Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Mind how you go, sir — a lesson with the South African police

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter, World Cup organiser Danny Jordaan and just about everyone else involved in the 2010 finals have been playing down the risk of violence and crime in South Africa and in hundreds of reports over the last five years I have always been prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

That was until last night when I was effectively “mugged” by two uniformed police officers who demanded “pounds or dollars” before they would let me go on my way. In the end I handed over 200 rand (about 15 pounds) — and they showed their “gratitude” in the most astonishing way.

I covered the Spain-New Zealand match for Reuters in Rustenburg on Sunday evening and drove the 120-miles back to my hotel in Sandton City after the game.

I left Rustenburg at midnight, made good time without incident, dropped off my travelling companion at his hotel and was nearing Sandton when I saw a flashing light about 200 metres ahead and realised a policeman was indicating by torchlight for me to stop. I did.

Vlog on the Pitch: table football special

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Owen Wyatt has invested in new 3-D technology to provide a fresh look at Real Madrid chances of knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League.

Click on the video above to hear our views on the key battles at Anfield, and a look at what the Spanish papers and Real Madrid players are saying ahead of the match.

Liverpool hopes rest entirely on Torres

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We all have those items that we simply cannot afford to lose, your wallet, phone, house keys, mp3 player etc, but for Rafa Benitez he will have to find space in his thoughts, if not on the bedside table, for his priceless Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

Bentitez’s willingness to allow Robbie Keane to return to Tottenham after only a few dismal months rather than stick with the Irishman, a proven goalscorer in the Premier league, leaves Liverpool desperately short of striking options, should Torres lose form or fitness in the title run in.

Liverpool keep it interesting, but United are sitting pretty

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Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Chelsea will at least keep the Premier League interesting for the time being but it probably said more about the decline of this Chelsea team than it did about Liverpool chances of actually beating United in the title race.

Before Torres snuck in to head Liverpool back to within two points of United and Ashley Cole gifted the Spaniard a second goal, it was a case of same-old same-old for Rafa Benitez’s men.

Ronaldo takes World Player award, Messi waits for next year

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Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year on Monday night, adding the award to the Ballon d’Or he picked up from France Football and the FIFPro World Player of the Year title voted for by his fellow professionals.

It was an inevitable choice after the season he had for United in 2007-08 but I’m pretty confident that next year the award will be going to the man who finished second this time. Lionel Messi is playing ridiculously well at the moment, just streets ahead of anyone else in Spain, and I don’t think too many people would disagree that on current form he is the world’s best player.

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