Champions Of England, Europe And The World
Though we have two games left to play, we can say that United have ended the year in style: after being crowned Champions of England and Europe in May, they now landed the world title as well.
It may not be the most prestigious of prizes, it hasn't generated too much interest and certainly didn't induce excitement yet we won it and won it deservedly and that's another trophy to add to the trophy cabinet - even though we all know that this is the least significant of the three (four, if you count the Community Shield but that's even less important so it undermines my point therefore... oh, never mind).
Fergie named a very strong side in the final against LDU Quito today:
Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Anderson; Park, Rooney, Ronaldo; Tevez
And I must say that for me it was a much more enjoyable game than the semi-final, despite seeing only one goal and I think United played much, much better this time. There was rhytm, there was a flow in our game and we dominated the opposition who looked like a talented, agile team but without very much creativity.
Should have put the game beyond their reach in the first half but chances were spurned frustratingly and as the Ecuadorians proved adept at long shots there were reasons to worry. However, both keeper did very well to keep the scoreline at 0-0.
As I said, United were significantly the better team, driven by Rooney and Carrick who were absolutely influential. They refused to contemplate defeat even when Nemanja Vidic was sent off for an alleged elbow in the 50th minute - it was a very, very harsh red card. Fergie immediately took off Tevez and introduced Evans, and this move naturally subdued our attacks a little yet we were still the better team.
Ronaldo was contained fairly well yet showed glimpses of his true capabilities and caused problems for the opposition, and he worked very well with the impressive Patrice Evra who will be sorely missed in the next four games. The right side of the team wasn't as impressive: both Park and Rafael had one of their poorer games so most of our good work came from the left and from Rooney and Carrick.
And these two combined, involving Ronaldo as well, to send United into a winning lead in the 73rd minute. Carrick's vision allowed him to pick out Ronaldo on the edge of the box who sidefooted the ball to Rooney on the left. The English striker took a touch then fired low into the far corner of the net. A delightful and richly deserved goal.
Quito's long-range efforts quickened the pulses in the remaining 20 minutes but United were always more threatening on the break and could and should have won more convincingly. However, it was convincing enough: playing with 10 men against the South American champions for 40 minutes we still managed to win the game and deservedly so.
We are now OFFICIALLY the best team in the world - not that there was ever any doubt!