27
May

GIF: Romelu Lukaku is heating up for the World Cup

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Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku already looks in World Cup form.

The Everton striker (on loan from Chelsea) scored a hat trick against Luxembourg in the Red Devils’ first tune-up game, with his third being particularly impressive. Watch as he splits two defenders like a banana:

Okay, so we are only talking about Luxembourg here. But thanks to plays like that, Belgium’s Group H opponents are sure to have nightmares of the bullish striker in the weeks to come.

25
May

GIF: Rotherham scores belting equalizer in dramatic playoff final

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Promotion to the Championship was on the line for League One clubs Rotherham and Leyton Orient on Sunday, and the high stakes evidently brought out the best of Rotherham’s Alex Revell.

With Leyton holding a 2-0 lead early in the second half, the striker notched two goals in five minutes to get Rotherham level. His second was an absolute firecracker:

GIF via @bubbaprog

The only thing better than that sweet strike? His manager’s priceless reaction:

Steve Evans is probably still running and fist-pumping somewhere.

Revell’s brace sent the playoff final into extra time, and after thirty more minutes of drama, Rotherham won 4-3 in penalties to clinch back-to-back promotions and return to England’s second division for the first time since the 2004/05 season.

24
May

The 2014 Champions League final: A visual timeline

The location was the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, and the occasion was the first UEFA Champions League final played between two teams from the same city: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Thousands of fans who couldn’t score a ticket to Lisbon watched from their respective home stadiums in Madrid. And since Real’s Bernabeu and Atletico’s Vicente Calderon are located just five miles from one another, they probably could hear each others’ chants as if they were at the game:

Okay, on to the match.

It started out, well, strange. Diego Costa, Atletico’s hobbled star striker, was subbed off after just nine minutes. And no, nobody could figure out why he started in the first place.

imageThe third-fastest substitution in European Cup final history (Getty Image).

It didn’t seem to matter, at least at first. 

Diego Godin — who scored last weekend’s winner against Barcelona to clinch the La Liga title — struck again to give Atletico a 1-0 lead before halftime, profiting from Iker Casillas’ huge error:

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It would stay 1-0 for what seemed like an eternity to Real Madrid fans. The 90th minute passed, the game was in stoppage time, and Atletico could already taste their first ever Champions League triumph.

But then, with only 120 seconds left on the clock, Sergio Ramos did THIS:

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BOOM! You should probably listen to Gus Johnson’s incredible call for that goal. Pure madness:

Real were level, Atletico were denied the trophy at the death, and Casillas, the man responsible for the first goal, was easily the happiest man on the field:

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We were going to extra time, and we needed a hero.

That’s when Gareth Bale paid back every single penny from his $130 million transfer from Spurs last summer:

Gus Johnson, once again, you are the greatest.

Watch the goal again, and again… and a few more times:

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It was the first goal ever scored in extra time of a final in the Champions League era. And it wouldn’t be the last.

Suddenly in the mood, Real went on to score twice more — one being a Ronaldo penalty kick — to put the game under wraps. More importantly, this gave Ronaldo a chance to remove his shirt:

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And with that full-body flex, Real Madrid were crowned Champions of Europe:

The celebrations spilled over to the media conference room, where Carlo Ancelotti was ambushed by a pack of his rowdy players:

Of course, in Madrid the party was just getting started as well:

Though not everyone in the Spanish capital was probably in the mood:

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Ah yes, euphoria and heartbreak - the two inherent components to every final. See you next season, Champions League.

7
May

Arsenal players gear up for FA Cup final in strange ways

With a week and a half to go until they take on Hull in the FA Cup final, several of Arsenal’s players took a time-out from their no doubt serious preparations to sing the club’s long-standing FA Cup chant “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” the results of which are, well, they’re not good:

Meanwhile, Gunners forward Lukas Podolski apparently found some time to go back to his home city of Cologne for a little R&R. But in order to remain sharp, he also picked up some tips from the talented sea lions at the local zoo:

Yup, that seal has a first touch that puts even Diego Maradona to shame! In fact, if it’s up to Podolski, they’ll make him a Gunner soon:

GIF via: r/soccer

5
May

How we reacted to Liverpool’s historic collapse at Crystal Palace

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Liverpool suffered an astonishing collapse at Crystal Palace on Monday night, blowing a 3-0 lead with only 11 minutes left to play (plus stoppage time) to draw 3-3.

Palace’s monumental comeback dealt Liverpool a critical blow in the Premier League title race, as Manchester City now only need four points from their final two games to secure the trophy.

The result at Selhurst Park sent shock waves around the world, and depending on who your team is, these were the most likely reactions:

Liverpool fans

Crystal Palace fans

Manchester City fans

Everyone else

29
Apr

Cristiano Ronaldo sets new Champions League record

imageImage: Reuters

Sergio Ramos had already given Real Madrid an early 2-0 lead over Bayern Munich in the second leg of their semifinal tie, but Real’s crowning moment of the first half set a new Champions League record at the same time.

Obviously, Cristiano Ronaldo was involved.

The goal was Ronaldo’s 15th of the current Champions League campaign, setting a new all-time record. Lionel Messi previously held the record with 14 goals in the 2011/12 season, before Ronaldo equaled that mark with a goal in the quarterfinals against Dortmund.

Naturally, Ronaldo was ecstatic. And just so that everyone watching at home was aware of his new record, Ronaldo and friends spelled it out for the TV cameras:

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Just look at how happy he is:

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And before all was said and done, Ronaldo added one more to his tally, bringing his total this season in the Champions League to 16.

He’ll have one more match — the final — to increase his own record. Odds are he does.