Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
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.
It’s gone quiet on the football news front though the sun’s still out in Europe as we await another weekend of unrelenting on-pitch drama in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Anyone out there lucky enough to be attending the Serbia v Northern Ireland match? 240 fans got the nod.
But what about Tottenham Hotspur fans. Are you worried your star man’s recent struggles with injury could hamper your club’s Champions League quarter-final chances against Real Madrid?
Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.
Don’t look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It’s just this week it’s the international break.
By Simon Evans in Miami
Television coverage of MLS’s opening game began with an attack on David Beckham from two television pundits and critics have continued to question whether the Englishman cares about the league or his club, LA Galaxy, Simon Evans says the Beckham bashing is off target.
The debate over David Beckham’s commitment to L.A Galaxy and Major League Soccer should have ended on November 22, 2009. On that rainy, cold day in Seattle, Beckham took a series of pain-killing injections, wrapped up his injured ankle in bandage and went out to face Real Salt Lake on the unforgiving artificial turf at Qwest Field.
Last week, when Chelsea held a news conference to preview their Champions League match against FC Copenhagen, manager Carlo Ancelotti spent the first 20 minutes fielding questions about John Terry’s re-instatement as England captain.
The Chelsea press officer finally stepped in in an attempt to steer the subject back to club football by asking if there were any questions about the forthcoming match or for fellow guest, defender Branislav Ivanovic.
The sport is more global than ever, highlighted in December when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of the United States, Japan, Australia and South Korea despite the fact a Middle Eastern country has never before hosted a major global sporting event.
Starting today, Madrid-based Reuters sports correspondents Iain Rogers and Mark Elkington will be writing a regular Monday column on La Liga for the Reuters soccer blog.
In its inaugural edition, Iain looks at the how the great rivalry between Spain’s dominant clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid has taken on an added piquancy this season and reviews some talking points from the weekend league action.
The new Major League Soccer season got underway this weekend and Reuters Soccer Blog will have a regular Monday morning lookback at the main talking points from each weekend of action in the North American league from Simon Evans in Miami along with video goal highlights.
Last year’s MLS campaign ended in rather unimpressive fashion with the championship game in a cold and half-interested Toronto but on Saturday the new season got under way, also in Canada, and the scenes in Vancouver offered a much brighter picture for the league’s future.
The Vancouver Whitecaps’ debut in MLS, after years of treading water in the second tier leagues following the collapse of the old NASL, was always going to be a moment of celebration for the soccer-loving public in British Columbia but what made the event truly memorable was the game itself with the Whitecaps crushing their fellow Canadians Toronto 4-2 in a hugely entertaining and open game.
It was a reminder that for all the emphasis on stadiums, organization, marketing and image-management, important though they all are, it is the ‘product on the field’, the game itself, which is going to make the lasting difference and take the league to the next level. Questions could certainly be asked about Toronto’s defending but both teams moved the ball well with the Whitecaps swift breaks and intelligent angled passing particularly catching the eye. The Vancouver fans will also be delighted that their ‘designated player’, Frenchman Eric Hassli, hardly a ‘Beckham rule’ signing in terms of profile, turns out to be a smart striker with an eye for goal – claiming two on his debut.
But not surprisingly most of the attention this weekend was on the response of the fans to the return of top flight soccer to Vancouver – Cam Cole’s report in the Vancouver Sun captures the mood of excitement and fulfillment.
Welcome back to a new week of football stories but not before we’ve taken you through our roundup of the weekend’s action around Europe.