Reuters Soccer Blog

In defence of Giuseppe Rossi

June 17, 2009

American soccer fans aren’t noted for their nastiness but the reaction to Giuseppe Rossi, New Jersey native, scoring twice for Italy against the U.S in their 3-1 Confederations Cup defeat on Monday has been surprisingly vitriolic.

Fans come to praise Booth, not to boo him

By Mark Gleeson
June 16, 2009

Matthew Booth stands out in the South African side. At 1,98m, he towers over his team mates and is also the only white player in the home team’s starting line-up at the Confederations Cup.

from Left field:

Spain’s sporting state of grace

June 16, 2009

pauPau Gasol's triumph with the LA Lakers has prompted more articles in the Spanish media celebrating the country's incredible run of sporting success.

Crossed wires give Confederations Cup the personal touch

By Mark Gleeson
June 16, 2009

For fans seeking ticket information for the Confederation Cup, a number is listed on the FIFA site for a helpdesk with appropriate information.

Oceania needs a rethink after New Zealand thrashing

June 15, 2009

In the previous post, Martyn Herman looked at soccer’s international minnows while here Mark Gleeson discusses the particular plight of New Zealand.Oceania, as a confederation, threatened to disintegrate under the weight of a quick fire Fernando Torres hat-trick on Sunday night.The match-up in the Confederations Cup between European champions Spain and New Zealand, who represent FIFA’s smallest and least competitive confederation, was almost as one-sided as any major international in decades.As Torres banged in three goals in the first 17 minutes, so the legitimacy of the 11-member confederation came under a stark spotlight.Fortunately for Oceania’s cause, the Spanish managed just two more, albeit one profiting from a schoolboy error, but there will surely come a time when the gulf between the collection of Pacific island nations and the rest of the footballing world no longer produces a remotely equitable contest.Despite their best lobbying effort, Oceania are repeatedly denied a direct berth to the World Cup on sporting grounds. Their best team must playoff, usually against a South American country, or in the case for 2010, an Asian side, to qualify.Australia moved from Oceania to Asia because they felt it was uncompetitive and not advancing the standard of their game. Now New Zealand, where football is hoping to evolve from its current status as a minority sport, rules the roost against the islands, often barely breaking a sweat to dominate the confederation’s competitions.On the evidence of Sunday’s performance, New Zealand football would do well to join the Asian confederation too. They frankly need more exposure.Indeed Oceania’s collective cause is best served by folding into the Asian confederation where the island teams will find many other countries of the same footballing pedigree and have more competition too.Already Asia have created two tiers to accommodate its less proficient members and end years of ridiculous mis-matches.As Torres was riding roughshod in Rustenburg, I wonder whether that thought crossed the minds of any of FIFA’s top leadership.PHOTO: Spain’s Fernando Torres (C) rises above the New Zealand defence to score his third goal during their Confederations Cup soccer match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Confederations Cup shapes up well…except for the weather

By Mark Gleeson
June 13, 2009

For all their scepticism about South Africa’s potential to host the World Cup, the build-up to the test event, the Confederations Cup, has so far gone without any major hitches.

World Cup is golden opportunity for Africa — if it succeeds

June 12, 2009

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.

Santana’s stuttering English is a good sign for South Africa

June 7, 2009

South Africa’s Brazilian coach Joel Santana has broken into English at news conferences on just a handful of occasions.