Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Let’s take ‘deliberately’ out of the handball law

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I have a suggestion on how to clear up inconsistencies with handballs.

Law 12 states that “a direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player…handles the ball deliberately”.                                                                  

In reality, we all know this rule isn’t always applied correctly. When the ball strikes a hand or an arm which is well away from the body and all the stadium can see it, the referee will invariably give a foul whether it was deliberate or not (we can also argue whether the player is being naive by having his arms flailing about).

I think we should take ‘deliberately’ out of the law and replace it with “…gains an advantage from handling the ball”.

A perfect example was Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Torino and AC Milan. Hosts Torino scored a late equaliser from the spot after the ball hit Milan defender Kakha Kaladze on the thigh before striking his outstretched arm. 

Does striptease count as unsporting behaviour?

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Catania’s Gianvito Plasmati engaged in an unusual bit of distraction when he pulled down his shorts before team mate Giuseppe Mascara curled in a freekick during a 3-2 Serie A win over Torino.

According to Italy’s referees’ chief and former top official Pierluigi Collina, showing off your underpants to a rival goalkeeper counts as unsporting behaviour and deserved a yellow card.

Imprisonment – a good way to motivate a struggling team?

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On the whole, the lot of a Serie A player is sweet – the pay and the food are good while there are plenty of pretty monuments to see on your day off.

A downside, however, is that if your team are doing badly, you risk living in conditions of near imprisonment for several weeks.

Del Piero…34 years young

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Italy coach Marcello Lippi doesn’t want him, his predecessor Roberto Donadoni wasn’t keen, but Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero just keeps on coming up with the goods.

Few visiting players get standing ovations at the Bernabeu, but Il Capitano deserved it after two sublime strikes in Juve’s shock 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday which sent the in-form Turin club to the Champions League last 16.

Gilardino handball goal ban sets interesting precedent

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Imagine the scenario. FIFA decides to use post-match video evidence at the 1986 World Cup. After Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-final, the Argentinian is banned for two matches and the course of football history changes.

Belgium beat West Germany in the final in Mexico City.

A two-game ban is exactly what Alberto Gilardino has received for deliberately scoring the opener with his arm in Fiorentina’s 3-1 win at Palermo on Sunday.

Let’s scrap anthems before international matches

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Do all Honduras fans dress like that?French politicians were outraged after the Marseillaise was booed by the large contingent of Tunisia fans before Tuesday’s friendly at the Stade de France.  

Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot said that France matches must be stopped if it happens again and French Football Federation chief Jean-Pierre Escalettes was summoned by President Nicolas Sarkozy for a meeting.  

Why are Italian coaches so good?

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Marcello LippiItaly’s Marcello Lippi has equalled the record for the most Azzurri games without defeat and Fabio Capello’s England have managed their best ever start to World Cup qualifying.

We should also not forget evergreen Giovanni Trapattoni, whose modest yet undefeated Ireland side are just three points behind world champions Italy in Group Eight.

Should fans be criticised for booing their own team?

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Fabio CapelloSupporters are in the firing line after incidents at this weekend’s World Cup qualifiers.

England fans were criticised by coach Fabio Capello and stand-in captain Rio Ferdinand for booing Ashley Cole after his mistake led to a goal in the 5-1 win over Kazakhstan. 

Lippi’s back but same Italian frailties remain

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Marcello LippiWatching a rudderless Italy at Euro 2008 was like having my teeth pulled out.

Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw against Austria in Marcello Lippi’s first game back in charge since winning the World Cup was less painful, but serious problems persist.

Gone are the days of a rock solid Italian defence. Sure Fabio Cannavaro is still injured having missed the stuttering run to the Euro quarter-finals, but even he is not the player he was.

Why don’t Englishmen like Lampard want to play abroad?

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Frank Lampard’s decision to sign a new contract with Chelsea and shun the advances of Inter Milan was hardly a surprise.

The midfielder made a wise choice if he based the decision on the previous experiences of English players in Italy.

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