Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Another Angola collapse and crowds could plummet

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African Nations Cup organisers will be bundle of nerves over the next 24 hours, contemplating the fate of host nation in the tournament.

Angola blew a phenomenal four goal lead in Sunday’s opening match against Mali and now look vulnerable to the prospect of early elimination if they fail to beat Malawi on Thursday (1830 GMT).

The 50,000 spectators at the new November 11 Stadium were stunned by the capitulation of their team, seemingly coasting home to the most positive of starts with just over 10 minutes to go before collapsing like a deck of cards and handing Mali an improbable point in a 4-4 draw.

Classic watching for the neutrals but heartbreak for the locals, and real concern for the organisers.

Should Rooney seek his fortune abroad?

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Manchester United fans will doubtless be pleased by Wayne Rooney’s latest comments pouring cold, or at least lukewarm water on the idea that he might move to Barcelona, or anywhere else for that matter.

Good news for United it may be, but I’m not so sure it’s in England’s interests for so few of the country’s leading players to try their luck abroad.

from Left field:

Spain’s sporting state of grace

pauPau Gasol's triumph with the LA Lakers has prompted more articles in the Spanish media celebrating the country's incredible run of sporting success.

Gasol was a vital cog in the Lakers machine this season and joins a long list of Spanish champions in individual and team sports.

Did Spain’s Euro 2008 win jinx the clubs?

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Spain overcame 44 years of underachievement on the international stage when they were crowned European champions at Euro 2008. Not only did they win the tournament, but their players, their style and their attacking ambition were hailed around the world.

However, that success appears to have had a detrimental effect on their domestic teams, who have traditionally been some of the strongest performers in Europe’s club competitions.

Time to revamp player awards

This week we had the nominations for FIFA world player of the year, discovered the winner of the FIFPro world player of the year and mulled the contenders for the Ballon d’Or.

Exactly how many gongs do we need? In the recent past the situation was a bit clearer.

Xavi’s understated brilliance deserves recognition

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Spain celebrate

The shortlist for the Ballon d’Or got shorter this year, but there was still room for seven members of the Spain squad that restored a bit of faith in football at Euro 2008.

A lot of news reports focused on the big-named absentees, including Thierry Henry, Fabio Cannavaro and Ronaldinho, but I don’t suppose too many people would argue for their inclusion after disappointing seasons.

Kuranyi’s disappearing act given mixed reception

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Kevin KuranyiThe great and the good of German soccer have been quick to condemn Kevin Kuranyi after the Schalke 04 striker walked away from the national team at the weekend.

Former Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer said Kuranyi’s behaviour was “ridiculous” and had overshadowed the good impression Germany made in their 2-1 win over Russia.

UEFA running big risk with Euro expansion

Franz Beckenbauer’s announcement that the European Championship finals will feature 24 teams instead of 16 from 2016 must have been welcomed by fans of countries that have found it difficult to qualify for recent major tournaments.

But as my colleague Mike Collett argued during Euro 2008, UEFA is running a big risk by trying to fix something that is not broken.

Lippi’s back but same Italian frailties remain

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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.

Which Euro 2008 players are on the move?

As the dust settles on Euro 2008 and attention turns to transfer market, it will be interesting to see how many of the top performers from the tournament will be on the move in the coming weeks.

If Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United generated endless speculation at the start of the Euros, the finals ended with other names enjoying newly-acquired prominence. 

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