Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Can’t win with kids? United just did.

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“You can’t win anything with kids,” said former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen of Manchester United’s young team in 1995. Alex Ferguson’s troops went on to win the Premier League that season in 1996.

Are we about to see a similar outcome in the 2011/12 season after Ferguson hauled off the experienced trio of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick with United 2-0 down to rivals Manchester City before they staged a second-half comeback to win the Community Shield 3-2 on Sunday?

Centre backs Phil Jones and Jonny Evans coped well with City’s vast array of attacking talent, while Carrick’s replacement Tom Cleverley was pivotal in the move that led to Nani’s sublime equaliser, pinging passes with Wayne Rooney around the box.

Rooney even called them “young”, the England man himself only 25.

Another youngster is new keeper David de Gea, who was far from convincing in the first half but saved smartly from David Silva in the second period and will need some time to convince any early doubters that he is the man to fill the boots of Edwin van der Sar.

La Liga’s great divide

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The red carpet was out in the VIP lounge at the Bernabeu last week and four immaculately-dressed Emirates air hostesses helped usher in the dignitaries as Real Madrid presented a new sponsorship agreement with the Dubai-based airline.

No financial details were given, but the five-year deal will no doubt further boost the coffers of the world´s richest club by revenue.

It’s still July and already we see a European domestic shock

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Yes it’s July when people should be on beaches in Europe rather than sweltering in soccer stadiums.

Well modern football (and Euro 2012 at the end of the campaign) dictates we have to start proper matches in July in the European season these days.

Villar success highlights wider malaise

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Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar could win the vote as player of the Copa America – emulating Oliver Kahn, the Germany keeper named top player at the 2002 World Cup.

If, or when, this happens, regardless of their merits as players, the vote could highlight a deficiency in the football played at the tournament.

Japan set new benchmark for Asia with women’s World Cup triumph

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It was case of “anything you can do, I can do better” for Japan’s women footballers as they defied the odds to lift the World Cup just six months after the country’s men had captured a record fourth Asian title.

When Saki Kumagai slotted home the winning penalty in a dramatic shootout victory over the United States in Frankfurt on Sunday, Japan completed an astonishing run that overshadowed any achievement by an Asian soccer team at any level.

From Tranmere to Bayern Munich in a flash

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Dale Jennings may as well be called Roy of the Rovers.

The  teenage striker, who only made his first-team debut last season, completed a dream move from English League One (third division) side Tranmere Rovers to German giants Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Tranmere said the 18-year-old, who scored six goals in 32 appearances and was named League One Apprentice of the Year, had signed for an undisclosed fee.

A game of three thirds in Qatar?

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FIFA could allow matches at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar to be played over three 30-minute periods if temperatures in the stadiums became dangerously high for the players, a senior stadium engineer told delegates at a conference on Wednesday.

Michael Beavon, a director of Arup Associates who helped to develop the zero-carbon solar technology that will cool the 12 stadiums, told delegates at the Qatar Infrastructure Conference in London that the air-cooling would maintain a comfortable temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in the stadiums.

Real Madrid great Di Stefano turns 85

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Looking back 60 years at grainy footage of his playing days, it is hard for us to get a clear sense of how good a player Alfredo Di Stefano, who turned 85 on Monday, really was.

Those who were privileged to see the Real Madrid great performing in the flesh say he was one of the most complete footballers to have graced the game.

That winnin’ feelin’

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Lionel Messi says he feels he will one day win the World Cup.

“I more than anyone want to win something with the national team and I’m going to,” Messi told Ole sports daily in an interview published on the opening day of the Copa America.

“A World Cup?” the reporter asked.

“That’s how it will be. That moment will come and I know I’ll enjoy it. I don’t know why, but something tells me I’ll do it.”

Who is new Inter coach Gian Piero Gasperini?

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It is the question on the lips of many football fans around the world. Why would the 2010 European champions recruit an unknown as coach?

Inter would argue Gasperini is not a nobody having guided Genoa to decent success in Serie A but the fact he was sacked by the mid-table side in November is not particularly aupiscious. He was also shocked to get the job.

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