CRAIG HOPE: NO chance Inter beat Man City or Real Madrid in the final
CRAIG HOPE: Inter Milan have NO CHANCE against Real Madrid or Man City in Istanbul – their derby win showed just how poor Serie A is… and it’s a myth that Fikayo Tomori is good enough for England!
- Inter Milan will play Man City or Real Madrid in the Champions League final
- Simone Inzaghi’s side are nowhere near good enough to challenge either team
- The real final will be the second leg between City and Real at the Etihad tonight
Simone Inzaghi says that anything can happen in football. He is right – at next month’s Champions League final in Istanbul, his Inter Milan side could lose by anything between one and five goals.
There is as much chance of Edin Dzeko beating Kyle Walker in a sprint as there is Inter overcoming either of Manchester City or Real Madrid.
BT Sport pundit Steven Gerrard, adopting a similar tone to Inzaghi, insisted that Inter can lift the trophy. But Inzaghi has to say that, Gerrard doesn’t. Surely, anyone watching the two semi-finals between the Milan clubs will recognise its inferiority compared to the opposing last-four tie? The Italian sides were better at kicking each other than they were the football.
There was one passage in the second leg where the ball appeared to morph into a smouldering potato, so readily was it passed between the sides, albeit unwittingly. They just aren’t that good. Forget the niceties.
You may want to convince yourself that the culmination of this competition will be worth the nine-month wait – the group stage began in early September – but the final is tonight. Crack open a Heineken, order a Just Eat, buy a PlayStation for half-time and do it all on Mastercard – the Etihad Stadium is the host venue for this year’s climax, so you might as well enjoy it.
Inter Milan have done well to reach the Champions League final but they have no chance against either Real Madrid or Manchester City in Istanbul on June 10
Those two teams put on a footballing masterclass during the first leg in Madrid last week
Inter’s scrappy derby win over Milan showed how poor the standard of Serie A really is
City, the likely winners of the final – as well as next month’s game in Turkey – are beating up good English opponents every week in the Premier League. Goodness knows what state they would leave Inter in – the same colour as the Nerazzurri’s shirts, no doubt.
My colleague Tom Collomosse had it half right when he labelled it Serie A for Average – Serie BA would have been more apt. Most of this lot are Below the mean, at least within the context of elite-level surrounds.
It is astonishing that anyone, except those being polite, gives them even half a chance against two clubs who put on a footballing masterclass during their first leg in Madrid last week.
I was at the San Siro on Tuesday night and the occasion was fantastic. But masterclass? Plaster cast, maybe, given the number of times they fouled each other. Most of them weren’t even tactical fouls, just badly timed tackles.
Champions League semi-finals are often the high watermark of this competition – invariably more entertaining than the final – but there was no great intrigue in Milan this week. For Inter, it was like passing an exam for which they already had the answers. Q. How do you stop Milan from scoring? A. Let them have the ball.
And that they did, a lion’s share of 57 per cent. Only, this lion had no teeth. Were Inter’s any sharper? After their early two-goal blitz in the first leg, they scored once in nearly three hours against a defence that includes Fikayo Tomori. That is like failing to get a laugh from an audience that includes Micah Richards.
Englishman Tomori has taken on a mythical air given he plays overseas and won Serie A last season. But yes, it is a myth – he is not good enough for England.
Inter have several ageing stars like Mateo Darmian (right) who struggled when in England
It is also a myth that AC MIlan defender Fikayo Tomori, 25, is good enough for England
Inter’s Lautaro Martinez is a World Cup winner and was up against Tomori over both matches and scored only one goal, late in the second leg when Milan were in disarray. The Argentine is being championed as one of the reasons why Inter can cause an upset in the final. But he is Serie BA, too. Bang Average (again, within the context of Champions League finals). His goals record in Italy is very respectable. But perhaps that speaks as much for the standard of the division. Note, he did not score once for Argentina in Qatar.
Meanwhile, the Inter defender charged with minding either of Erling Haaland or Karim Benzema will be Francesco Acerbi, a 35-year-old Lazio loanee. Alongside him, Matteo Darmian, who wasn’t good enough in his prime at Manchester United, let alone now at 33. Likewise, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 34.
Maybe it will be that a Just Eat delivery driver shows up at my door and makes me scoff my words on June 10.
But I’m certain that the Champions League main course will be served tonight. Any final that includes an Italian team, sadly, is a meager offering.
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