Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Is a Riquelme or a Moreno essential to win the Argentine title?

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SOCCER-LATAM/Losing the player voted best of the Apertura championship in the first half of the season to an injury that will keep him out for the whole of the Clausura seemed to dash any hopes Racing Club had of the Argentine title.

As with Boca Juniors’ loss of Juan Roman Riquelme to injury in the Apertura, so Racing feared the worst when Colombian Giovanni Moreno damaged knee ligaments in their opening match.

Worse still, Racing lost at home to Boca in their second match – the Boca side that with a not fully fit Riquelme in midfield had lost their opener by a crushing 4-1 scoreline at home to Godoy Cruz.

Who are Godoy Cruz? This modest team from Mendoza way to the west in the Andean foothills making a creditable debut in the Libertadores Cup (South America’s champions league) may not win the Clausura but they are making a good job of being major arbiters of the outcome.

Soccer Break Monday

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Good day everyone and welcome to a new week. Following a great weekend of footballing action and with so much at stake over the next few days in Europe, there is plenty to discuss.

Let’s begin with a look at the FA Cup quarter-finals, and please add the weekend of April 16/17 to your diaries as the Manchester derby will make its way to Wembley for the semi-finals while Stoke face Bolton.

Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Friday. That means almost weekend. Which means yet more football. When does it ever stop? We don’t want it to though, especially with some cracking FA Cup games in store as well as Europe’s top sides slugging it out in their respective leagues.

First however, here’s our take on the Europa League action on Thursday. Some nicely poised ties, though it was not a good night for Liverpool or Manchester City, or Mario Balotelli for that matter.

Former Gunner Gallas relishing life at Tottenham

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/By Mike Collett in London

If things had turned out differently, William Gallas could well have been facing Champions League heartache with Arsenal in Barcelona rather than glory with their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur this week.

The 33-year-old France midfielder is one of only a handful of players down the years to have moved across the North London divide — and is absolutely delighted he did.

Boca crossroads more of a roundabout

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SOCCER-LATAM/Boca Juniors can’t escape the spotlight after another defeat, 1-0 at Velez Sarsfield on Sunday.

The big question surrounding coach Julio Cesar Falcioni’s team is whether he should continue to pick striker Martin Palermo when he can only count on one half of a brilliant, but aging double act that helped Boca win a string of trophies.

Soccer Break Thursday

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Breathe in. Breathe out. The Champions League is over for this week after a tense two days of last 16 drama. And now for Europa League action on Thursday with yet more top sides in action.

First of all however let’s dissect the Champions League from Wednesday where underdogs Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 progressed past their more fancied rivals, AC Milan and Valencia respectively.

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/A fine Wednesday to you all, and a few statistics to begin with. Attendance at the Nou Camp: 95,486. Estimated crowd noise (in decibels): 121.8. Estimated noise of a referee’s whistle (in decibels): 121.8.

The operative word above is estimated, because of course we have no idea, but a quick dig around on the internet shows some debate about whether Robin van Persie could have heard Massimo Busacca’s whistle despite the defeaning noise at the Nou Camp.

Clattenburg’s time out exposes crisis in the game

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/

Administrators, managers, players, pundits and journalists should all hang their heads in shame at the news that Mark Clattenburg, one of the best referees in the English game, has felt the need to take a month off in the wake of the relentless criticism of his performances

Last month Clattenburg was in the spotlight after failing to book or send off Wayne Rooney when the Manchester United striker elbowed Wigan Athletic’s James McCarthy in an off-the-ball incident in a Premier League match that eventually led to FIFA and the FA arguing about whether video evidence could be used to penalise a player after a referee had seen and taken action on an incident

Soccer Break Tuesday

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/After Chelsea’s vintage performance in a 3-1 win at Blackpool, Tuesday’s edition will start with a look at Fernando Torres.

Poor old Torres. He’s undoubtedly a classy player, but one who seems to be feeling the burden of expectation that has fallen on him after his British transfer record fee of £50 million in January.

Soccer Break Monday

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Welcome back after a breathtaking weekend of soccer action around Europe. If you missed anything then read our European roundup.

Now for some blogs. The real drama of the weekend came on Saturday, when FIFA banned the snood (in our picture). Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has said they shouldn’t be worn by real men. What do you think?

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