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Boring, Boring Champions League

  • BBC Sport, Friday, October 20, 2006 4:07 PM
The BBC's Robbo Robson is bored of the Champions League. Why? Because he says it's almost a foregone conclusion that the big European clubs will qualify with ease for the second phase, and then it becomes the same teams every year vying for the title. We should remind Mr. Robson that as recently as 2004, Portugal's FC Porto, under the tutelage of a relatively unknown manager named Jose Mourinho, raised the Champions League trophy after handily beating Monaco in the final. These were two teams that the press and Europe's giants were equally guilty of regarding as pedestrian. We should also remind him that Liverpool was far from tournament favorite when it hoisted Europe's most prestigious trophy a year later. However, it seems as though Robson's chief gripe is with the league format that precedes the knock-out phase. What's the point, he asks. Even though there are upsets occasionally (Manchester United last year stands out), it's true that the group phase usually goes according to plan. But don't bet on any of it changing: the clubs get way too much money from each of these games for UEFA to consider changing the format.

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