Russian team Rubin Kazan travel to Milan to play the first game of the 2012-2013 UEFA Europa League Group Stage (boy, is that a mouthful). Normally, playing at the San Siro would be considered an advantage for Inter. Our appalling home record (no wins, one draw), though, means this game could be a bigger test for us than them. Inter and Rubin Kazan (or RK to its friends) have met before at this ground, in 2009 in the Champions League. We won 2-0. I figure, if we beat them once, we can certainly beat them again. Possibly cursed home ground or no.
What: UEFA EL Group H Matchday 1
Where: The cursed ground
When: Thursday, LATE, 9:05pm local time (12:05pm pacific; 3:05pm eastern).
Why: To salvage some sort European Glory, pitiful as it may be
Liveblog: Dont count on it. Midweek. Gotta work. Will check in here, though.
How to Watch: ESPN Deportes (non US channels here), ppv Fox Soccer Plus or Fox Soccer 2Go, or find a stream (try here).
Preface: I am just super crazy busy at work. Like 12 hour days. CRAZY. And as such, I dont have a heck of a lot time for this preview. But that doesn't mean that I am not thinking about Inter. On the contrary. Why, just last night I had this very vivid dream where I was helping Rene Krhin (half-owned Inter youth product now playing for Bologna) negotiate a deal with an American company to carry a line of clothes and decorative items he designed. He didn't speak any English and they didn't speak any Italian so I stepped in to help translate. Why I was there, I just dont know, but it was a good thing because now all the American Inter fans in my dreamworld can buy some seriously ugly ass jeans with Rene Krhin's name on them (the company didn't want the decorative items). Crisis averted, right? But my point is, Inter (and you all) always seem to be on my mind somehow.
Let's Get Started With Rubin
This is Inter's second (or third, depending on how you look at it) dance with Rubin Kazan. Last time we met was in the Champions League group stage in 2009-2010. The first leg (in Russia) ended 1-1. The return finshed firmly in Inter's favor, ending 2-0 with goals from Eto'o and Balotelli. I would put a highlight video but, frankly, it is a little depressing to see how good we were. Plus, I am trying to look forward.... and Champions League highlight videos are really hard to find.
Anyway, Rubin, like Inter, have fallen a bit since our last meeting. At that time, they were Russian Champs (we were the Italian). Now, they in 8th place on the Russian Premier Leage Table. Last year, they finished 6th (sound familiar?). The Russian league starts a bit earlier than the Italian, so RK has already played eight games, and they are even steven: 4 wins, 4 losses (last five are LLWLW). They are also quite close when it comes to goals: 12 for, 10 allowed.
What does that mean for us tomorrow? Who knows. But it is sort of interesting, doncha think?
But I am tired and this game is in like 12 hours so lets move on.
|Who's worried? Certainly not our boys. via www.inter.it|
And Now To Inter Milan
Strama has called up the everyone he can for the game.:
Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Belec, Cincilla;
Defenders: Zanetti, Silvestre, Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Bianchetti, Nagatomo;
Midfielders: Sneijder, Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano, Pereira;
Forwards: Coutinho, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.
Casta wasn't called,
which is troubling. I hope he hasn't injured himself. I have been too busy for twitter so I have no idea what's going on. Anyone?* People who are for sure still injured are Stankovic (his surgery was a complete success, says Inter.it), Mariga, Chivu (stupid foot bone), Obi (although Obi trained with the team today), and Palacio (I guess that knock was harder than we thought). That leaves us with a buttload of defenders and not a whole lot else.
*Tweeps just reminded me that Casta is suspended because of the red card last game. I really should try think more when I am writing these things. Of COURSE he is banned. Cant believe I forgot. Yikes.
|If only I could figure out what you are thinking! via www.inter.it|
As for lineups, I really cant say. Every time I try to make a prediction (and I mean EVERY time), Strama does something completely different , making me look a right fool in the process. And I have had it. Done. He could go with (what I consider to be) our strongest players, or, looking at the mad crush of games coming up, he could try to squeeze a few more minutes out of, say, Jonathan. There are even rumblings that Livaja may get a run out. Who knows? Especially when you have a coach who says things like this in their pre-game presser:
"I'll rest a few players because the fixture list doesn't get any easier after Sunday. Afterwards we have Chievo then Fiorentina. If we need to recharge anyone's batteries we have to do it between Thursday and Sunday."
So here we are. No lineup prediction. But hey, you guys feel free to speculate to your heart's content. Knock yourselves out.
|Moratti took time today to exchange prezzies with Zanetti. Zanetti gave Papa Moratti
an autographed 800 jersey. Moratti returned the favor with a silver platter engraved to
Javier "Superman" Zanetti. Awwwww. via www.inter.it
After last week's win, Stramaccioni got into a bit of a strop with a Mediaset interviewer who accused Inter of being "Provincial" in that we played defensively (Strama angrily replied that before someone calls Inter Provincial they should wash their mouth out and count to ten). Well, if playing a lot of defenders makes a team provincial, I think we are doomed to the moniker for another week at least. What choice do we have? By my count, roughly half the players called up are defenders. Strama practically has to play more than the regularly allotted four just to fill the field. I say, so long as we come away from the encounter with two goals to their zero, then I will happily where the Provincial brand. Well, at least until we get some more players back from injury.
So let's wrap this stream of consciousness come blog up. I hope they give out holy water and sage smudge sticks to the fans tomorrow night because it is time to break this San Siro curse. Like I said: we beat them once, we can do it again. I am sure of it.