Seasons Come … Seasons Go: Champions League, Lady Longhorns, David Beckham, and More

The European season started last week in most places, though Spain and Italy don't kick off for another couple of weeks. And already, some of the biggest clubs on the continent are facing do-or-die games for their international seasons, as the third qualifying round in the UEFA Champions League got under way this week. Rome giants Lazio, for instance, are in deep trouble on and off the field, as Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 home draw against Dinamo Bucharest was overshadowed by the five Romanian fans who were injured in clashes with Lazio fans (three with stab wounds), and reports of racist chants during the game by Lazio's notorious right-wing "Ultras." UEFA is investigating, but I've a hunch Lazio's international campaign may be over, even before their season starts. Full ECL results are below.

Euro 2008 qualifying is revving up again as well, with a smattering of games Aug. 22, before major dates on Sept. 8 and 12. Again, details below.

The UT Lady Longhorns opened their training schedule Wednesday, Aug. 15, and will practice mornings and evenings until the first scrimmage at New Mexico on Friday, Aug. 24. The Horns will open the season ranked ninth in the nation in two major polls. Archrival Texas A&M is fifth in both polls. The Horns will add nine freshmen, plus two transfers from the University of Houston, to a talented cast of returnees from a 2006 team that boasted an 18-4-3 record, won its first Big 12 Championship, earned a No. 1 national seed, and went to the third round of the NCAAs. The defense should be rock-solid; but with four of the top six scorers graduated, the question is, who's going to step up to partner Kelsey Carpenter in attack?

David Beckham finally made his Major League Soccer debut this week, playing 21 minutes in the L.A. Galaxy's 1-0 loss to D.C. United. But his damaged ankle "responded poorly," said the club, and he wasn't even on the roster for their next game – yet another shutout loss for what is possibly the worst team in the league right now.

The U.S. Women trounced New Zealand, 6-1, in their next to last tune-up before the 2007 Women's World Cup kicks off Sept. 10 in China. (Those games, by the way, will mostly be at 4am and 7am Central time.)

Champions League Qualifying Results
Third Round, First Leg

Tuesday, August 14

Lazio 1, Dinamo Bucharest 1
Rangers 1, Red Star Belgrade 0
Benfica 2, FC Copenhagen 1
Valencia 3, Elfsborg 0

Wednesday, August 15
Toulouse 0, Liverpool 1
Spartak Moscow 1, Celtic 1
Tampere United 0, Rosenborg 3
BATE Borisov 2, Steaua Bucharest 2
Fenerbahce 1, Anderlecht 0
FK Sarajevo 0, Dynamo Kiev 1
FC Zürich 1, Besiktas 1
Ajax Amsterdam 0, Slavia Prague 1
SV Salzburg 1, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Werder Bremen 2, Dinamo Zagreb 1
FC Sevilla 2, AEK Athens 0
Sparta Prague 0, Arsenal 2

The return leg is Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 28-29.


EURO 2008 Qualifying Schedule

Wednesday, Aug. 22

Grp A Finland vs. Kazakhstan
Grp A Belgium vs. Serbia
Grp A Armenia vs. Portugal
Grp D San Marino vs. Cyprus
Grp E Estonia vs. Andorra
Grp F Northern Ireland vs. Liechtenstein

Saturday, September 8
Grp A Azerbaijan vs. Armenia
Grp A Serbia vs. Finland
Grp A Portugal vs. Poland
Grp B Scotland TBD Lithuania
Grp B Georgia vs. Ukraine
Grp B Italy vs. France
Grp C Moldova vs. Norway
Grp C Malta vs. Turkey
Grp C Hungary vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
Grp D Wales vs. Germany
Grp D San Marino vs. Czech Republic
Grp D Slovakia 20:30 Republic of Ireland
Grp E Russia vs. Macedonia
Grp E England vs. Israel
Grp E Croatia vs. Estonia
Grp F Sweden vs. Denmark
Grp F Latvia vs. Northern Ireland
Grp F Iceland TBD Spain
Grp G Luxembourg vs. Slovenia
Grp G Belarus vs. Romania
Grp G Netherlands vs. Bulgaria

Wednesday, September 12
Grp A Armenia vs. Azerbaijan
Grp A Kazakhstan vs. Belgium
Grp A Finland vs. Poland
Grp A Portugal vs. Serbia
Grp B France vs. Scotland
Grp B Ukraine vs. Italy
Grp B Lithuania vs. Faroe Islands
Grp C Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Moldova
Grp C Norway vs. Greece
Grp C Turkey vs. Hungary
Grp D Czech Republic vs. Republic of Ireland
Grp D Slovakia vs. Wales
Grp D Cyprus vs. San Marino
Grp E Andorra TBD Croatia
Grp E Macedonia vs. Estonia
Grp E England vs. Russia
Grp F Denmark vs. Liechtenstein
Grp F Iceland vs. Northern Ireland
Grp F Spain vs. Latvia
Grp G Slovenia vs. Belarus
Grp G Bulgaria vs. Luxembourg
Grp G Albania vs. Netherlands

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