Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Britain’s Beijing heroes can teach soccer a thing or two


British Olympic medal winnersStanding in the reception of a Heathrow hotel watching a roll call of British gold-medal winners file past, the overriding impression was just how normal they all seemed.

There was something wonderfully natural and down-to-earth about these luminaries of Britain’s finest Olympic effort in a century.

Hearing them articulate their thoughts about the last few weeks in Beijing, it was hard to avoid making comparisons with Premier League footballers.

Of course, these Olympians were relishing their moment in the sun — whereas top-level footballers facing the media spotlight day in, day out may become understandably more guarded.

Vlog on the pitch – Have England sunk to a new low?


A Steve McClaren tribute band. Wasters. Shapeless, aimless and hopeless, tactically chaotic and technically stunted, a mess from start to finish.

These are just some of the examples of the stinging criticism dished out by the tabloids after England’s turgid performance in a 2-2 friendly draw with Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Lippi’s back but same Italian frailties remain


Marcello LippiWatching a rudderless Italy at Euro 2008 was like having my teeth pulled out.

Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw against Austria in Marcello Lippi’s first game back in charge since winning the World Cup was less painful, but serious problems persist.

Gone are the days of a rock solid Italian defence. Sure Fabio Cannavaro is still injured having missed the stuttering run to the Euro quarter-finals, but even he is not the player he was.

English look on as Euro 2008 shows gulf in class


Daniel Guiza

In our area of London, national flags have hung in shop windows, kids have worn team shirts 24/7 and, after a couple of Euro 2008 games, complete bedlam broke out.    

The main road was blocked by dancing crowds and horn-blowing cars raced around the side streets with youngsters hanging out of the windows. The parties have gone on almost until dawn.      

Bundesliga ueber alles at Euro 2008


Ribery sits

The Bundesliga gets a bad rap at times. German clubs have for the most part failed to reach the latter stages of the Champions League in recent years, matches can sometimes seem to move in slow-motion and the officiating can be uneven or even downright scandalous (see Hoyzer, Robert).

But despite all that, Bundesliga players have been sparkling in Euro 2008. And with players from the German league on 15 of the 16 teams no league is more widely represented.
There have been players from the German domestic league in the starting line-ups of almost all the teams that have played of the tournament. Only Spain have no Bundesliga players in their squad.

Vlog on the pitch — time to put Rooney back centre stage


Join vlogmeister Owen Wyatt as he goes to the London College of Communication to seek opinions on Wayne Rooney’s role for England.

The 2-0 win over the United States was probably England’s best performance under Fabio Capello, and Steven Gerrard certainly had a good game, but there seems to be a common feeling that the Italian is not getting the best out of Rooney.

Vlog on the Pitch — who’d be your England captain?


Fabio Capello has named John Terry as captain for England’s friendly against the United States on Wednesday, which may be some slim consolation for that penalty miss in the Champions League final.

Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard have previously held the captaincy under Capello. who will presumably make a decision on who gets the job on a long-term basis before England start their qualifying campaign for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Vlog on the pitch – why do English players slip taking penalties?


David Beckham slipped and missed a key penalty for England against Portugal at Euro 2004 and now John Terry’s loss of footing has handed the Champions League to Manchester United.

Is it nerves or a lack of technique? Vlog on the pitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by Pedro Redig to discuss Wednesday’s final, with some fan reactions also included.

Will trouble at UEFA Cup final be repeated in Moscow?


Scenes of riot police and bottle-throwing fans marred Wednesday’s UEFA Cup final in Manchester between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg, who won 2-0. A Russian fan was also stabbed.

While police said it was only a small minority of supporters causing trouble, the sight of British football fans making headlines for the wrong reasons comes at just the wrong time – less than a week before tens of thousands of Chelsea and Manchester United followers head to Moscow for the Champions League final.

It’s not all fast cars and parties


Craig BellamyFootballers. If we aren’t reading about their exploits on the pitch, more often than not we can read about their exploits off it. Much is speculation and the rest can’t be mentioned before the watershed, but as I recently read, it’s not always bad.

West Ham United striker Craig Bellamy is more used to finding himself in hot water rather than hot weather, but following a recent trip to Sierra Leone, the Wales international has formed the Craig Bellamy Foundation there.