Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Friday afternoon question: Should domestic cups be scrapped?

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Real Madrid were knocked out of the King’s Cup by third-tier Real Union this week and Chelsea lost to second division Burnley in the Carling Cup, but which sides were really celebrating?

Chelsea would much rather concentrate on the Premier League while Real need to focus on the Champions League after two defeats.

In Italy, the Coppa Italia is fast becoming one of the biggest jokes in football. The last 16, the first round where the big clubs enter, has been spread across a two-month period for various strange reasons.

Wednesday’s game between Udinese and Reggina was played in mid-afternoon and from the television pictures I could not see a single fan in the stadium. There were probably a few die-hards behind the camera but they saw one of the most error-ridden games in history.

It’s time to stop kicking the ball out of play

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Lionel Messi

Barcelona’s equalising goal against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday sparked a real old furore because it stemmed from a Barca throw-in after the home side had apparently kicked the ball out of play because one of their players was injured.

The truth is, with players so apt to diving and other theatrics these days, the “player down” excuse for stopping the game should be defunct, as it thankfully now appears to be in England where only the referee decides when the game should be stopped. (more…)

Vlog on the pitch – Champions League final predictions

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Vlog on the pitch duo Jon Bramley and Darcy Lambton think Manchester United will beat Chelsea on Wednesday but host Owen Wyatt is not so sure. (Although judging by the haircut he has already lost a bet this week.)

Who is your money on for the big clash in Moscow? Will Didier Drogba ignore the mind games and win the game just like the semi-final against Liverpool?

Wembley Cup final magic diluted by semi-final tasters

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A West Brom fan looks unhappy“It was always my dream to play in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley,” just doesn’t quite cut it and fans of teams chasing both domestic cups might struggle to sing: “We’re going to Wembley thrice.”

It’s just not right.

The FA may be contractually committed for the next 30 years to playing both semis as well as the final at their shiny new showpiece arena, but that does not mean we have to like it.

Time to abolish cup-tied rule

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Defoe is challenged by ShoreySpare a thought for cup-tied Jermain Defoe this weekend, forced to sit on the sidelines when Portsmouth play West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley because of an antiquated rule the authorities should consider changing.

Defoe, who joined Portsmouth from Tottenham Hotspur just before the transfer window closed on January 31, played for his old club against Reading and Manchester United in the third and fourth rounds which ruled him out of the FA Cup for the rest of the season.

FA Cup response — How much more romantic can you get?

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Barnslay celebrateSo Kevin Fylan has poured scorn on this season’s FA Cup, saying romance was “the last word” he would choose to describe what’s happening in the competition. Well Kev, as we prepare for this weekend’s semi-finals, let me say I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ll admit I’m something of a footballing Luddite, one of those old-fashioned fans who laments the fact that the days are gone when clubs like Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Everton and Aston Villa won league titles. The days when supporters had a genuine affinity with players. The days when Sunderland, Southampton and West Ham could win the FA Cup.

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