Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Barcelona is a sect full of school boys, says Ibrahimovic

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By Phil O’Connor

A new tell-all autobiography by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already making headlines in Sweden this year — the question is whether anyone outside of the Scandinavian country will notice.

“I am Zlatan” will hit the shelves on November 15, in good time for the Christmas market, and already journalists are being offered the chance to read and report on excerpts from it.

The initial response is that, whilst it dosen’t contain too much new information about Malmo’s most famous footballing son, the fact that Zlatan is prepared to open up about his emotions to the public is the real big story.

“There’s a lot that is sensational in it,” Aftonbladet’s football writer Simon Bank told Reuters Sports Blog.

FIFA fails to act in naturalisation row

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FIFA has failed to act on allegations that Burkina Faso flouted rules on fielding foreign-born players on their way to qualifying for the African Nations Cup.

In doing so, soccer’s governing body has potentially opened the floodgates for other teams to do the same.

United speculation grows as Solskjaer secures first Molde title

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By Phil O’Connor

No sooner had Molde stumbled across the finish line to win their first Norwegian league title in their hundred-year history than the speculation had started.

Would Molde coach and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be the man to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at the English champions when the 69-year-old finally decides to retire?

Have City knocked United off their perch?

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was quick to say that his team’s 6-1 mauling of arch-rivals United meant little more than another three points in the bag, but the Italian must surely be hoping it could signal a shift in the balance of power.

Having knocked Liverpool off their perch when they won a record 19th league title last season, United now face the prospect of playing second fiddle to City in England and Manchester, should their heaviest defeat to their neighbours in 56 years prove to be more than just a temporary setback.

Danes the winners in FIFA numbers game

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By Phil O’Connor

The calculation of the FIFA rankings may be a mystery to many soccer fans, but the football associations are well aware of the value of a high ranking.

Having recently beaten Cyprus and Portugal to win their group and qualify for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Denmark rose to joint 10th with Argentina.

Swedes show Dutch courage

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By Philip O’Connor

Sweden’s 3-2 victory over the Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2012 may have surprised many observers, but Swedish footballers have a long history of success against Dutch opposition.

The home of “Total Football” has for many years been something of a finishing school for Swedish footballers, and five of the players in the victorious Sweden squad play their club football in the Netherlands.

Spreading out internationals makes sense

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UEFA’s plan to spread out fixtures during international weeks makes perfect sense and should bring an end to those strange weekends during the season with no top class soccer, when I find myself watching rubbish old B-movies and darts.

The idea would see a national team play on Thursday for example and then Sunday, or Friday and Tuesday like now or Saturday and Tuesday.

Eastern European teams struggling in Champions League

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If the opening two rounds in the Champions League group stage are anything to go by, eastern European teams in the competition will find it difficult to advance to the knockout stage.

As things stand at the moment, most of them could also be denied the consolation prize of carrying on in the Europa League after the winter break.

United get rude awakening

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The plain sailing Manchester United would have expected in the group stage of their Champions League campaign has turned into a rough ride after Tuesday’s 3-3 home draw with Swiss side Basel, who were unlucky not to have come away from Old Trafford with the three points.

Two draws in their last two games, away to Stoke City in the Premier League and the late escape against Basel, will have rooted out any complacency that might have crept into Alex Ferguson’s men after their flying start to the season which included an 8-2 drubbing of Arsenal.

Champions League predictions

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Well the first round of Champions League group results were fairly predictable, except for Trabzonspor winning at 2010 champions Inter Milan of course.

Here’s my attempt at predicting the scores in this week’s action. If you agree or disagree then please leave a comment below. Don’t worry, registering takes about five seconds.

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