Posted: 9/10/2018
Title: UNDERWHELMED BY THE NATIONS LEAGUE

Blog:                                                                                                                         

        UEFA has started up The Nations League and it's supposed to replace meaninless friendlies with an exciting competition and has 4 divisions. Teams play other teams of similar standard and are supposed to get promoted..or relegated.

         I was at the Ullevaal Stdium in Oslo for Norway v Cyprus in League C. The public was not convinced and only 6,000 bothered to show up. From the outside Ullevaal doesn't look like a stadium. Dominos Pizza, Burger King, florists, bicycle shop, grocery stores, gymnasiums a wine store, a football shop and much more. I got a great deal at Thon Ullevaal Hotel with views over the pitch. I arrived early at 9.30 am and they had a room ready so I had a buffet breakfast where I met referee Istvan Kovacs,33 years old from Cluj Romania and his crew, I had been to Bucharest twice in the last 12 months so lots to talk about.

         My friend Geson had arranged a VIP ticket plus hospitality in the Players Lounge before, half time and post match. Norway were easy winners 2-0 and three points, but three days later lost at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia to Bulgaria by a single goal.

       I was supposed to spend the weekend at The Ham-Kam youth tournament near Lillehammer, the Olympic City, but future stud player Matheus age 12 was sick so he, his dad Harald and myself cancelled and I got an early flight back to Manchester. I did have a chance to go sightseing to the awesome Vigeland Park,and to Oslo Opera House..my favourite modern building in the world, with its sloping roof that you can walk on.

      Ryan Giggs' Wales hammered Ireland in Cardiff 4-1 in League B but lost 2-0 in Arhus against the Danes 3 days later. Denmark had previously played against Slovakia in Trnava at Stadion Antona Malatinskeho, one of my favourite stadiums. They fielded a team of 3rd and 4th division and futsal players due to a dispute with the Dansk Bold Union. They only lost 3-0 with the Slovak FA reducing the price of tickets to 1 Euro. Three days later the 'real'team beat Wales 2-0 in Arhus, Jutland.

       Also to Aker Brygge and it food stalls, restaurants,shops and ferries and the weekend Matstreif festival of food and drink..with free samples, from reindeer to dried cod,  across from Oslo City Hall.  This is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each December, while all the other Nobel prizes are awarded in Stockholm.

       England lost 2-1 to Spain in front of almost 90,000 at sold out Wembly with a dodgy refereeing decision denying the Three Lions a point in League A. France tied Germany in Munich in a bore draw 0-0 but then won 2-1 v The Netherlands in the Stade de France in League A.  Ukraine played in front of an empty Arena Lviv to beat Slovakia 1-0 while minnows Liechtenstein got 3 points in a 2-0 win at home in Vaduz to Gibraltar in League D.

      More excitement tonight.

      

    

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