Battle for supremacy

December 10, 2004
By Derek Rae
A coherent argument can usually be made in support of the view that the World Cup doesn't really begin until the knock-out stages get going. The same can perhaps be said of the Champions League in its contemporary guise.

It's not that the group stage doesn't offer nerve-jangling drama. There was, after all, plenty of palpable tension on Tuesday and Wednesday in Porto, Leverkusen and Liverpool. Even that soulless excuse for a spectacle at Rome's Olympic Stadium had its own surreal fascination.
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