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World Soccer views and news

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.

In soccer, teams are thus traditionally announced just one hour before kick off. It adds to the drama of matchday for those watching.

However, new Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has broken the mould and has been naming his teams a day before matches. He reads out the lineup and given he is such an honest guy, no one even thinks he is pulling a fast one. Indeed, the Italy teams he has named so far have always lined up the day after.

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.

from Left field:

Messi, Maradona and Batista

SOCCER-WORLD/With Sergio Batista at the Argentina helm, Lionel Messi has the chance to develop into the truly great footballer his talent has promised since last year’s exploits with Barcelona.

It could be that when the Argentine Football Association make their choice of coach for the 2014 Brazil World Cup cycle, they opt for a different candidate from Batista – Alex Sabella of Estudiantes for instance.

Premature move for Swiss prodigy Ben Khalifa?

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SOCCER-EUROPE/SWITZERLANDThe Swiss Super League is certainly not the strongest in the world but it’s a fairly safe bet to say that it beats the German fourth division. So why has 18-year-old Nassim Ben Khalifa, one of Switzerland’s most exciting prospects, swapped the former for the latter?

Last year, Ben Khalifa hit the headlines when he led the attack in the Swiss team which surprised everyone by winning the world under-17 championship in Nigeria.

Forlan’s fond memories of Leeds

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SOCCER/FORLANIt was a surreal experience to sit at Atletico Madrid´s training ground talking to a Uruguayan former Manchester United player about the Leeds United team circa 2002.

That´s what happened to me on Monday after interviewing Diego Forlan, whose face lit up when I told him I was from Leeds.

Mixed reactions for Liverpool fans over possible sale

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Liverpool supporters will be glad to be possibly getting rid of their current U.S. owners but probably did not envisage another set of Americans taking over.

The board of have agreed the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the owners of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

Bit late for De Jong rebuke, Mr Marwijk

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If Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk had slapped down Nigel de Jong after the World Cup final, Hatem Ben Arfa might now not be facing six months out with a broken leg.

Instead, only after a second “robust” challenge has De Jong been punished by being dropped for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers with Moldova and Sweden.

Lazio soar like their new eagle

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SOCCER-ITALY/Lazio, Serie A champions in 2000 but largely also-rans ever since, came up with a not very new idea before the season to try to boost their fortunes this term.

An eagle, the symbol of the Rome club, flies around the Stadio Olimpico before home games for good luck.

Champions League podcast – 2

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Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Karim Benzema and Juan Mata are among the strikers up for discussion in the latest edition of our Reuters Sports Champions League podcast. Kevin Fylan is joined by Ed Osmond, Owen Wyatt, Paul Radford and Mark Meadows.

Listen!

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