Friday, June 17, 2011

TV Preview: 17 - 22 June 2011

Saturday 18 June

15.45 Volga v Zenit St Petersburg, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
With the switch to an autumn/spring schedule for 2012/13, this season's Russian Premier League is 18 months long. We're approaching the halfway stage in the first phase of the competition (stick with me here) before the league splits in two in the manner of the Scottish Premier League. Here, newly promoted Volga face Luciano Spalletti's side who sit controversially two points behind CSKA at the top of the table. Controversially in that it follows the League's decision to award the Moscow side a 3-0 win in their 1-1 draw because Zenit failed to field a Russian youth player.
18.00 Lokomotiv Moscow v Spartak Moscow, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Probably not the best time for Lokomotiv to have two derbies in a row. The side are currently managerless after the club's president Olga Smorodskaya sacked head coach Yuri Krasnozhan on suspicion of throwing matches. They sit third in a tightly bunched table, three points behind the leaders and four points above today's mid-table visitors.

Sunday 19 June

19.45 England v Czech Republic, UEFA U21 European Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
A must win for England if they are to progress through to the knock-out stage. As far as experience is concerned, Stuart Pearce's boys have already shown with two disappointing draws that they know how to play tournament football for England.
21.00 England v Rwanda, FIFA U17 World Cup, British Eurosport/HD
Eurosport are fully covering (so they say) the Under 17 World Cup in Mexico which kicks off on Saturday. A 24 team tournament, England will be taking on Canada and Uruguay in addition to today's opponents. I choose to believe that Rwanda's and fellow African qualifiers Burkina Faso's involvement in this tournament is the sign of an optimistic future for these troubled countries rather than anything due to a lack of reliable birth registry.

Wednesday 22 June

11.00 Urawa Reds v Avispa Fukuoka, J1 League, British Eurosport 2
Avispa bottom
Lost all of their first nine games
Reds not much better

17.00 UEFA U21 European Championship, Semi Final, Sky Sports 1/HD1
First semi-final: winners of Group A against Group B's runners-up. Most likely to be a strong looking Switzerland against England or the Czech Republic.
17.00 CSKA Moscow v Lokomotiv Moscow, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
With just four points emcompassing the top six it could be all change at the top after this tie; however, Lokomotiv haven't had much joy at the Luzhniki against CSKA or Spartak in recent years. With all the controversies surrounding these clubs recently, this game is probably best watched with a bit of added chin-rubbing.
19.00 Zenit St Petersburg v Kuban Krasnodar, Russian Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Chelsea fans will remember Dan Petrescu - well he's the manager of Kuban and not doing too bad either getting them promoted as Champions in his first season. Hopefully he didn't have anything to do with Nikola Nikezic being beaten-up by armed goons and forced to sign an agreement dissolving his contract with the club.
20.00 UEFA U21 European Championship Semi Final, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Second semi-final - probably Spain against the hosts Denmark.
1.50 (Thursday morning) Santos v PeƱarol, Copa Libertadores Final 2nd Leg (0-0), Premier Sports
All still to play for in this after a goalless first leg. In the early 1960s, these two sides dominated the competition - meeting each other in the 1962 final which went to a third game. Pele scoring twice to see Santos win 3-0.

Thursday 23 June

3.00 (Friday morning), New York Red Bulls v Seattle Sounders, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
While New York lead the Eastern Conference on goal difference their 2-1 defeat of New England was their first win in seven games. Five of the games in that run were draws, a trend across the whole of the MLS this season: 40% of the games have ended in a draw.

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