Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
A lack of fit players, lack of effective training, lack of buys, lack of hunger, lack of Jose Mourinho.
The possible reasons for Inter Milan’s troubles, which leave coach Rafael Benitez clinging to his job, are widespread and not all his fault but the treble winners have to do something to reverse their steady decline.
Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Chievo, which put Inter nine points off top spot, followed the derby defeat by AC Milan and media reports reckon Benitez could be axed if the holders slip up at home to Twente Enschede in Wednesday’s Champions League clash. Samuel Eto’o's crazy Zidane-like headbutt against Chievo, which is set to lead to a lengthy Serie A ban, comes at the worst possible time for the Spaniard.
A glance at the factors behind their poor form shows Benitez is only half to blame.
You could go for a three-pronged attack of Nani, Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben. How about Michael Ballack, David Beckham, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien in your midfield? And build your defence around Rio Ferdinand.
Welcome to a new kind of Fantasy Football — the World Cup Injured XI.
I haven’t yet scoured the statistics books, but veterans in the game cannot remember a World Cup so badly hit by injuries to big names before it even started. Not all of them are out for the whole tournament, of course, but some big names are , and what a shame the first World Cup on the continent has already lost so much star power.
A top player seems to get injured on the eve of every major tournament and this year it looks like Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand have suffered the World Cup curse.
Ivory Coast captain Drogba is seriously doubtful for the extravaganza after injuring his elbow in a friendly against Japan on Friday.
When 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.
from Left field:
Fabio Capello has plenty of options for the right midfield slot, even if David Beckham's snapped Achilles rules him out of the World Cup.
Between Shaun Wright-Phillips, Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon (if fit) and James Milner there is a wealth of talent at the Italian's disposal.
Portsmouth are interested in bringing Inter Milan’s Patrick Vieira back to England.
The only problem is that the former Arsenal man is injured…again.
I’ve been the Reuters sports correspondent in Milan for nearly two years and I have interviewed Vieira more times than I have seen him play live.
Italy may be thinking the gods are against them after World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was ruled out of Euro 2008 after being injured in their first training session in Austria. They needn’t worry too much.
The 2006 World Player of Year suffered ankle ligament damage after a robust tackle by fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini, who will now be in the running to take his place in the backline.