The 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup is now in its second year, and below are the details on everything there is to know about this prestigious summer tournament, from schedules, venues, and television providers, to which players to keep an eye on. The tournament is organized and run by Relevent Sports and has given preseason friendlies a healthy dose of competition between internationally renowned clubs.
This year, the organizers have decided to have two groups of four teams, each playing three games in a round-robin format. Group A consists of Italian sides Internazianale and Roma, the English team Manchester United and the defending champions Real Madrid from Spain. Group B consists of Greek squad Olympiacos, Italian team A.C. Milan, and the two English teams Liverpool and Manchester City.
Television coverage for the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup is important information to know. In the United States, it is to be held by Fox Sports, with NBCSN showing one game one August 2. Canada’s Sportsnet World and Australia’s Fox Sports will be covering the tournament. In the United Kingdom, Sky Sport and MUTV will be covering the event. In Italy and Germany, Sky Sport will also be televising the competition. The 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup can also be seen in Albania, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Kosovo, Turkey, and the Philippines.
The point allocations for games are different than usual. If a team wins in regular time, they receive three points. If a team loses in regular time, they receive zero points. There is no overtime in these preseason summer friendlies, so the game goes straight to penalty kicks if the scores are tied after 90 minutes. If a team wins in penalty kicks, they receive two points. Finally, if a team loses in penalty kicks, they receive one point.
Olympiacos already has started the International Champions Cup by defeating A.C. Milan 3-0 on July 24 in Toronto, Canada, earning three points for their win. The next set of games is on July 26. Manchester United plays Roma at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Kickoff is set for 4:10pm Eastern Standard Time (EST – All times will be shown as such). After that, Real Madrid will play Inter Milan at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. The kickoff for that game will be around 6pm. Group B continues play on July 27, with A.C. Milan facing off against Manchester City in Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a kickoff of 4pm. Immediate following that game, Liverpool will play Olympiacos at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois at 6pm.
The Guinness International Champions Cup 2014 continues on July 29. In Group A, Manchester United plays Inter Milan at the FedExField in Landover, Maryland at 7pm. Following that is Real Madrid versus Roma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas with 9:15pm scheduled kickoff. On July 30, there is only one game, between Manchester City and Liverpool at Yankee Stadium in New York City with a 7pm kickoff.
The final games of the group stages will all be played on August 2. The 1pm kickoff will be an Italian showdown between Inter Milan and Roma at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 3pm, Olympiacos plays Manchester City at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At 4pm, in what many believe to be the marquee matchup of the group stages, Manchester United plays Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rounding out the day at 6:30pm is A.C. Milan versus Liverpool at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team with the most points from their three games played in each group will go on to play in the finals. The final of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on August 4 at 8pm.
Last year, the champions were the Spanish giants Real Madrid, who defeated the English Premier League side Chelsea, 3-1, with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. Last year’s edition also saw more games played, with the inclusion of seventh, fifth, and third place consolation games. The initial stage was a confusing two-tiered eight-team knockout format. The 2013 tournament was played in six U.S. cities and one European city.
Sam Johnson of Squawka wrote an interesting article on five players to watch in the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup. Most of them are new English Premier League players or have just left the English top-flight. The players are Manchester United’s new Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, Real Madrid’s new central midfielder Toni Kroos, former Manchester United stalwart and now Inter Milan central defender Namanja Vidić. The last two are former Chelsea left-back and now Roma player, Ashley Cole, and finally Liverpool’s biggest signing of the summer so far, Adam Lallana.
In addition to those players listed above, there should be some more star talent on display in the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Balotelli, Francisco Totti, and Daniel Sturridge among others. There should be plenty of good games in the international champions cup and a variety of different tactical styles for both those new to soccer, and seasoned football aficionados to sink their teeth into while waiting for regular season play to commence.
Commentary by B. Taylor Rash