Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

No Riquelme free kick, no Boca victory

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By Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires

SOCCER/Boca Juniors, in their modern crisis that goes back a couple of years, cannot string three wins together.

Fans might have thought after two wins on the trot that the worst was behind them.

But there wasn’t a free kick in a good position for Juan Roman Riquelme to exploit so they lost 2-0 at Lanus.

It seems safe to say now that there would not have been two successive Boca wins if Riquelme hadn’t scored from two free kicks in a row.

Argentina’s big guns show signs of life

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SOCCER/Boca Juniors have two aces in their pack, one now firing on all cylinders, the other in one of his worst slumps during his final season before retiring.

River Plate have a new ace at the lower end of the age scale who is growing in confidence, cheek and sheer skill.

Soccer Break Tuesday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Spring is here and love should be in the air, but instead all we’re left with is bickering managers.

Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are no strangers to controversy, so it’s no surprise to see them at it again, though the timing is odd. Mourinho still has it all to prove at Real Madrid over the next two months, while Capello has yet to truly inspire confidence in England fans.

Soccer Break Monday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Welcome back to another week of digesting the global game, and where better to start than with a look at the Lionel Messi effect on the sport.

The wizard-like Argentine is a joy to watch and by playing in countries such as the United States, where soccer is not the main sport, he can only have increased enthusiasm for the round ball game.

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.

Is a Riquelme or a Moreno essential to win the Argentine title?

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SOCCER-LATAM/Losing the player voted best of the Apertura championship in the first half of the season to an injury that will keep him out for the whole of the Clausura seemed to dash any hopes Racing Club had of the Argentine title.

As with Boca Juniors’ loss of Juan Roman Riquelme to injury in the Apertura, so Racing feared the worst when Colombian Giovanni Moreno damaged knee ligaments in their opening match.

“Nothing here and nothing there”

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Rex Gowar in Argentina on how Boca’s fans turned on their team.

Riquelme celebrates after scoring against Bolivia

Bewildered Boca Juniors, their promising wins in mid-season friendlies a distant memory, are grappling with tactics that led to fans turning against them during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to modest All Boys.

Chants of “Riquelme, Riquelme” rang down from the stands in the packed Bombonera during Saturday’s miserable performance from fans who had welcomed the appointment as coach last month of Julio Cesar Falcioni.

Falcioni takes tough choice

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Rex Gowar in Buenos Aries on a tough decision taken by Boca Juniors’ new coach.

FALCIONI


Boca Juniors coach Julio Cesar Falcioni has taken a brave decision leaving Juan Roman Riquelme out of his team for this Saturday’s home match against modest All Boys.
Boca lost 4-1 at home to Godoy Cruz in their Clausura championship opener two weeks ago with Riquelme in the team and won 1-0 at Racing Club last weekend without him.
However, to focus solely on the results is to oversimplify a serious problem for any coach in charge of a squad that includes a gifted player like Riquelme and more so if he is at Boca and even more still if he is new.

A not so happy birthday for Maradona

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SOCCER/Diego Maradona is spending his 50th birthday on Saturday far from the two things that have dominated his life — soccer and being constantly in the public eye.

That leaves Argentina’s greatest player at a crossroads a few short months after a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals cost him the job as coach of his beloved Argentina.

from Left field:

Messi, Maradona and Batista

SOCCER-WORLD/With Sergio Batista at the Argentina helm, Lionel Messi has the chance to develop into the truly great footballer his talent has promised since last year’s exploits with Barcelona.

It could be that when the Argentine Football Association make their choice of coach for the 2014 Brazil World Cup cycle, they opt for a different candidate from Batista – Alex Sabella of Estudiantes for instance.

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