Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Welcome to our Reuters podcast on day three of the World Cup. Today’s brief encounter contains expert comment from Brian Homewood, Paul Radford, Theo Ruizenaar and Mark Gleeson plus a bit of fun at the expense of FIFA at the end.
A top player seems to get injured on the eve of every major tournament and this year it looks like Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand have suffered the World Cup curse.
Ivory Coast captain Drogba is seriously doubtful for the extravaganza after injuring his elbow in a friendly against Japan on Friday.
So England coach Fabio Capello has been pretty true to his word about only wanting in-form players in his World Cup squad.
Theo Walcott will not be going to South Africa after two patchy friendly performances where he did a lot of running but the end product again just was not there. That hat-trick in qualification in Croatia in the end did nothing for his cause.
USA 2 Czech Republic 4 was hardly a morale boosting result for American fans as their team prepares for the World Cup finals, which begin for the U.S against England on June 12.
Of course, as the ESPN commentators were at pains to point out, perhaps worried about viewers turning off from the team before the tournament has even begun, the squad on the field last night was missing key starters such as Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra (who instead was spotted chomping chicken wings in the stands) and Clint Dempsey. And as the ESPN crew also repeatedly reminded us, the result of games like these are “meaningless”.
A muted send-off and a manager wanting more perhaps told the true story of England’s 3-1 friendly victory over Mexico at Wembley on Monday in which Fabio Capello was left with more questions than answers over his World Cup squad selection.
On the plus side, goalkeepers Joe Hart and in particular Robert Green would have given the Italian confidence in a position that poses a problem for fans with first-choice stopper David James still susceptible to a clanger.
I was chatting to a bunch of Fulham fans after last night’s Europa League final defeat and the question they all asked was, “What did Roy Hodgson say about his future?”
You can tell why they would be anxious. The man who saved them from relegation after coming in midway through the 2007-08 season, guided them to seventh at the end of the next campaign and then on into their first major European final will not be short of job offers, you wouldn’t think.
Fabio Capello has announced his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup and the big news is that Jamie Carragher is back, while there is no place for Bobby Zamora or Owen Hargreaves.
Meanwhile Brazil have omitted Ronaldinho as expected and Italy coach Marcello Lippi has decided to leave Francesco Totti at home. Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas are in Spain’s squad despite injuries.
Carragher walked out on England three years ago because he was unhappy at being in so many squads but so few teams, and when he was in he did not like being played at full-back when he wanted to play centre-back.
Manchester United announced on Thursday that Wayne Rooney suffered only “minor ligament damage” to his ankle in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich.
“We’re pleased to report that Wayne has not suffered a fracture,” a United spokesperson said and manager Alex Ferguson will say how many games his in-form striker is likely to miss at his news conference on Friday before Saturday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Chelsea.
David Beckham’s dreams of playing in a fourth World Cup look to be in tatters after the England midfielder ruptured his Achilles tendon in AC Milan’s 1-0 win over Chievo on Sunday.
Club doctors have said he is all but ruled out of June’s tournament in South Africa and will fly to Finland for an operation on Monday.