So Chelsea did the impossible and beat Bayern Munich on penalties. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard scored their penalties and Bastian Schweinsteiger missed his crucial penalty. This is strange, it goes against what you might expect, frankly I didn’t think at any stage that Chelsea were going to win, until that is, they did.
The victory of Chelsea proved that English players can take penalties. Under pressure, in a big game, so perhaps it’s not the Englishness that’s preventing us from glory, maybe just the England shirt. Going into the European championships it’s a great boost for the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry, even though he didn’t play. Conversely it’s a horrible fate to suffer for the Germans, who I had down as favourites before that heart breaking final loss. Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger are all certain to start for the Germans, perhaps the loss will spur them on, that would be very German. Or perhaps it will break them, certainly nobody looked quite as pissed off as Neuer going up to collect their medal. You could almost see what he was thinking “I scored my penalty… and I saved one”.
With Chelsea collecting their first Champions League crown it also adds another interesting side to the golden generation debate. Of the so called golden generation, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry have now all won the Champions League, even Wes Brown has a winners medal. Michael Owen missed out, strangely because he moved to Real Madrid but he does have a Ballon d’Or.
The final reminded me of a summer tournament game. Slow in tempo, not that many quick turn overs in possession, one team keeping the ball well and the other happy to sit back and absorb pressure. Gary Cahill obviously carrying an injury was solid, Frank Lampard worked tirelessly and Ashley Cole was simply outstanding. England would be well advised to try and mirror Chelsea’s style this summer, the only problem is, we’ve got Andy Carroll, we don’t have Didier Drogba.