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Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EURO/SPAINIt’s gone quiet on the football news front though the sun’s still out in Europe as we await another weekend of unrelenting on-pitch drama in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Anyone out there lucky enough to be attending the Serbia v Northern Ireland match? 240 fans got the nod.

World Cup winners Spain are also playing against Czech Republic. Fascinating country Spain, full of interesting dynamics. Read here for a thorough explanation.

Sticking with politics, and Libya’s qualification for the 2012 London Olympics could be in danger after the conflict in north Africa.

Moses and Chadli become latest to ‘test drive’ a nation

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/A new phenomenon of ‘dipping a toe’ into the waters of international football is beginning to emerge, further devaluing the ultimate individual achievement in the game.

Rules on international eligibility have been watered down over the years but the changes could not have foreseen the growing global village, immigration and movement of people that is providing the game with a much more multi-cultured generation.

Does Angola attack really endanger the World Cup or just Africa’s image?

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The bloody attack on Togo’s team bus in Angola is a huge tragedy for African football and like it or not, has cast a shadow over the World Cup in South Africa in five months time — the biggest sports event ever staged on the continent.

It is highly debatable whether the attack, which killed two members of the Togolese delegation as they arrived for the African Nations Cup and forced the squad’s evacuation on Sunday, really increases the risk to teams and spectators in South Africa.

World Cup is golden opportunity for Africa — if it succeeds

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The countdown has begun for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, an event, now only a year away, that could change perceptions about the whole continent and show the globe a festival of sport that reverses obstinate stereotypes of a region in constant crisis and violence.

Africans are deeply frustrated by the tendency of foreigners, including investors, to see Africa almost as one country instead of more than 50 extremely diverse nations. Meltdown in Zimbabwe can impact on investors’ perceptions of countries thousands of miles away on the other side of the continent. By the same token, a successful World Cup will not only change the way people see Africa but also encourage future mega events and the huge investment that they can bring.

from Africa News blog:

Togo need a miracle

It is hard to fathom what the motivation for Jean Thissen’s decision would be. He takes on the job as national team coach of Togo just over two weeks before the resumption of Africa’s World Cup qualifiers and with the very real prospect of having to do without his best player.

Thissen is the third new coach to take over at the helm of a side who are still in the World Cup race and set out at the end of this month on the final leg of the fight for one of the five berths for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

Tunisians need a little patience

One cannot fault Tunisian clubs for seeking perfection but you’d think a little more patience is needed if they are ever going to achieve their dream of continental dominance.

Take the case of Etoile Sahel. They have just fired their Swiss coach Michel Decastel for “indifferent results”.

Let’s scrap anthems before international matches

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Do all Honduras fans dress like that?French politicians were outraged after the Marseillaise was booed by the large contingent of Tunisia fans before Tuesday’s friendly at the Stade de France.  

Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot said that France matches must be stopped if it happens again and French Football Federation chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes was summoned by President Nicolas Sarkozy for a meeting.  

Should France keep inviting African teams to Paris?

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Tunisia fansYou can understand why the French rarely invite any of their former colonies over for so-called friendly internationals. On Tuesday night they again faced a barrage of abuse in their own backyard, with the vast majority of a sell-out crowd at Stade de France coming to support Tunisia against Les Bleus.

When Algeria played at the Stade de France in 2001, the game was eventually called off midway through the second half after Algerian supporters invaded the pitch. The match against Morocco last year earned notoriety after the jeering during the singing of La Marseillaise.

It’s not all fast cars and parties

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Craig BellamyFootballers. If we aren’t reading about their exploits on the pitch, more often than not we can read about their exploits off it. Much is speculation and the rest can’t be mentioned before the watershed, but as I recently read, it’s not always bad.

West Ham United striker Craig Bellamy is more used to finding himself in hot water rather than hot weather, but following a recent trip to Sierra Leone, the Wales international has formed the Craig Bellamy Foundation there.

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