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Should Maradona continue after heavyweight blow?

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SOCCER-WORLD/A devastated Diego Maradona left his future open after Argentina’s painful 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

Maradona said defeat was like receiving a punch from Muhammad Ali and there will be many who will criticise the coach for his squad picks, team selection and tactics after the country’s heaviest World Cup loss since 1958.

It was indeed a real buffeting and I’m sure anti-Maradonistas will find plenty of arguments to back up calls for his departure but I suspect many neutrals at this World Cup will feel his boundless energy and the clear bond he had with his players offered a persuasive argument for him to continue in charge.

“I’m so proud of my players and I would like to thank them,” he said in an address that at times sounded valedictory. “I may leave tomorrow but I want these boys to go on showing what they can do. We didn’t fulfil the dream but I believe whoever comes after me will follow a path true to Argentine football.”

Reuters World Cup 2010 podcast — quarter-finals (II)

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Listen!

Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana’s desperate misfortune.

World Cup 2010 quarter-finals podcast

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Welcome to our latest Reuters 2010 World Cup podcast, as we follow the lead of the world’s most famous psychic octopus and try to predict what will happen in the quarter-finals. Kevin Fylan is joined by Paul Radford, Jon Bramley, Ken Ferris and Mr Mark Gleeson.

England were dreadful but don’t be surprised

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People can and will talk about Frank Lampard’s wrongly-disallowed goal all day long but to concentrate on that would miss the much bigger problems that contributed to one of England’s worst-ever World Cup performances.

Claims that their players play too many games, suffer from not having a winter break and that the national team is hurt by the number of foreign players in key positions at the Premier League’s major clubs are all valid.

England defence crumble in German masterclass

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England coach Fabio Capello would do well to take a transcript copy of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s post-match press conference – because in it he would find all the simple reasons why his side were trounced 4-1 and sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday.

In it, Loew rather clinically explained to the international press sat before him that his side were instructed to target John Terry, pull him out of position and pretty much walk into the huge gaps created in England’s snail-paced central rearguard.

England v Germany not even close in the song stakes

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SOCCERTwenty-years ago I was a 13-year-old crying in my living room because Germany had knocked out England on penalties in the semi-final of the Italy 1990 World Cup.

Prior to the game a commentator had bragged, “England have certainly won in the song stakes”. He was right. England had won in the song stakes and after the penalties this other victory gave me something to cling to.

from Photographers' Blog:

Looking ahead to England vs Germany

Photographers Dylan Martinez and Kai Pfaffenbach discuss what they expect from Sunday's World Cup match between England and Germany.

World Cup podcast – day 14

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Listen!

Kevin Fylan, Paul Radford, Andy Cawthorne and Felix Bate discuss a few of the forthcoming second round matches at the World Cup, including the classic Germany v England.

World Cup podcast – day 3

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Welcome to our Reuters podcast on day three of the World Cup. Today’s brief encounter contains expert comment from Brian Homewood, Paul Radford, Theo Ruizenaar and Mark Gleeson plus a bit of fun at the expense of FIFA at the end.

world cup podcast day 3

Germany’s continuing midfield mayhem

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SOCCER-WORLD/GERMANY-BALLACKWhen Germany captain Michael Ballack was ruled out of the World Cup following a scan on his ankle last week there was no doubt this was a major setback for the three-times champions. By far the most experienced player, Ballack was the team’s leader having taken Germany to World Cup and Euro finals. The loss of midfielder Christian Traesch, only days after Ballack’s injury, could prove an even heavier blow.

Traesch injured his ankle in a friendly match against South Tirol this week and will be out for six weeks. Traesch was seen as someone who could take over the bulk of Ballack’s midfield duties. But with both of them out coach Joachim Loew has got to seriously reshuffle his squad to strike the right balance in defence and midfield without compromising either.

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