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Jul 7, 2014

Ozil, Khedira: friends off the pitch, very different on it

By Iain Rogers

(Reuters) – Firm friends and former team mates at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira make starkly contrasting contributions to a Germany side through to face Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

Ozil is perhaps Germany’s most gifted ball player, blessed with superb vision and technique and a keen eye for goal, but he is also one of their most frustrating performers who has a habit of drifting away from the action.

Jul 7, 2014

Soccer-Ozil, Khedira: friends off the pitch, very different on it

July 7 (Reuters) – Firm friends and former team mates at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira make starkly contrasting contributions to a Germany side through to face Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

Ozil is perhaps Germany’s most gifted ball player, blessed with superb vision and technique and a keen eye for goal, but he is also one of their most frustrating performers who has a habit of drifting away from the action.

Jul 7, 2014

Di Stefano, architect of Real Madrid legend

By Iain Rogers

(Reuters) – Frequently bracketed with Pele and Diego Maradona among the greatest exponents of the game, Alfredo Di Stefano, who died on Monday, aged 88, was one of the most complete footballers of all time.

An accomplished defender, a midfield workhorse, a playmaker and a prolific striker, he could be seen covering back in defence, charging through the midfield, laying on goals for the forwards and smashing shots into the net all in the same game.

Jul 7, 2014

Soccer-Di Stefano, architect of Real Madrid legend

July 7 (Reuters) – Frequently bracketed with Pele and Diego Maradona among the greatest exponents of the game, Alfredo Di Stefano, who died on Monday, aged 88, was one of the most complete footballers of all time.

An accomplished defender, a midfield workhorse, a playmaker and a prolific striker, he could be seen covering back in defence, charging through the midfield, laying on goals for the forwards and smashing shots into the net all in the same game.

Jul 6, 2014

After the goal rush, negativity marred quarter-finals

BRASILIA (Reuters) – After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarter-finals were predictably marked by caution and even aggression as hosts Brazil pushed soccer’s laws to the limit in dispatching Colombia.

Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998 but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-After the goal rush, negativity marred quarter-finals

BRASILIA, July 6 (Reuters) – After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarter-finals were predictably marked by caution and even aggression as hosts Brazil pushed soccer’s laws to the limit in dispatching Colombia.

Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998 but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954.

Jul 6, 2014

Di Maria loss would be hefty blow for Argentina

BRASILIA (Reuters) – If a scan on Sunday confirms Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria is out of the World Cup it would be a significant blow to the South Americans’ hopes of winning the tournament for the third time.

Di Maria had to be replaced by Enzo Perez after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-0 quarter-final victory over Belgium, which set up a last-four clash against the Netherlands, when he damaged a muscle in his right thigh shooting on goal.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-Di Maria loss would be hefty blow for Argentina

BRASILIA, July 6 (Reuters) – If a scan on Sunday confirms Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria is out of the World Cup it would be a significant blow to the South Americans’ hopes of winning the tournament for the third time.

Di Maria had to be replaced by Enzo Perez after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-0 quarter-final victory over Belgium, which set up a last-four clash against the Netherlands, when he damaged a muscle in his right thigh shooting on goal.

Jul 5, 2014

Higuain fires Argentina past Belgium into semis

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Gonzalo Higuain’s superb early strike secured a nervy 1-0 win for Argentina against Belgium and sent the South Americans through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in 24 years on Saturday.

Higuain buried a shot into the corner of the net in the eighth minute at the national stadium to set up a semi-final clash against 2010 runners-up the Netherlands or surprise package Costa Rica, who play later on Saturday.

Jul 5, 2014

Soccer-Higuain fires Argentina past Belgium into semis

BRASILIA, July 5 (Reuters) – Gonzalo Higuain’s superb early strike secured a nervy 1-0 win for Argentina against Belgium and sent the South Americans through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in 24 years on Saturday.

Higuain buried a shot into the corner of the net in the eighth minute at the national stadium to set up a semi-final clash against 2010 runners-up the Netherlands or surprise package Costa Rica, who play later on Saturday.