Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Spanish sports fans have never had it so good.
The Iberian nation is celebrating its latest triumphs after a month of success that local media have called a golden age.
On Sunday, Alberto Contador sealed his third Tour de France title, Fernando Alonso won the German Formula One Grand Prix, and Jorge Lorenzo roared to MotoGP victory in the U.S.
Pictures of Contador clad in the Tour winner’s yellow jersey and Alonso in the red driving suit of Ferrari dominated the newspaper’s front pages, chiming perfectly with the colours of the Spanish flag.
All that just two weeks after Spain secured its first World Cup soccer crown and three weeks after Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon for the second time.
from Changing China:
Soccer is in a tight spot in China -- literally. Huge crowds roar for Manchester United but the national team is a laughing stock at 108th in FIFA world rankings. Poor coaching, lack of grassroots development, even corruption and violence are variously cited as reasons for the sport's demise. But the real reason may be more basic: the fact of physical space, or the lack thereof, in China.
If geography is a determinant of economic development, then it is fair to extrapolate that urban geography underpins the development of sports. And here's the rub for soccer, not to mention American football and baseball. With few parks, small concrete schoolyards and a dearth of quiet streets, urban China offers little of the space needed for the sprawling play that defines those sports. Soccer has deep roots in China, but playing space has been squeezed as cities sprawl and swallow land in big gulps.