Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

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.

The U.S. will also face world champions Spain in June.

In Europe, while Spain huffed and puffed and finally blew the Czech Republic’s door down for a 2-1 win in Granada with yet another mesmerising display of quick passing, there was little else to go crazy about.

In fact, UEFA president Michel Platini fears that Euro 2012 qualifiers are becoming a little boring, and he is concerned that players look forward more to Champions League matches than internationals.

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.

Elbows out, dictaphones at the ready — let battle commence

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A post-training mixed zoneFor most football fans, it would be a dream come true — go along and meet your favourite player and ask him anything you want.

That is the deluded view that led me to be excited when I was sent to my first “mixed zone”,  where players are available for quick interviews as they walk past reporters when leaving the stadium after a match.

It may be time for Koller to step down

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Koller in action against the Swiss

There’s just a few hours to go before the Czech Republic take on Portugal and the Koller question is foremost in my mind.

There is no disputing Jan Koller’s impressive goalscoring record - 54 goals in 88 internationals – so you can understand why coach Karel Brueckner picks him time and again.

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