Athletic Club of Bilbao had to do it the hard way against Atletico De Madrid in the semis whilst Real Madrid fared better against their clasico rivals although they needed extra time. Carlo Ancelotti named a strong eleven for this final with Alaba returning together with Rodrygo on the right wing. The Brazilian was too hot to handle for Athletic Club’s left back Balenziaga. The Basque club were bound to rely on the striking exploits of Inaki Williams but it was his bother Nico who grabbed the all important winner against Atleti. Nico started on the bench. They have the dangerous creative winger Muniain who has been with the club since the juniors. Athletic Club were defending way too deep in the first half. There is space to pick your shot on the box. The Bilbao club relied too much on the counter attack, to beat the big clubs the smaller teams in to be on the front foot. With players like Benzema, Modric and Vinicius you know you will get chances and it was a matter of time until Los Blancos scored. World player of the year 2018 Modric with a curler from guess where, that started outside the post and ended past Unai Simon on 38 minutes.
Watching from the stands in Riyadh was Spanish national team coach, probably watching out for the Athletic Club contingent (no pun intended, no Real Madrid player played at Euro 2020). Great work from Rodrygo, watch him pull three defenders away from the center of the box. The most talked about decisions a referee can make these days are the hand ball decisions inside the 18 yard box. When Real Madrid were awarded the penalty there was no doubt that number 5 Alvarez handled but what else could he have done? Put arms to back and risk falling to the ground face first and get injured? The distance leaves little room for the defender to put his arms away too. Same situation as the Athletic Club’s late pen too. The distance should be considered otherwise we end up getting penalties for almost everything handled in the box. Despite the controversies great penalty as usual by Karim and great save from Courtois. The later taking a chance by remaining central for a long time before the spot kick was taken by Raul Garcia. The double whammy of a red card for Eder Militao just made me laugh. The defender did try to get his hand out of the way though. Lastly, tell me what is the difference between Inaki Williams penalty appeal against Alaba for hand ball in the first half and Alvarez’s handball.