Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Should the cup-tied rule be abolished in the Champions League?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/How AC Milan were crying out for the guile of Antonio Cassano or the tough tackling of Mark Van Bommel (who could have replaced Gennaro Gattuso before he lost his head) in Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

Both were ineligible having played in the competition for Sampdoria and Bayern Munich earlier in the season.

But if Fernando Torres can spend half a league season with Liverpool and half with Chelsea, why is it so different for cup competitions?

What extra benefit would Milan have by fielding players who played in a totally separate part of the tournament months ago with someone else?

Where do awful Italy go from here?

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If you thought Italy were awful at this World Cup it could get even worse in future tournaments.

The slow, unimaginative holders were embarrassed 3-2 by Slovakia on Thursday to crash out in the group stage and retiring captain Fabio Cannavaro reckons the country is just not producing top players anymore.

Balotelli succeeds Cassano as Lippi’s torment

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SOCCER-ITALY/No¬†sooner had the campaign to get¬†Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano an Italy call-up subsided than Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli had taken his place as coach Marcello Lippi’s ‘tormentor’.

Cassano’s supporters have been silenced by his recent form and injury problems, along with the frosty relations with club coach Luigi Del Neri that suggest he may not have subdued the temperament issues that dogged him in the past — the apparent reason Lippi consistently overlooked him.

Unimaginative Inter could have taken punt on Cassano

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Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho has again lamented the lack of a playmaker* following Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Bari in their Serie A opener.

Creativity was already a problem for the champions last season and now talented striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left for Barcelona, it is difficult to see where inspiration is going to come from judging by their Super Cup defeat to Lazio and the Bari draw.

Lippi and Capello get grief for two very different reasons

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Italy coach Marcello Lippi probably expected to be grilled for again overlooking Antonio Cassano, but England counterpart Fabio Capello may not have foreseen the furore surrounding him actually picking a player.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Ledley King has a chronic knee problem which prevents him training yet Capello still deemed the centre back good enough for an England squad recall for the friendly with Slovakia and World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.

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