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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break – Monday edition

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPHello and welcome to Reuters Soccer Blog's new daily digest where we'll recommend some of the best stories on the internet for you to read over morning coffee/afternoon tea/cocktails (depending on your time zone).

Where better to start with a look at Birmingham City's last-gasp win over Arsenal in the England's League Cup final, the drama of which is depicted in our photo of the 89th minute goal that left the north Londoners still yearning to end that trophy drought.

Here's the Daily Telegraph's Jonathan Liew's verdict. Quite simply, the pressure told.

Arsenal are still on for a treble, of course, so it will be interesting to see how they rebound in the FA Cup, Premier League and the Champions League on March 8 when they face the slick and ruthless Barcelona.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA takes agenda by scruff of the snood

SOCCER-ENGLAND/There will be a lot of fashion-conscious footballers holding their breath for item “V.1.b” at the International Football Association Board’s annual meeting next month.

Forget goal-line technology and positioning of goal posts and the other very sensible items on the agenda, the one sure to get a few people rather hot under the collar is the “wearing of snoods” – those snugly neck warmers much loved by the likes of Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri.

from FaithWorld:

Israeli organ donations soar after soccer star dies

organ donation

(The Israeli flag-draped coffin of Avi Cohen is seen during a special public memorial service at a football stadium near Tel Aviv December 29, 2010/Nir Elias)

Organ donations in Israel rocketed in January after the death of an Israeli soccer star prompted a religious debate on brain death into the headlines.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Football still offside in attitude to women

The British media furore over two television presenters’ sexist comments over a lineswoman at a Premier League match at the weekend has thrown the spotlight on the subject of women in soccer – be it on the pitch or off.

Sky Sports duo Richard Keys and Andy Gray have apologised for saying female officials “don’t know the offside rule” when they were talking about lineswoman Sian Massey at Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool when they thought their microphones were switched off.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s value is his values

SOCCER-MLS/Harry Redknapp does not need a right-sided midfield player and, with the depth of talent regularly available on his bench, he hardly needs to bolster his squad with a three-month loan signing.

Yet he, and several other Premier League managers, are trying to secure the services of 35-year-old David Beckham.

from Left field:

Replays don’t always give the answer

NFL/Sunday's controversial video review decision in the Steelers-Dolphins game should be a reminder to those who support replays that cameras can't see everything.

The incident and an explanation can be watched in this video here (or you can read about the controversy here )

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Do you have a flare for stupidity?

SOCCER-EURO/

Blog Guy, me and others like me are being discriminated against. We're dumbasses, and we don't think there are enough ways for us to express ourselves these days.

I have to disagree there, ace. From where I sit, opportunities for dumbasses have never been greater.

from Photographers' Blog:

Yes, my job really is this glamorous

When people ask me what I do for a living, or they hear tales from my wife about me being away at the Olympics or shooting football or golf or a Papal visit somewhere, the usual response is to tell me how glamorous my job is, rubbing shoulders with all these famous sporting and political icons and how lucky I am to get to attend all these events and call it work!

Granted, I am incredibly lucky to have an office that regularly includes Premier League football grounds and other major sporting events, but glamorous......not a word I would often use, and last night was a perfect case in point.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Blackpool offer refreshing antidote to bloated Premier League

SOCCER-ENGLAND/August remains a time for cricket and athletics in many people's minds but if we are going to have football then it was probably fitting that the most uplifting performance of the opening day of the Premier League season came from the country's number one seaside holiday destination.

For a few heady hours Blackpool were top of the league after their remarkable 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic and though Chelsea later displaced them after thrashing West Brom 6-0 Blackpool's fans will cherish memories of Saturday for as long as they live.

from MacroScope:

Did the World Cup stimulate German growth?

 Did the World Cup stimulate economic growth in Germany?
 SOCCER WORLD/
That's the $3.6 trillion question on the minds of economists after the Ifo institute reported on Friday  that business sentiment in Europe's largest economy surged by a record margin in July -- a month of fun in the sun for tens of millions of enthralled Germans who cheered their team's improbably strong run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa.
 
Can a soccer tournament half a world away really have a notable impact on Germany's 2.5-trillion euro ($3.6 billion) economy? Can a few exciting wins in the international soccer tournament really turn notoriously tight-fisted Germans into free-spending consumers? When I posed those questions at the start of July -- just after Germany had thrashed England 4-1 in the round of 16 -- I ran into some  scepticism. 
 
But there were also a few contrarian economists out there who also thought the good mood spreading across the country thanks to the lopsided victories in South Africa -- and especially the exciting way the young team filled with immigrants to Germany -- might lead to slightly higher growth. I've lived in Germany for over 20 years and long watched the way so many of them so diligently squirrel away  such significant chunks of their money -- as if the next world war or great depression were looming around the corner.

Debt is a four-letter word for many Germans, who it seems would rather save than spend. But every once in a great while, they let loose. And you could feel that happening as the World Cup fever swept the country in June and early July.
 
So after Germany then brushed Argentina aside 4-0 in the quarter-finals with another magnificient display of attacking football that sent the 42 million Germans watching on TV and at giant public viewing venues into fits of euphoria, I cabled in this story "World Cup fever fuels German growth hopes" to the head office in London on July 5: "Germany's strong run in the World Cup may be the catalyst for a growth spurt by Europe's largest economy, as consumers riding the 'feelgood factor' of national success dip into their savings and start spending again."
 
I managed to find a few economists who thought GDP could indeed be boosted by one to three percentage points thanks to the World Cup-induced positive sentiment prevailing. Germany lost their next match in the semi-finals to Spain. But it didn't really matter any more because the party was still roaring back home in Germany.
 
On Friday, the prestigious Ifo economic research institute announced that its business climate index in July rose to 106.2 from 101.8 in June, its highest level in three years and the biggest one-month gain since Germany reunited 20 years ago. It was also the first time since early 1997 -- more than 13 years ago -- that the Ifo gauge of morale among retailers broke into positive territory.
 
"Germany is in a party mood," said Ifo President Hans-Werner Sinn.  A report by my colleague Dave Graham (link here) quoted Commerzbank economist Ralph Solveen saying: "These numbers are just insane."
 

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