Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Inter and Blackpool restore faith in the footballing dream

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Teams win against all the odds only in Hollywood movies.

Not true. Yet again real life has outstripped even the wildest fantasies of the greatest scriptwriters.

Italian football, overshadowed by England and Spain, was in the doldrums after their clubs failed to make any impact in the Champions League in the previous two seasons.

Inter Milan had not won the European Cup since 1965 and were last in a final in 1972. They always looked nervous in the Champions League, even against smaller clubs.

When Jose Mourinho arrived last season he knew European glory would be impossible in the first year. The mental block would have to be chipped away slowly.

Champions League final, Bayern Munich v Inter Milan — live

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Join us for tonight’s Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Madrid. Will it be Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho who wins the competition for the second time? Either way, we’re expecting a belting final at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

Champions League final approaches with so many distractions

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Saturday’s Champions League final should be the only show in town but the build-up to the game in Madrid is offering a host of distractions.

The beautiful Spanish weather could easily lull a Bayern Munich or Inter Milan fan into thinking they had just popped over for a holiday…that is until they look at the news stands.

Tears of goodbye from Inter’s Mourinho?

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The Special One finally allowed emotion to get the better of him on Sunday when tears were clearly visible in his eyes after Inter Milan wrapped up a fifth straight Serie A title and the second part of a potential treble.

Jose Mourinho is normally so clinical, so self-confident. Were they just tears of joy after retaining the scudetto or did he cry because he knows he will leave Italy after Saturday’s Champions League final with Bayern Munich?

Is there a way to stop end-of-season farces?

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AS Roma are absolutely livid after Inter Milan regained the lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Lazio, where the home fans cheered the goals as much as the away supporters.

Lazio fans hate Roma so much that many of them wanted their own side to lose on Sunday as it meant their bitter city rivals were knocked off top spot. This was despite the fact Lazio are not clear of relegation yet.

Guardiola needs to show mettle after Mourinho mugging

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Failure and Pep Guardiola are words that haven’t appeared together in the same sentence for some time, but the Barcelona coach has a big task on his hands if he is to prevent them being applied to his side’s end of the season.

He was right to argue after Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Inter Milan that it was hardly a case of his team being a victim of their own success.

Are Inter fans getting overexcited too early?

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Reaching a European Cup final for the first time since 1972 is success in itself for Inter Milan fans, as witnessed by the delirious scenes at Milan Malpensa airport as the team arrived back from eliminating holders Barcelona.

Jose Mourinho’s side are on for a treble, unprecendented in Italian soccer, but they have not yet tied up Serie A (two points ahead with three games left), the Italian Cup (final against Roma May 5) or the Champions League (final against Bayern Munich May 22 in Madrid).

Barcelona v Inter Milan — Champions League live

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Barcelona attempt to come back from a 3-1 defeat in the first leg when they host Inter Milan at Camp Nou. Will it be a happier night for Lionel Messi? Can Pep Guardiola get his own back on Jose Mourinho? Or will the Italians confirm their superiority and make it through to the final in Madrid?

Bayern Munich booked their place after a hat-trick from Ivica Olic earned them a 3-0 win in the second leg against Olympique Lyon and a 4-0 victory on aggregate. Read on in the live blog for details on how that happened.

Barca, Inter trade blows before European showdown

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/It’s considered irresponsible for a coach to call for fans to intimidate visiting teams and referees, just as it courts controversy to accuse rivals of diving a lot.

The restrictions on coaches are not so tightly applied to players so it was Gerard Pique and Thiago Motta who waded in to do the dirty work, in the buildup to Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final return between Barcelona and Inter Milan.

Did Barcelona sleep through the Inter videos?

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Inter Milan’s masterclass performance against Barcelona will have impressed many, including Pep Guardiola, and produced just the first-leg outcome the tie needed to set up a gripping return leg at the Nou Camp next Wednesday.

Graceful after his first two-goal defeat since he took over at Barcelona, Guardiola refused to blame the fact his team had endured a 14-hour coach ride to Milan after volcanic ash from Iceland grounded flights across Europe.
But, having said he had made good use of the trip by watching Inter videos, Guardiola might wonder whether some of his players had taken a nap when they should have been paying attention.

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