Tags Posts tagged with "Round of 16"

Round of 16

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Chelsea's Frank Lampard, left , chases after Barcelona's Lionel Messi during their Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium in London,Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

Frankie Lampard faced Leo Messi more than once during his career and the Argentine star has never succeeded in scoring to Chelsea in all the previous encounters, where Lampard was present as well.

The Blues legend knows how to stop him and, besides this, he  rates Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, as the greatest player of all time, admitting his former club will need luck to stop him in his tracks.

However, Super Frank believes N’Golo Kante holds the key to try to stop him in this tie:

“Whoever is nearest to him has to take the responsibility to take that space because the minute you let him get his head up and run freely at you, you won’t get near him. I can say that from experience.

“There will be periods when you just have to back off. The problem is that being at home, there will be people wanting to see Chelsea have a bit of a go at them.

“But their players are that good, you have to back off to deny them the space where they can really hurt you.

“It is a fine line for Chelsea. They need to sit back but at the same time put pressure on him so he doesn’t become relaxed on the ball.

“This is where I think N’Golo Kante will be key. He is the one in Chelsea’s midfield with the abilities you need because he is so quick into the tackle.

“But it is important all 11 press their opponents, starting with those players at the top of the pitch.”




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Tomorrow night it will be a special one for Cesc Fabregas, who will face Barcelona, the side he grew up in, his childhood team, the one who gave him another chance signing him back from Arsenal before letting him move to Chelsea in summer 2014.

The Spanish midfielder shared his feelings and thoughts about this special game for him:

“It’s a big game for everyone I think, for the whole club, and I think for English football,” Fabregas explained to Chelsea website.

“It’s always great to welcome these fantastic teams in European football. It’s a massive night for the players, for the club and for English football in general. Hopefully we can do well and give a good image of what we can do and give a good performance.”

The Spain international also reveals he will not have any problems putting his emotions to one side as he and Chelsea attempt to knock his former club out of European competition:

“Of course, it’s my hometown, it’s the club I supported for all my life, but once you step on the pitch it just goes away. I did it before with Arsenal. I don’t try, it just happens naturally. You want to do well for your club and that’s it.

“I have big friends, friends that I played with since I was 13 years old. I speak to some of them nearly every day, even when I don’t play against them, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about football. Probably now the contact is a bit less, probably unconsciously because of the game coming up.

“We are old friends but when we are on the pitch they will try to beat me and I will try to beat them. For me, friendship is a fantastic thing but in football, when you play against each other, it clearly changes.

“I think they’re still a great side. You can see with Ernesto Valverde they play a different type of formation, especially when they defend they play more of a 4-4-2. You can see that everyone is committed, everyone is giving their all, defensively and offensively,’ said the 30-year-old, who has also identified one aspect of the game which could prove decisive.

“They are a team that try to put the first pressure very, very high, always working to have the ball, so if we can pass this first phase of their pressure, if we have the cool head to do that and not put ourselves under too much pressure, I think we can hurt them, because they will leave a lot of spaces at the back. We have days now to work on the game and I’m sure the manager will find the best solution.”

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Eden Hazard is convinced Chelsea can beat Barcelona in this tough Champions League tie:

“I think all of the games are difficult. When you play in the CL it is more than difficult. This season Barcelona are one of the best in the world. We will give everything in both games.

“We need to defend as a team, if we don’t then we are in trouble. It is right to play our football. We like the ball and when we have it we need to score goals. Tonight is key at Stamford Bridge.”

Asked if he feels he can be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi:

“First it is good to be compared with the greatest ever. But I am different. I try to do my job and reach my level to their level because they are the best in the world. If you want to be one of the best you have to play well in the big games.”

Chelsea will face Manchester United next weekend, an important weekend for them:

“For sure. Like I said we play football, we are Chelsea and the champions of England.”

Asked if we have to expect more coming from him:

“I think so. Every game I try to play my best football. This year we are back in the Champions League, you want to shine when you play the best team in the world. If I want to reach that level I have to play at the best.”

About his future:

“First I see the game tomorrow. I’ve been playing for Chelsea for six years and I am happy here, my family is happy here and focus about the end of the season. I don’t focus too much on the future.”

About Barcelona captain Andrés Iniesta:

“I think he is one of the best players with Messi in Barcelona history. He is still at the top and maybe played for ten years. I remember when he scored in the last minute, for Chelsea fans it is not a great memory. Now it is the past and we focus on the present and tomorrow is the future.”

About the tie:

“We know that it is tough to beat Chelsea. We are in a good position and will give everything. Barcelona is one of the best clubs in the world and they have had trouble against us and I hope tomorrow is the same.”

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte spoke ahead of the really important Champions League game against Barcelona:

“For sure we are talking about a massive game, a big challenge for us, against one of the best teams of the world, “ the Italian coach said while facing the international press in Stamford Bridge press room tonight.

“We must be excited to play this game against Barcelona.

“We must pay great attention but at the same time we must have ambition.

“We know their characteristics, they like ball possession and to dominate the game. We try to do what we like as well, what we try during the trainings.

“I think we start this game as underdogs, for sure, Barcelona are favourite to go through next round, but at the same time we’re excited to get this challenge. This game will let us understand what is our level in this competition. 

“Barcelona are having a fantastic season, they are top of the league, they are the Spanish cup final. This game will let us understand which is our level in the present.

Messi… we’re talking about the best player in the world, he’s got the capacity to solve situations, even with a chance. He’s a fantastic player, but we’ve to pay attention also to other players, like Suarez, Iniesta or others. 

“We have to work very hard, we have to know that during the game we must be prepared to suffer, but we also know that in every moment of the game we have to be ready to score.

