Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Money will talk louder than any vuvuzela

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The debate around the vuvuzela was always going to generate big noise but for some South African commentators it has become almost a neo-colonial conflict.

The noisy trumpet, which dominates the sound waves around the stadiums during the Confederations Cup, has got a lot of people covering their ears.

Complaints from TV viewers across Europe have been vociferous enough for the future of the plastic pest to become the major item on the agenda at the series of press conferences FIFA president Sepp Blatter has held during the tournament in South Africa.

Blatter has said it will stay — he wants to celebrate local custom and is inviting the rest of the world to do so too.

Brazil looming large for Maradona and Argentina

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Is the fact that Brazil are Argentina’s next opponents in the World Cup qualifiers getting to Argentines worried by the precarious position of Diego Maradona’s team in the standings?

While Brazil enjoy more match practice at the Confederations Cup in South Africa, Argentina, their rivals in the 2005 final in Germany, are bickering over the pitch on which to host their arch-rivals in match that will have a major bearing on their World Cup ambitions.

Time to take minnows off the international menu

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SOCCER-WORLD/Now that the dust has settled on the Ronaldo story (at least until he actually signs) I wanted to go back to something that bothered me about last week’s on-field action.

Former England striker Jimmy Greaves summed it up quite well at half-time during England’s 6-0 thrashing of Andorra in a World Cup qualifier.

Confederations Cup shapes up well…except for the weather

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For all their scepticism about South Africa’s potential to host the World Cup, the build-up to the test event, the Confederations Cup, has so far gone without any major hitches.

It is a dream scenario for the home nation and FIFA, still trying to temper the doubters and persuade the world all will be ready by 2010, has added to the chorus of congratulations.

East Stirlingshire give up on fair play convention

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I’m not sure if Alex Ferguson would approve of a decision taken by one of his old clubs but East Stirlingshire, where he began his managerial career as a 32-year-old in 1974, have just taken a very controversial stand against “sporting behaviour”.

The modest club, whose major objective in the recent past was to avoid
finishing bottom of the Scottish Third Division, but are currently third in the table, have ordered their players NOT to kick the ball out of play if one of their opponents is down injured.

If it’s Thursday, it must be the Amazon

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There’s been a lot of talk about whether South Africa will be up to staging the 2010 World Cup but what about the hosts for the following event in Brazil?

A three-man FIFA team is currently in the South American nation, visiting the 17 cities which have put themselves forward as potential venues. The 12 lucky ones will be announced by FIFA on March 20. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) describes the FIFA trio as an “inspection committee”.

Transfer fee and salary caps edge closer

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Manchester City’s failed 100 million euros plus bid for AC Milan’s Kaka now begs the question: should there be a limit on the amount of money a club can pay for a player or should there be a salary cap?

Some of Europe’s top soccer clubs and the game’s European governing body UEFA seem to think so, with the news that they have started talks on curbing the amount of money that can be spent on player transfers or wages.

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.

Vlog on the pitch – what do you make of Rafa’s mind games?

Rafa Benitez was on the attack ahead of Liverpool’s game against Stoke City but then decided to leave Robbie Keane and Fernando Torres on the bench.

The game ended in a goalless draw and on Sunday Manchester United put three past Chelsea to close the gap at the top.

What Messi thinks of Ronaldo

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UEFA’s teams of the year feature is irresistible reading for lovers of footballing gossip, particularly in Spain and Argentina.

Javier Zanetti, Leo Messi and Kun Aguero have all published their best XIs of 2008 on uefa.com and there are a couple of conspicious absentees…

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