Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break Friday – titles at stake

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The week is ending but the drama is just cranking up. Yes, the weekend is almost upon us, and that means loads more football action around Europe where there is still plenty at stake.

European competition is almost over for another season after Braga and Porto booked their places in the Europa League final in Dublin.

Borussia Dortmund became the Bundesliga champions last weekend, and AC Milan need just a point against AS Roma to lift the Serie A title on Saturday.

In Spain, should Real Madrid lose at Sevilla on Saturday and Barcelona grab a point at home to Espanyol on Sunday, the Catalans will be La Liga champions.

What happens in CONCACAF, stays in CONCACAF….

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Visitors to the Marriot Marquis Hotel in downtown Miami on Tuesday were greeted by a typical conference ‘Welcome Desk’ in the hotel’s spacious lobby area. Behind the desk was a banner declaring the 50th Congress of CONCACAF – the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean was gathering, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, to review the year, discuss key issues and – top of the agenda – to decide whether to back Blatter in June’s FIFA elections or to support his opponent, Asian soccer chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.

It was the first time I had seen the logo of the congress. There had been no promotion of the event on the Confederation’s website, no communiques from CONCACAF inviting the press to the gathering and, somewhat strangely, the three seats at the welcome desk were empty. A rather odd ‘welcome’ to what was, in world soccer governance, a crucial meeting.

Soccer Break Thursday – United roll on

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Manchester United just keep on winning despite a sluggish season by their usually high standards and will now face Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 28.

Predictions? Hard to see even a full strength United keeping Messi and co at bay, especially as Barca coach Pep Guardiola will be seeking to continue his love affair with Wembley.

Soccer Break Wednesday – One down, one to go.

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Well it looks like being a Barcelona v Manchester United final in the Champions League on May 28 after the Catalans booked their Wembley tickets on Tuesday, though Schalke 04 will have something to say about that in the penultimate match of the 2010-11 competition.

Barcelona were simply too good for Real Madrid despite the 1-1 scoreline, and you get the feeling that in this sort of form they will be hard to stop.

Bad Spanish blood boils over into Champions League “Clasico”

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In our latest Monday post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Barcelona muses on the ill-tempered Champions League clash between arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid and the possible repercussions for the Spanish national team and looks at the unrivalled brilliance of World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

Bad Spanish blood boils over into Champions League “Clasico”

Last week’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Soccer Break Monday – Goalline technology…again

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It is never over until the fat lady sings or should that be until Alex Ferguson stops talking about refereeing decisions?

The Premier League title race is reaching boiling point and Ferguson is hot under the collar that his team did not get a penalty in their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Soccer Break Wednesday – Real v Barca. Take three.

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Growing tired of Real Madrid and Barcelona playing each other? Not here we aren’t. And nor is an octopus named Iker (see picture).

The Champions League is the biggest club competition in the world and generally where players peak, so Wednesday’s semi-final first leg should be the best of the recent encounters between the Spanish rivals.

Relegation in Argentina – is the system fair?

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Olimpo, a modest team from the port city of Bahia Blanca on the windswept Atlantic coast in southern Buenos Aires province, are doing well in the Clausura championship. They are in fourth place three points behind leaders Velez Sarsfield.

Boca Juniors, one of the big clubs from the capital, are 14th — seven points off the pace.

Soccer Break Tuesday – Bad omens for United

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The semi-finals of the Champions League are upon us and the omens are not good for Manchester United ahead of their double-header against Schalke 04.

They might be running away with the Premier League title and facing a side who are 10th in their own table (ok, those portents look pretty rosy), but they have come unstuck the last two times they have lined up against German rivals in the semi-finals.

Belgrade derby was full of nice not nasty surprises

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I attended my first Belgrade derby on Saturday and all the preconceptions I might have had were happily blown away in the brisk Serbian wind.

The fixture is widely regarded as the most fiery and dangerous derby in world football but despite the game almost being a title decider, the sting was taken out of the occasion by Red Star ultras refusing to turn up at Partizan’s stadium.

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