“I think that after the game in FA Cup it was a bit difficult to sleep, because when you have to play these kind of games you have to prepare everything, you have to prepare the details because it’s what sometimes move the result. 

“I think that in this specific moments for us it’s very important to stay at a top level.

“As I said before, we’re talking about a tough game, for this reason we must pay great attention, we must have a plan, Barcelona have specific characteristics , we studied the opponent very well, we try to do what we know and what we prepared.

“I don’t know how many times I felt the pressure, but this is football, if you want to compete at the maximum level you have to cope with this pressure, the pressure must be your friend not your enemy.

“We have to play a perfect game if we want to win tomorrow, you start these two games with one favourite, and it’s Barcelona, because of what they have been doing for many years in football.

“At the end of the game if we are very good we will win the game.

“When you are top of the table and win a game you don’t feel the fatigue, in this case we’re speaking about a Champions League game and in Barcelona there are many players that are used to play these games.

“We have to play and to face a great team like Barcelona with our strength, tomorrow we must be excited and play with enthusiasm, passion. 

“We start the game 0-0, it doesn’t matter what the other side did in the past, now the most important thing is the present, and Barcelona is our level. It’s a great chance for us to prove what kind of team we’re and we will try to go through the next round.”

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A miracle, they are saying in Italy: next Chelsea boss Antonio Conte trashes Spain at EURO 2016 and qualify for quarter finals, after the Azzurri were tagged as the underdogs. They will face the World Champions, Germany, on Saturday night.

No one was expecting such good performances for them, especially because the 23-men-squad is not at the same quality level of some Italy had before, but Conte’s team are recognizable for personality and group cohesion, in addition to tactical organization.

Combine it with an excellent physical form ( Italy is the team that covered more KMs in the whole tournament) and you get what the Azzurri are deserving: great results and great performances.

A iron-clad win over Spain, with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea that saved his team from first half humiliation with, at least, three, miracles.

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas started for La Roja, playing all 90′, but his performance was really poor, as he couldn’t help his team to find a way to the goal.

Giorgio Chiellini scored on a tap-in following a De Gea’s save on Eder‘s strong free-kick, and after taking some risks –Buffon showed all of his skills in at least three occasions- in the second half, with Spain desperately trying to equalise, Southampton striker Graziano Pellè sealed match and qualification at minute 91, with Conte jumping on the bench’s roof to celebrate.

A good news for Chelsea fans, that will have a very motivated head coach at the beginning of his Blues adventure: you can bet we will more attributes at Stamford Bridge next year.

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Unstoppable: that’s what Eden Hazard was tonight in Belgium victory over Hungary at EURO 2016 round of 16.

The Belgian Red Devils trashed the Magyars 4-0 and the Chelsea number 10 was, without any doubt, the man of the match.

He was back to the levels we were used to admire him in the past season, when his contribution was vital for the Blues to win the Premier League title, and provided the assist with a wonderful cross for the goal of Michy Batshuay in the 2-0 ( 78′), right before scoring the third with a wonderful shot of his from the box limit (80′).

Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld scored the 1-0 goal with a header at 10′ while Atletico Madrid midfielder Ferreira-Carrasco sealed the 4-0 at 91′.

Also the other Chelsea Belgian man, Thibaut Courtois, started the game but it was a quiet night for him.

Belgium will face Wales next Friday 1 July in the quarter finals.

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Together next season with Chelsea but enemies next Monday at the euros: Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas will face his next boss Antonio Conte in Spain v Italy in the Round of 16 at EURO 2016.

The Spanish playmaker spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about this special game:

“I met Conte briefly and he made a very good impression,” Fabregas claimed.

“He is a great Coach, a winner. He told me what he wants from me, what he wants to do at Chelsea and various other things that will remain private.

“I really want to start working with him. Now I hope he can get to work at Chelsea as soon as possible. Hopefully from Tuesday he can concentrate on his new job.”

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Spain lost 2-1 to Croatia last night and now they will face Italy for the EURO 2016 Round of 16 next Monday night.

It will be a Chelsea game, since four Blues men are involved: Antonio Conte is currently coaching the Azzurri, while La Roja count on Cesc Fabregas, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro.

The latter one burst out in the past days for the lack of playing time, but the ex Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder was always a starter – last night he provided the assist for Morata’s goal and was one of the best of his team- while Azpilcueta entered in the final minutes in the previous games against Czech Republic and Turkey.

Other players to watch: Alvaro Morata, Leonardo Bonucci and Emanuele Giaccherini, as the three were heavily linked to Chelsea in the past days.

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England, captained by Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill tonight, qualified for EURO 2016 Round of 16 as the second classified in in Group B, with 5 points.

The Hodgson boys drew 0-0 against Slovakia, in a very boring game.

Wales qualified as first after winning 3-0 against Russia, that are out of the competition.

The Welsh top the table with 6 points, while Slovakia, with 4 points, got good chances to qualify as one of the four best third classified.

England will play against the second of group F, composed by Hungary, Iceland, Portugal and Austria.


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Chelsea players Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta qualified for the EURO 2016 Round of 16 with one group stage game left after beating Turkey 3-0 last night.

The Spaniards won thanks to a brace by Blues target Alvaro Morata and another goal from La Liga sensation Nolito, who also provided the assist for Morata´s first goal.

Fabregas played 71 minutes and was replaced by Atletico Madrid’s Koke while Azpilicueta entered at minute 81 for Jordi Alba. Pedro, keen for a Barcelona return, stayed the whole game on the bench again.

Spain got many chances to close the group top of the table and will face the second team classified in the group E, with Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Belgium.

Should Eden Hazard and Courtois‘ team qualify second in their group, it would a Chelsea match at the euros, with five players involved .


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