Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Villar success highlights wider malaise

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Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar could win the vote as player of the Copa America – emulating Oliver Kahn, the Germany keeper named top player at the 2002 World Cup.

If, or when, this happens, regardless of their merits as players, the vote could highlight a deficiency in the football played at the tournament.

Villar captains a team who reached Sunday’s final against Uruguay without winning any of their five matches, even if they scored five goals in three group games.

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said in an interview with Reuters in Asuncion in April he felt his team were shaking off the shackles of a tradition of defensive football with strength in the air to achieve a new balance.

Will God be Brazilian in 2014?

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SOCCER-LATAM/“God is Brazilian” is a favourite phrase for Brazilians when fortune smiles on their country.

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva famously uttered it after massive new oil reserves were discovered off the coast in 2007.

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-FRIENDLY/Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?

Tuesday’s matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana’s lighting up of London, to Australia’s World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.

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.

Scotland on their way back to London, but England match must wait a while

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tartanScotland’s soccer team return to London for the first time since 1999 at the end of this month — but they won’t be playing England at Wembley.

Instead they will face five-times world champions Brazil in a high profile friendly at the Emirates Stadium which should be filled close to its 60,000 capacity.

Farewell Ronaldo, one of the game’s greats

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SPORT SOCCER WORLDRonaldo has just made the official announcement that he is to retire with immediate effect, bringing to an end one of the great soccer stories.

The 34-year-old Brazilian announced his decision at a news conference in Sao Paulo a few moments ago, after concluding that the battle for fitness — always a bruising struggle — was one he could no longer win.

Where does benchwarmer Ronaldinho go from here?

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AC Milan are flying high at the top of Serie A but Ronaldinho is stuck to the bench with Massimiliano Allegri-branded glue.

The struggling Brazilian has started once in the last nine games and that was in the lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam, Milan’s only loss during the spell.

Premature move for Swiss prodigy Ben Khalifa?

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SOCCER-EUROPE/SWITZERLANDThe Swiss Super League is certainly not the strongest in the world but it’s a fairly safe bet to say that it beats the German fourth division. So why has 18-year-old Nassim Ben Khalifa, one of Switzerland’s most exciting prospects, swapped the former for the latter?

Last year, Ben Khalifa hit the headlines when he led the attack in the Swiss team which surprised everyone by winning the world under-17 championship in Nigeria.

Just how important is the World Cup?

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SOCCER-WORLD/ No other sporting event has the same impact as the World Cup. Entire countries grind to a halt to watch games, no more so than Brazil where shopping and banking hours are completely altered throughout the tournament month and many just take an official month-long holiday. Politicians jump on the bandwagon, making a big thing of how much they are supporting the team, and launch government inquiries when their teams fail.

Entire reputations can be shattered as Juan Sebastian Veron discovered in 2002, when he was vilified for Argentina’s first-round exit, and Ronaldo experienced four years later when some saw as excess kilos around his waist became an affair of state and were blamed for Brazil’s quarter-final elimination.

Reuters World Cup 2010 podcast — quarter-finals (II)

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Listen!

Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana’s desperate misfortune.

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