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Reuters Sportswrap: World Cup qualifying special

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Join Owen Wyatt for our regular wrap of world sport. This week, it’s a World Cup qualifier special, as we consider the plight of Diego Maradona and the battle for golden tickets for South Africa 2010.

We particularly welcome comments, so if you’d like to critique Owen’s schoolboy fashion errors, please do…

England sail through, but how are their World Cup chances?

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So, once again, England qualify in style. The garages can start stocking up on plastic flags of St George, the breweries can breathe a sigh of relief and the tabloids can start their gradual shift from cautious support to the crescendo of expectation that will accompany Fabio Capello and his squad to South Africa next year.

But is there any evidence that “this time, more than any other time, they’ll do it right“?

The goals will come for Owen, so should an England recall

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Michael Owen missed four glorious chances in Manchester United’s 2-0 friendly win over Valencia but the very fact that he was there to miss them signals a real chance of the former Liverpool reviving his career for club and country.

Owen’s failure to find the net was described as a wasted opportunity by some, given that England coach Fabio Capello was there watching him, but consider … playing for Newcastle at the end of last season, when did he look in with a chance of scoring even one?

from UK News:

Share your memories of Sir Bobby Robson

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The death of Sir Bobby Robson, England's most successful manager after Sir Alf Ramsey, had been expected given his long battle with cancer, but his passing still jolts.

The son of a miner, Robson's career was characterised by dignity, loyalty and hard graft and no little success.

John Terry playing a dangerous game

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Has John Terry got a bit big for his boots by questioning whether Chelsea’s ambition matches his own?

The defender and club captain said that was the reason for the delay in him nailing his colours to the Chelsea mast in the wake of Manchester City’s reported 200,000 pounds per week offer to take him away from Stamford Bridge.

The weird world of football — Eriksson to Notts County

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has described his next challenge as director of football at English League Two (fourth division) club Notts County as his toughest test yet.

Some would say that’s an understatement.

“It’s the biggest football challenge in my life,” the 61-year-old Swede told a news conference in the Midlands city of Nottingham on Wednesday.

In Argentina, fans from the same team fight

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The English hooligan problem was at its worst outside Britain, when fans went to international matches abroad. Violence in Argentine football, by contrast, has reached a point in recent years where it is rarely even a confrontation between the hardcore fans of rival teams.

Now, factions who support the same team fight each other. At stake is control over a number of money-spinning ventures linked to their clubs.

Can Owen revive career at Manchester United?

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On the face of it, replacing world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo with an injury-prone forward whose side just got relegated does not seem like a great bit of business.

The British media is certain that Michael Owen, a free agent after leaving Newcastle United, is on the verge of joining Manchester United if he passes a stringent medical.

U better believe it, Germany are the kings

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“U” is an interesting letter in German. One of the first things that springs to mind is “U-Boot” (submarine) and then there is the “U-Bahn” (underground train) as well as “U-Haft” (jail).

But after Germany’s U21 team won the European championship, thrashing England 4-0 in Sweden on Monday to give the country all three “U” titles (U17, U19 and U21), there’s another “U” word that comes to mind: “Ueber alles” — as in “Deutschland Ueber Alles”.

Liverpool nearly pull it off — twice

What a game.

Liverpool, 3-1 down from the first leg in their Champions League quarter-final clash, went 2-0 up at Stamford Bridge only for Chelsea to surge back in the second half and make it 3-2.

Two late goals from the Reds made it an amazing finish but Guus Hiddink’s side scored again and it finished 4-4 (7-5 on aggregate.) 

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