Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Ballon d’Or shortlist should give Premier League pause for thought

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SOCCER-SPAIN/England performed well below expectation at the World Cup in South Africa and judging by the FIFA Ballon d’Or list announced on Tuesday the stock of the Premier League is not at its highest either.

Just three players from the league that likes to call itself the best in the world are on the list and it would be a huge surprise if any of them made it into the top three:

Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Brazil, Barcelona), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon, Inter Milan), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal), Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana, Stade Rennes, then Sunderland), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Julio Cesar (Brazil, Inter Milan), Miroslav Klose (Germany, Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Douglas Maicon (Brazil, Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Mueller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Werder Bremen, then Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (Spain, Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands, Inter Milan), David Villa (Spain, Valencia, then Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez (Spain, Barcelona)

Have a glance through the full list (in all its glory above) and you’ll see just Didier Drogba, Cesc Fabregas and Asamoah Gyan representing England’s Premier League, and the latter has barely figured for his new club Sunderland.

Calling time on extra-time

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OLYMPICS/YOUTHFIFA president Sepp Blatter is well known for coming up with some odd ideas and this latest seems as strange as any.

Blatter has admitted that there was too much negative football at the World Cup and believes that one way of improving things would be to scrap extra-time after drawn knockout matches.

Community blog: Life without ’2010′

SOCCER-WORLD/2010 is almost over – the 2010 Soccer World Cup, that is. In South Africa, we simply referred to the greatest sporting event to hit our shores as 2010. For years since it was first announced that South Africa would organise the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the country has been collectively, and sometimes not, looking forward to the day when the world would see what the rainbow nation is about.

The task ahead was difficult because South Africa had to build from scratch and also improve existing structures. The threat of the “Plan B” was often bandied about at will when it seemed as though we were not living up to our promises.SOCCER-WORLD/

Did the punishment fit the Suarez crime?

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SOCCER-WORLD

When Uruguay’s Luis Suarez handled the ball in the final seconds of extra-time in the World Cup quarter-final against Ghana, the ball was heading across the line for a dramatic winning goal.

The officials did well to spot the offence in a crowded area at the end of what must have been a tiring encounter to be in charge of. But did the punishment of a penalty and a red card for Suarez really fit the crime?

Tougher action needed on soccer ‘simulation’

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SOCCER-WORLDChile’s Group H game against Switzerland was wrecked as a spectacle by the dismissal of Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami for what the referee saw as a serious foul on Chile’s Arturo Vidal — to the disbelief of Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his players.

It was an incident that changed the game from a nicely balanced encounter into one where Switzerland were forced to defend with 10 men for the best part of an hour eventually losing 1-0.

Community Blog: Closing in on the counterfeits

Police and customs officials confiscated counterfeit soccer merchanidise sold by traders in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape on Tuesday. Counterfeit Manchester United scarfs, beanies and England soccer team jerseys, among other gear, were confiscated.

Charl Potgieter, of Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, a Sandton-based corporate law firm with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London, was among the confiscators.

Don’t blame the referees, blame the players

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I watched the Brazil v Ivory Coast match in the bar of a Cape Town media hotel on Sunday and, not that it was really needed, was given another reminder of what an impossible job referees have in modern football.

When Luis Fabiano broke through to score Brazil’s second goal, the reaction of around 60 watching journalists ranged from joy to disappointment – but nobody was crying “handball.”

Community Blog: The “other” World Cup!

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SOCCER-WORLD/In townships throughout South Africa, young boys and girls first learn to play football in the streets. And as fans and footballers from across the globe gather here for the 2010 World Cup, the townships are also vying for the world’s attention.In Alexandra township, which stands across the motorway and the skyscrapers of its more glamorous cousin Sandton, this world cup promises to bring something positive to the community. 

Alex will be home to this years “other” World Cup. The tournament, which is known as Football for Hope, kicked off on Friday June 4 at Alexandra Stadium. This FIFA sponsored tournament will bring more than 250 boys and girls (between the ages of 12 to 17) from different countries and cultures into the heart of Alexandra.

FIFA cannot afford another ticketing mess in 2014

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One of the strangest experiences I ever had in a football stadium was at the Club World championship in Brazil in 2000.

A packed house had turned up at the Maracana for a double bill featuring local side Vasco da Gama against Manchester United, followed by Australia’s South Melbourne, representing Oceania, and Necaxa, the Mexican team representing CONCACAF.

FIFA made fundamental errors on World Cup tickets

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FIFA is guaranteed massive revenue from the World Cup, primarily through billions of dollars in commercial and television rights, that will fill its coffers for the next four years. But that doesn’t hide the fact that soccer’s governing body has made basic errors in the ticketing structure for the first African edition of the world’s most watched sporting event.

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has steadfastly supported holding the soccer spectacle in Africa despite a flood of negative reporting from Europe that said the tournament would be a disaster and that nothing would be ready in time. Those naysayers have so far been proved very wrong–the 10 stadiums, half of them stunning new venues–are ready way ahead of kickoff on June 11.

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