Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Will Gasperini last at Inter?

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Many sceptical Inter Milan fans will tell you they could see their dreadful start to the season coming as soon as Gian Piero Gasperini was surprisingly named as coach.

Unproven at the very top level and having always shown a penchant for a leaky three at the back, the former Genoa boss was undoubtedly not Inter’s first choice when Leonardo left after only six months to seek a new challenge in the boardroom at Paris St Germain.

For various reasons, Inter could not find anyone more accomplished and after going through Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Leonardo in just a year, the club thought an Italian coach who at least understood Serie A in detail would be a decent if unspectacular appointment.

However, three opening losses including Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Champions League group stage debutants Trabzonspor has prompted Italian media to suggest Gasperini will be sacked if the 2010 European Cup winners lose this weekend’s league clash with AS Roma.

Do Manchester United need Wesley Sneijder?

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Paul Scholes may have left a huge pair of boots to fill in Manchester United’s midfield, but Alex Ferguson may not have to add a big-money signing to his squad if their performance in a captivating 3-2 Community Shield win over Manchester City is anything to go by.

While Ferguson has apparently made several attempts to lure Inter Milan and Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder to his outfit during the break, United’s second-half comeback at Wembley suggests he may have found one or two replacements closer to home.

Who is new Inter coach Gian Piero Gasperini?

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It is the question on the lips of many football fans around the world. Why would the 2010 European champions recruit an unknown as coach?

Inter would argue Gasperini is not a nobody having guided Genoa to decent success in Serie A but the fact he was sacked by the mid-table side in November is not particularly aupiscious. He was also shocked to get the job.

Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EUROPA/How can the upcoming domestic matches beat this week’s European action for goals? 19 were scored in Thursday’s four Europa League quarter-finals, with a further 18 coming in the four Champions League last eight ties on Tuesday and Wednesday.

What the top leagues around Europe do have however is drama, with most leagues set to go down to the wire, whereas only two out of eight of next week’s quarter-final second legs are in the balance.

Soccer Break Thursday – Champions League recap

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Where to start after four brilliant Champions League quarter-finals, even if the intrigue for next week’s second legs has all but gone from three of the ties with Barcelona leading Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1, Real Madrid 4-0 up against Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 in total charge against holders Inter Milan after the 5-2 triumph at the San Siro.

However, the appetite has most certainly been whet for the very probable ‘Clasico’ semi-final between Real and Barcelona, a meeting of the world’s two best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. April 26 or 27 and May 3 or 4. Do not miss these dates. Not that Spain’s two leading clubs are thinking that far ahead.

Soccer Break Wednesday – Champions League week special

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/REALGot your breath back yet? Perfected the Dejan Stankovic volley in your mirror ready to take out on the pitch? Well Tuesday’s first installment of four Champions League quarter-final evenings was spectacular and there is more to come on Wednesday.

First, a recap of last night. The Real Madrid backlash did kick in, though against the 10 men of Tottenham Hotspur and two extremely well-taken goals that on another night may have gone wide of the post.

Soccer Break Monday – Champions League last eight week special

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/With all the hype surrounding this week’s Champions League quarter-finals, the events of the weekend seem like a distant memory. Here’s a recap of a fascinating set of results around Europe the past few days.

Before we move on, your thoughts please. Does Wayne Rooney deserve to be punished for his outburst on camera against West Ham? And Fulham fans, did you take a picture with Michael Jackson on Sunday?

Soccer Break Friday – Champions League draw special

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Well well well. Now the Champions League really is wide open..

So here’s that quarter-final draw again:

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea v Manchester United

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan v Schalke 04

As Gary Lineker put it, there will be an English team in the semi-finals, but could Tottenham make it two sides? Real are certainly not invincible.

Now, before taking a look at all the domestic leagues over the weekend, a recap of Thursday’s highlights from the Europa League. Quite a night of upsets.

Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/That Champions League and drama undoubtedly go hand in hand was again in evidence after another tense night in Europe, with one blog even describing Inter Milan’s comeback victory over Bayern Munich as one of the best Champions League matches of all time.

As if that’s not enough, a “Little Pea” was scoring a double for Manchester United to send them through to their 11th quarter-final in just 19 years of the competition. No club has reached the last eight on more occasions.

Soccer Break Tuesday

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPThe pain for Arsenal fans just rolls on it would seem, as a trip to my office’s kitchen confirmed on Monday when I heard two voices grumbling about “Van Persie” and “not enough shots”.

The North London club’s woes of the last two weeks or so have been much publicised, but perhaps at last there is some news to cheer Gunners fans up in the return of former keeper Jens Lehmann? Who would you prefer in goal? Lehmann, or Arsenal’s only currently available goalie Manuel Almunia, in good form in the last two matches against Barcelona and Manchester United?

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