Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Back to the real world: league predictions

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Now we’ve got that pesky international interlude behind us (it’ll all end in tears, you know it will) we can get back to the serious business of predicting the scores in the Premier League.

Remember how it works: We, at Reuters Soccer Blog, publish our individual predictions for the weekend Premier League matches here on a Friday. You, laughing snidely at our pathetic efforts, send in yours in the comments section below the post.

As the weekend goes by, we get embarrassed and you get to poke fun. You get a point for predicting the right result, and make that a whopping five points if you get the exact score. Simples.

And if you’re thinking of joining in for the first time now … go ahead. The scoring has been so low that with a couple of correct scores you’ll catch up in no time. Really, we don’t seem to be very good at this here at RSB.

Predicting the score… you make us look good!

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Are you a flip-flopper? A U-turner? A volte-facer? Are you the Brett Favre of football fans? If so, you’re in good company, though it’s not doing you much good in our predictions league.

Liverpool lost at Spurs and suddenly there were doubts about the strength of the squad, derision at the decision to sell Xabi Alonso and a general feeling the Reds were in decline. They then beat Stoke 4-0 and it was “madness to write them off“. Last night, they lost again, 3-1 at home to Aston Villa, and Sky Sports News have been asking if their title challenge is over… And it’s still only August 25! Phew!

Why Mourinho is raging at Lippi

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Jose Mourinho is no stranger to run-ins with rival club managers, but this week the Portuguese raised his aim and had a swipe at Italian national team boss Marcello Lippi.

The Inter Milan coach had taken exception to Lippi tipping Juventus for this year’s Serie A title.
He accused him of lacking respect, arguing a national team coach should be seen to be impartial even if deep down he wants Juve to win (Lippi had two glorious stints at the Turin club split by a dismal, short one at Inter).

Premier League season needs a grand finale

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The English Premier League has always reminded me of eating out at McDonalds. I always hope for something new but then end up getting the same as last time.

The new season hasn’t even kicked off yet, but if the experts are right, it’s already as good as over for nearly all the teams.

Argentina without football starts to worry Maradona

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Diego Maradona is a worried man, with no football in Argentina and less than a month to go before their critical World Cup qualifier against a strong Brazilian side.

A debt crisis has put an indefinite hold on the 2009/10 season which was scheduled to start at the end of next week.

from FaithWorld:

Muslims angry at German soccer club over song

German Muslims have inundated one of the country's top soccer teams, Schalke 04, with complaints about a verse in the club's anthem which, they say, is disparaging towards the Prophet Mohammad.

The club has its home in Gelsenkirchen in Germany's industrial heartland and immigrants make up about a third of the town's population. Most of them have a Turkish background. Germany's biggest mosque was opened in nearby Duisburg last year and many Schalke supporters are Muslims, as chat rooms like this one point out.

from Changing China:

China’s infertile ground for (some) Western sports

Soccer is in a tight spot in China -- literally. Huge crowds roar for Manchester United but the national team is a laughing stock at 108th in FIFA world rankings. Poor coaching, lack of grassroots development, even corruption and violence are variously cited as reasons for the sport's demise. But the real reason may be more basic: the fact of physical space, or the lack thereof, in China.

If geography is a determinant of economic development, then it is fair to extrapolate that urban geography underpins the development of sports. And here's the rub for soccer, not to mention American football and baseball. With few parks, small concrete schoolyards and a dearth of quiet streets, urban China offers little of the space needed for the sprawling play that defines those sports. Soccer has deep roots in China, but playing space has been squeezed as cities sprawl and swallow land in big gulps.

In defence of Giuseppe Rossi

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American soccer fans aren’t noted for their nastiness but the reaction to Giuseppe Rossi, New Jersey native, scoring twice for Italy against the U.S in their 3-1 Confederations Cup defeat on Monday has been surprisingly vitriolic.

What has upset U.S fans is that Rossi was born and bred in the U.S. but chose to play for another country and then — to add insult to injury — celebrated when he scored twice against his country of birth.

Everton to face Chelsea after Howard heroics see off United

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So, it will be an all-Blue FA Cup final this year, after Everton set up a date with Chelsea thanks to the penalty shoot-out heroics of goalkeeper Tim Howard in the semi-final against Manchester United.

Howard, a former United keeper, you may remember, saved the first two penalties from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand and Everton didn’t look back.

from Left field:

A high altitude idea from China

Bolivia's 6-1 thrashing of Argentina in a World Cup qualifier provided a flash of inspiration for one Chinese sports columnist.

The Bolivians, ranked 56th in the world, would probably not argue that playing the match at 3,600 metres above sea level had helped them in their humiliation of the Argentines, world number six in FIFA's rankings and one of the most attractive sides around.

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