There's Champions League action this week, both in Europe and North/Central America. On Tuesday, Arsenal and Bayern Munich became the first teams to advance to the Euro quarterfinals; the Round of 16 ends next Tuesday-Wednesday, March 16-17, live on Fox networks at 1:45pm. CONCACAF quarterfinals get under way as we go to press, with just one MLS team still alive.
The English Premier League is under scrutiny this week after two nasty broken-leg incidents caused by two bad tackles by England-based players. First, Stoke's Ryan Shawcross took out Arsenal's promising 19-year-old Aaron Ramsey with a crunching studs-up tackle in a Feb. 27 EPL game. Just five days later, Manchester City's Nigel de Jong scythed down Stuart Holden, breaking his fibula in a Holland-USA friendly (the Dutch won, 2-1). Afterward, Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk was not pleased with his player. "As soon as the game was over, I got hold of him and I told him straight," he told the Mirror. "He really must get this out of his system." "Nigel plays in England and that is the league where referees allow players to do so much more," van Marwijk went on. And if the tables were turned on his own team, he mused, "a foul like the one Nigel committed on Holden can cost us the World Cup." Both Shawcross and de Jong expressed regrets but said they won't change their physical play. "Such offenses are part of football," said de Jong. "You have to go in full."
Copyright © 2023 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.