Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.
Don’t look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It’s just this week it’s the international break.
One of the most intriguing matches is Friday’s qualifier between Serbia and Northern Ireland. Why? There will be no supporters in the ground after Serbia’s clash with Italy in October was abandoned following crowd trouble and the 2006 World Cup winners were handed a 3-0 win.
Also in action on Friday are Italy, France and the 2010 World Cup finalists Spain and the Netherlands, while on Saturday Wales host England in a British Isles derby and Norway host Denmark in a Scandinavian battle. Germany and Russia are two other big names playing.
UEFA are rarely willing to overturn refereeing decisions and so it proved on Monday, with the Control and Disciplinary body rejecting appeals from Manchester United and Barcelona over Darren Fletcher, Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves:
UEFA, announcing the decision on Monday, said in a statement that the two clubs had failed to get their appeals in on time, but even if they had made the deadline they would have been rejected.