Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

A Champions League final with no fear of failure… It could be a classic

Major finals featuring the best teams and the best players, the ones we talk up in advance as being for the connoisseur, often turn out to be the most disappointing, don't they? Maybe it's stage fright, too much respect for the opposition or the stakes being just too high, but great teams often seem to save their worst football for finals.

There are exceptions, of course. The 2005 Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool produced exquisite football in the first half from the Italians, and drama that will live long in the minds of anyone who watched it as Liverpool came back.

But when you look back on other Champions League and World Cup finals, how many can you remember for the quality of the football more than the result itself?

There was little on show in last year's game between Manchester United and Chelsea so why are so many people expecting this year's contest between United and Barcelona to be so different?