World Soccer views and news
Watch out Inter after Serie A flounders in Europe
Going into the last round of Champions League group games, Italy was the only nation with a chance of having all four entrants in the last 16.
The Italians were getting quite excited about this, especially as they have the Germans on their tail in the fight to keep the four berths in future seasons, but Tuesday’s woeful performance by Juventus in a 4-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich ended Serie A hopes of a clean sweep.
AC Milan, on fire domestically, could only draw 1-1 at FC Zurich and got through thanks to Real Madrid beating Marseille. It was not the kind of qualification the seven-times winners were looking for and underlies their nervousness in European games.
I’ve blogged before about Serie A being a lot worse than the Premier League and La Liga these days. Juve, with close season signings Diego and Felipe Melo again below par, showed they may have slipped behind the Bundesliga too.
It was a very strange match and even when Juve went ahead on 19 minutes, you could see Bayern were the better side and the fans inside Turin’s Stadio Olimpico could feel it aswell.
When goalkeeper Hans Joerg Butt scored the equalising penalty on the half hour, Juve supporters really knew the joke was on them.
So with surprise packages Fiorentina the only Serie A team to really shine and go through two weeks ago, it’s left to Inter Milan to beat Rubin Kazan at the San Siro later and at least make it three qualifiers out of four.
Defeat would mean elimination and the unpredictable Jose Mourinho would suddenly be under huge pressure. There could be fireworks indeed. But they can’t lose, can they?