Tuesday Kickoff: Puyol doubtful for Euro 2012, Blackburn relegated and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Puyol doubtful for Euro 2012, Blackburn relegated and more

European Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Puyol doubtful for Euro 2012, Blackburn relegated and more

Puyol (Getty Images)

Spain's European championship title defense is going to be a bit more challenging, as a vital component to its back line is unlikely to be available for the world's No. 1-ranked team.

Carles Puyol is doubtful for this summer's tournament after Barcelona announced that their captain and 34-year-old centerback requires arthroscopic knee surgery that will sideline him for around the next six weeks.

Puyol, who is one cap shy of 100, will have the surgery on Saturday, a little less than a month before La Furia Roja open their tournament against Italy on June 10. The surgery also rules him out of the remainder of Barcelona's season, which includes the Copa del Rey final — Pep Guardiola's last match as club manager. 

Puyol might not be the only key player to miss out on this summer's tournament either, as Barcelona striker David Villa is still a major doubt as he returns from a broken leg and has to regain peak fitness in a short time period to convince Vicente del Bosque he is worthy of a spot on the roster.

Here are a few more stories to get your Tuesday going:

BLACKBURN RELEGATED, WIGAN STAY UP

Blackburn's futile season is officially sealed.

The club clinched its place in the Premier League's bottom three on Monday with a 1-0 loss to Wigan Athletic, one that also cemented Wigan's place in the Premiership for next season after a torrid run of form to cap off the season.

Antolin Alcaraz' 87th-minute goal was the match-winner for Roberto Martinez' side, but the real talking point from the match came when Blackburn supporters, undoubtedly furious with how the season unfolded, threw a live chicken donning a Blackburn flag onto the field at Ewood Park as a sign of protest toward club owner Venky's, an India-based chicken company. For a club that had such grand visions before the season began, it will be playing in the League Championship next season for the first time since 2001.

Blackburn will be accompanied on the trip down to England's second-tier by Wolverhampton and either Bolton or Queens Park Rangers.

WEST HAM A STEP AWAY FROM PROMOTION

While Blackburn is on its way down to the League Championship, West Ham is a step closer to returning to the Premier League after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Cardiff City to take their promotion playoff semifinal on a 5-0 aggregate.

Sam Allardyce, the manager who was axed by Blackburn and took over at West Ham, is a win away from returning to the top flight. West Ham will face with Blackpool or Birmingham City in the promotion final on May 19, with Jonathan Spector's Birmingham needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit at home in Wednesday's second leg. Reading and Southampton claimed the two automatic promotion places.

STRAMACCIONI WINS INTER JOB 

Andrea Stramaccioni passed his test.

The interim Inter Milan manager will shed that label and become the club's permanent coach, president Massimo Moratti said, after leading the club to a victory over rival AC Milan over the weekend. 

The 36-year-old Stramaccioni became Inter's third boss of the season after taking over for Claudio Ranieri, who replaced Gian Piero Gasperini. As it stands, Inter will miss out on European competition next season, but Stramaccioni can alter that fate by leading the club to a victory over Lazio this weekend. Fourth-place Lazio lead Inter by two points for one of Italy's two places in the UEFA Europa League.

————————-

Do you think Spain can win Euro 2012 without Puyol and/or Villa? Who is to blame for Blackburn's demise? Impressed with Wigan's late run of form? Which team do you see securing the final promotion place to the Premier League? Think Stramaccioni is the right man for the Inter job?

Share your thoughts below.

More from

More SBI
Home