14 May 2006

FA Cup Final: great drama on the BBC

Liverpool 3
Cisse 32, Gerrard 54, 90
West Ham 3
Carragher 21 og, Ashton 28, Konchesky 64
(Liverpool win 3-1 on pens)

The game took my breath away. The players' skill yesterday came was a sight to behold but it still came second to the emotion, excitement and drama of the match that makes the FA Cup so addictive. It is definetly the best Cup Final I've ever watched and was a fantastic advert not just for the FA Cup, not just for English football, but for the game world wide. With Germany 2006 approaching, I've seen 'World Cup Free' zones popping up here and there. Anyone considering spending time in one of those over the summer should get a tape of yesterday's match and reconsider their options. It's matches like this that make people love football.

It was a match you didn't want either team to lose. The English love for an underdog meant that most were probably cheering on The Hammers, and they would have loved the way they played yesterday. Cup Finals are normally cagey affairs but West Ham must take full credit for making yesterday's different. Their 'who dares wins' attitude and the apparent absence of a fear of failure meant that even the mighty Liverpool were given something to think about. Captain Nigel Reo-Coker and centre-forward Dean Ashton were the most impressive of a wonderful team.

Sadly for West Ham, their courage and verve was matched only by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. He's a player I've praised before and yesterday showed why I admire him so much. His last minute leveller, an absolute beauty from 35 yards, was a goal fitting of the occassion. Reina will take much of the credit for his shoot-out saves but Gerrard was the true difference. Both he and West Ham made sure the Final was played in the true brave and gallavanting spirit of the FA Cup and made it a final to remember.


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