Soccer Break Monday

March 28, 2011

SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Welcome back to another week of digesting the global game, and where better to start than with a look at the Lionel Messi effect on the sport.

The wizard-like Argentine is a joy to watch and by playing in countries such as the United States, where soccer is not the main sport, he can only have increased enthusiasm for the round ball game.

The U.S. will also face world champions Spain in June.

In Europe, while Spain huffed and puffed and finally blew the Czech Republic’s door down for a 2-1 win in Granada with yet another mesmerising display of quick passing, there was little else to go crazy about.

In fact, UEFA president Michel Platini fears that Euro 2012 qualifiers are becoming a little boring, and he is concerned that players look forward more to Champions League matches than internationals.

Brazil were another big name to take to the field and win at the weekend but despite their 2-0 loss at the hands of the five-times World Cup winners, Scotland’s Charlie Adam said his team had learnt some valuable lessons.

Other people who could be a taught a lesson are the laser users at the Wales-England match and the fans who were noisy during the minute silence for the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims at the U.S.-Argentina game.

Finally, a quick look at the English Championship, which despite being the second tier is more widely watched than most top flights around the world. Who will we be seeing in the Premier League next season?

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: Clint Dempsey (R) of the U.S. is challenged by Argentina’s Lionel Messi during their international friendly soccer match in East Rutherford, New Jersey, March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

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