Reuters Soccer Blog
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from Left field:
Click on the link below to join Reuters for the three-week European soccer party.
Our live blog will be running constantly and will bring you all the latest news, goals, photos and video.
It is easy to comment with no registration needed. Whether you are a fan of England or France, Denmark or Spain, Russia or Netherlands, our live blog is the place to follow all 16 teams in Ukraine and Poland. Our roving reporters will be at all the training camps and matches.
Those who arrived late to the Republic of Ireland’s party in Dublin could be forgiven for wondering what was going on as 10 years of hurt were banished and Euro 2012 qualification was assured.
Ten years to the day after they last secured qualification for a major tournament (beating Iran in a playoff to make the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea), the Irish rounded off a resounding 5-1 aggregate victory over Estonia to book their place at Euro 2012.
The calculation of the FIFA rankings may be a mystery to many soccer fans, but the football associations are well aware of the value of a high ranking.
Having recently beaten Cyprus and Portugal to win their group and qualify for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Denmark rose to joint 10th with Argentina.
Sweden’s 3-2 victory over the Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2012 may have surprised many observers, but Swedish footballers have a long history of success against Dutch opposition.
The home of “Total Football” has for many years been something of a finishing school for Swedish footballers, and five of the players in the victorious Sweden squad play their club football in the Netherlands.
UEFA’s plan to spread out fixtures during international weeks makes perfect sense and should bring an end to those strange weekends during the season with no top class soccer, when I find myself watching rubbish old B-movies and darts.
The idea would see a national team play on Thursday for example and then Sunday, or Friday and Tuesday like now or Saturday and Tuesday.
Fierce competition for places in Spain’s frontline for Euro 2012 has increased the pressure on misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres.
Enjoy. That we will. Cristiano Ronaldo is back for Real Madrid and Gareth Bale for Tottenham Hotspur as four teams prepare for their biggest games this season in the Champions League quarter-final first legs on Tuesday.
Spurs forward Rafael van der Vaart is returning to the Bernabeu and would clearly love to make an impact on his old side.
As the weekend approaches we can all start getting excited about domestic football again and the increase in stories and transfer speculation.
Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?
Tuesday’s matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana’s lighting up of London, to Australia’s World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.
Spring is here and love should be in the air, but instead all we’re left with is bickering managers.
Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are no strangers to controversy, so it’s no surprise to see them at it again, though the timing is odd. Mourinho still has it all to prove at Real Madrid over the next two months, while Capello has yet to truly inspire confidence in England fans.