The Tottenham Hotspur will face the Liverpool Reds in the Union of European Football Associations’s Champions League (UCL) final match at 3:00pm June 1. Often considered the most important club game of the year, the final will take place in Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
This year’s edition of the UCL has been surprising, to say the least. Some favourites, including Paris Saint-Germain, were knocked out in the early stages of the competition, while three-time reigning champion Real Madrid was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Ajax Amsterdam. The path to triumph for FC Barcelona, led by star Lionel Messi, seemed wide open until a second-leg home victory for Liverpool in the semifinal saw them knocked out of the tournament. Liverpool and Tottenham, both contenders in the English Premier League, rallied all tournament long, seeking to reestablish their English Premier League reputation as best in the world. The guarantee of an English team winning is finally ending Spain’s hegemony over the UCL, which has been won by either Real Madrid or FC Barcelona for the last five years.
Liverpool, after losing 3–0 in the first leg of the semifinals at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, pulled off an incredible comeback against the five-time UCL champions. In their legendary Anfield stadium, Liverpool shocked the world with a 4-0 comeback, earning their ticket to the final in Spain. After losing the UCL finals last year, the Reds, led by captain Virgil Van Dijk and star player Mohamed Salah, will look to add another trophy to their already-rich collection of five.
Tottenham comes as somewhat of a surprise to this year’s competition. The Londoners defeated Ajax Amsterdam, another unexpected semi-final attendee, in an astonishing fashion: After winning the first leg 1-0 in England, the Dutch went up 2-0 before halftime. However, the Spurs were able to bridge the gap before the 90 minutes were up. Brazilian winger Lucas Moura then dashed Ajax’s hopes by scoring the winning goal at the very last minute, qualifying Tottenham side for its first UCL final ever.
Liverpool is generally regarded as the favourite to win this game, as manager Jurgen Klopp has already competed twice at this stage of the competition, and is leading a squad to which most of last year’s finalists have returned. However, the Spurs, coached by Mauricio Pochettino, can draw inspiration from their thrilling quarterfinal win over 2019 Premier League Champions Manchester City, where they won based on the away goal rule. There will also be an interesting matchup in the nets: Liverpool’s Allison Becker won the Golden Glove of the Premier League, though Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris is more experienced on major stages such as the World Cup final, which he won with the French national team last summer.
The UCL final will not be the last occasion for soccer fans to enjoy the sport this season, as the Women’s World Cup will begin June 7 in France.