Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Rooney’s place on United periphery needs urgent resolution

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/In eight months Wayne Rooney has plummeted from “the best player in the world” to a substitute against West Bromwich Albion and his current position on the Old Trafford periphery will need to be sorted out very soon.

Manchester United’s fans — and their American owners — do not expect the England striker to be warming the bench, particularly when the player says he is fit, even if manager Alex Ferguson says otherwise.

British media suspect a falling-out with Ferguson but United issued a statement on Sunday describing as “nonsense” suggestions that the striker, bought from Everton for 25 million pounds in 2004, was about to be sold.

It may be harder to deny, however, that his relationship with Ferguson is not completely harmonious.

Hodgson fends off Liverpool crisis talk but…

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/With their new owners perched in the stands and the shackles of their long-running takeover saga finally cast off, the Merseyside Derby was meant to be the dawn of a new era for Liverpool.

Instead the 2-0 defeat served to highlight the depth of the problems engulfing the club and under-pressure boss Roy Hodgson.

Italian referee leads the way in battling racist chants

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SOCCER-ITALY/Italian soccer has long struggled with racist chanting, a horror which has largely been stamped out in countries like England and Germany.

The problem persists in Italy but finally the tide is turning and ignorant fans are being beaten.

Liverpool have new owners – what they need now is Torres back to his best

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/LIVERPOOL-SALEBuying Liverpool may prove the easy part for new owners who will be expected to spend freely to rescue the five times European champions from their worst start to a season in more than 50 years.

What John W Henry really needs is for Fernando Torres to recapture the form that made him the most feared striker in the Premier League.

Liverpool board leads 2-1 in court cases with end now in sight

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SOCCER-LIVERPOOL/Here we go again. After another legal victory in the High Court for the Liverpool board and main creditor RBS, all eyes turn to Dallas, where a new hearing on the ownership battle is underway.

Wednesday’s original ruling had, it seemed, paved the way for Liverpool to be sold for 300 million pounds ($479.8 million) to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) — owners of the Boston Red Sox — but that was before George Gillett and Tom Hicks obtained a temporary block in a Texas district court.

Liverpool board wins right to sell but another court battle looms

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Updates at 0029 GMT, Thursday after Texas court injunction and Liverpool statement.

Liverpool were given the go-ahead to sell the club when a High Court judge backed the club’s board but another court battle could be on the cards after current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett obtained an injunction in Texas to block the sale.

Serb violence shows soccer still struggling to stop flares

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SOCCER-EURO/Italian police and stewards knew Tuesday’s Euro qualifier with Serbia could be a tense affair given the two countries’ problems with hooliganism and the high-profile nature of the match.

Why then were so many Serbian fans able to smuggle in flares and cause an abandonment?

Prandelli breaks the mould by naming his teams a day early

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SOCCER-EURO/In rugby, teams are often named several days before matches — a habit I’ve never really understood.

If there is any doubt about what lineup you will field, surely it makes sense to keep the opposition coach guessing until the final moment? The advantage may be slight, but it’s there and it might make the other coach mess up his preparations if he guesses wrongly.

Was Murphy right to tackle the managers?

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy opened up a can of worms when he hit out at the tackling of some of his fellow professionals last week.

Murphy described some tackling as “brainless” and suggested managers were sending their players out so pumped-up that they were flying in to reckless tackles.

Salmantinos hail local hero Del Bosque

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SOCCER-EURO/SPAINVicente del Bosque has been given a welcome more befitting a rock star than a soccer coach in his native Salamanca this week, where his World Cup-winning Spain team play Lithuania in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Thousands of cheering and screaming Salmantinos, as locals are known, packed the modest Helmantico stadium on Thursday to hail the mild-mannered 59-year-old and watch their heroes such as captain Iker Casillas train for Friday’s Group I match.

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