Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EURO/SPAINIt’s gone quiet on the football news front though the sun’s still out in Europe as we await another weekend of unrelenting on-pitch drama in the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Anyone out there lucky enough to be attending the Serbia v Northern Ireland match? 240 fans got the nod.

World Cup winners Spain are also playing against Czech Republic. Fascinating country Spain, full of interesting dynamics. Read here for a thorough explanation.

Sticking with politics, and Libya’s qualification for the 2012 London Olympics could be in danger after the conflict in north Africa.

Soccer Break Thursday

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONSGareth Bale. The dashing Welsh winger primed to scare the living daylights out of England on Saturday. Injured. Did anyone else hear that collective sigh of relief from England fans today?

But what about Tottenham Hotspur fans. Are you worried your star man’s recent struggles with injury could hamper your club’s Champions League quarter-final chances against Real Madrid?

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-EURO/Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.

Don’t look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It’s just this week it’s the international break.

Soccer Break Tuesday

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MALAYSIA/Football’s governing bodies are dominating the news on Tuesday as the FIFA presidency candidates hit the campaign trail and the UEFA presidency will be retained by an unopposed Michel Platini.

The sport is more global than ever, highlighted in December when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of the United States, Japan, Australia and South Korea despite the fact a Middle Eastern country has never before hosted a major global sporting event.

Serb violence shows soccer still struggling to stop flares

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SOCCER-EURO/Italian police and stewards knew Tuesday’s Euro qualifier with Serbia could be a tense affair given the two countries’ problems with hooliganism and the high-profile nature of the match.

Why then were so many Serbian fans able to smuggle in flares and cause an abandonment?

Prandelli breaks the mould by naming his teams a day early

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SOCCER-EURO/In rugby, teams are often named several days before matches — a habit I’ve never really understood.

If there is any doubt about what lineup you will field, surely it makes sense to keep the opposition coach guessing until the final moment? The advantage may be slight, but it’s there and it might make the other coach mess up his preparations if he guesses wrongly.

Salmantinos hail local hero Del Bosque

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SOCCER-EURO/SPAINVicente del Bosque has been given a welcome more befitting a rock star than a soccer coach in his native Salamanca this week, where his World Cup-winning Spain team play Lithuania in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Thousands of cheering and screaming Salmantinos, as locals are known, packed the modest Helmantico stadium on Thursday to hail the mild-mannered 59-year-old and watch their heroes such as captain Iker Casillas train for Friday’s Group I match.

Time for international minnows to swim in their own pond?

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SOCCER-EURO/Most sports fans love an underdog but I suspect many people watching Liechtenstein’s approach against Scotland on Tuesday will have been relieved for the Scots when Stephen McManus popped up to head his side’s winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

In soccer, for a minor team to hold or even beat one of the big boys, there is usually some spoiling involved and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, there is a difference between robust tackling and honest battling and some of the things on show at Hampden Park on Tuesday – and all too often before.

Euro 2012 qualifiers – live

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We’re following all tonight’s Euro 2012 qualifiers live. Join us here for updates, comments and pix … and details of all the goals as they go in.

Capello faces tough task to change England’s “mentality problem”

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RTR2FUS2[2]CAPSMALL

Watching a repeat on Saturday of a TV comedy show first shown early in 2010 offered a stark reminder of how quickly and deeply Fabio Capello’s stock has fallen in the eyes of the average England fan.

As Alistair McGowan gurned his best Capello impression, the Italian-accented words were all about England’s success in qualifying and how they were looking forward to the World Cup with such high hopes.

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