Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inter surely can't lose that one, can they?

Inter makes its World Club Cup entry tomorrow against South Korean team Seongnam. Surely the Italians cannot lose to the S. Koreans like the national team did in World Cup 2002, can they? There is no doubt in my mind that Inter over-achieved in winning everything last year, thanks to the genius of Mourinho. On paper, their team was less superior to the likes of European superpowers like Chelsea, Barcelona etc; yet the Special One was able to work his tactical schemes to perfection to go and win the European Cup. The fact that Rafa Benitez's team has shown such poor form this season would be down to 2 things in my opinion; Rafa has changed the team according to his playing philosophy, which is radically different from the system they worked under Mourinho. Second, once they've overachieved and subsequently won as they did, there was hardly any upside for that team to go than a downhill path. Their path to redemption lays on first securing the World Club Cup, and as importantly for the manager, failure to win that Cup would most likely signal his sacking.

The gulf between European and Asian club football is large. Sure the Asian team is well-organized and has some quick individual players with good technical skill. But we are not talking about Italy against South Korea here, where given the current state of the national teams, South Korea would have a realistic shot of beating the Azzuri in many books. For all their current troubles, Inter will still field a team that is among the best in Europe, even if it is no longer the best. I cannot see Inter losing in 90 minutes. Seongnam can at most realistically aspire for a draw, and hope for the luck of extra-time and penalties. However unlikely, that scenario is still possible, so I would recommend Inter as draw-no-bet on this one; full-refund if the game ends in a draw after regular time. The winner of this match will most likely lift the trophy because the other finalist, Congolese champions Mazembe have shown to be very exposed so far. But Inter would want to cross the South Korean hurdle first.

Draw-no-bet: Inter

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