Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
What did Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson mean when he criticised Bayern Munich players for what he said was their attempt to influence Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli after Rafael Da Silva fouled Franck Ribery?
“They all rushed towards the referee,” Ferguson told British TV, complaining about the second yellow card that got his right back sent off. “Typical Germans.”
A look at the line-up shows there were only five Germans on the pitch for Bayern, plus two Dutchmen, one Frenchman, one Belgian, one Argentine and one Croat so strictly speaking there was not much typically German about the team. The two players near the referee were Frenchman Franck Ribery and Dutchman Mark van Bommel. Some at the match said the referee was reaching for the card in his pocket long before Ribery started protesting.
Whatever you think of Ferguson’s Weltanschauung it does raise a question about whether big Champions League sides can retain their traditional characteristics when they all have such large League of Nations squads.
Franck Ribery will likely choose Spain if he decides to leave Bayern Munich, we learned from a Sport Bild interview this morning, and I guess few people reading another of today’s big football stories, this time in France Football, would blame him.
While the Frenchman highlights the nice weather as the motivating factor behind his “tendency” towards Spain, others in his position might be swayed by the following list of the game’s top earning footballers:
Even Diego Maradona’s harshest critics, including Cesar Luis Menotti, recognised that they saw an improvement in Argentina’s defence in last week’s 1-0 win over Germany and some sort of shape to the team.
But Menotti, the coach who steered Argentina to their first World Cup title in 1978, does not like what he sees with Maradona at the helm for this year’s finals in South Africa.
Big deal says Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes after their 3-2 loss to Nuremberg on Sunday. He is quick to reject any of the tags that Leverkusen have had to deal with for much of the past 15 years, like “Neverkusen” and “Vizekusen”.
If anyone had said at the start of the season that a pensioner fresh out of retirement would steer perennial underachievers Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga at the halfway mark, they would have been called mad.
If they had also reckoned that Schalke 04 would be hot on their heels, they’d be thought of as even crazier.
Referee Peter Walton could face a suspension from the Premier League list if it is decided he made a mistake in Monday’s 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Birmingham.
Walton reckoned Liverpool striker David Ngog had been fouled by Lee Carsley and ignored the protests of his Birmingham team mates before Steven Gerrard converted the spotkick. Even Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said afterwards he did not think it was a penalty.
Germany and Hanover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke has died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide, local police said on Tuesday.
“First indications point to suicide,” a media officer for the Niedersachsen police told Reuters before adding that Enke’s body was found at a train crossing some 25-km northeast of Hanover.
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.
A German official wanting to make the pronunciation of the African vuvuzela instrument clear to German reporters said last week: “Vuvuzela: it sounds like Uwe Seeler“.
This seems to be the only thing Seeler, the Hamburg striker who reigned supreme from the mid-50s to the early 70s, has in common with the African instrument that caused considerable controversy during the Confederations Cup in South Africa last month.
“U” is an interesting letter in German. One of the first things that springs to mind is “U-Boot” (submarine) and then there is the “U-Bahn” (underground train) as well as “U-Haft” (jail).
But after Germany’s U21 team won the European championship, thrashing England 4-0 in Sweden on Monday to give the country all three “U” titles (U17, U19 and U21), there’s another “U” word that comes to mind: “Ueber alles” — as in “Deutschland Ueber Alles”.