atletico Madrid 3 – Valencia 0: the home coach confirmed that “I want to win and I always want more, in any situation, and I do not like the passiveness nor that the team becomes content with what it has.” As for the visiting team, it was the last game of Miroslav Djukic as coach of Valencia – a club which always demands results in the short and long term.

More results from Round 16:
Levante 2 – Elche 1
Malaga 1 – Getafe 0
Almeria 0 – Espanyol 0
Valladolid 3 – Celta de Vigo 0

Anything else to add? Yes. Beyond pairings, football is still unpredictable.

About Nico Argentato

Spanish and English teacher, Sports Psychology student and music enthusiast. An innate passion for movement and rhythm prompted my early development in the sports world; participating in most sports that involve a ball. Now, I am also looking for the words that can best describe that vital energy: the music in football and world sports.
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