Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break Wednesday – Will you watch the Europa League final?

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Will you be watching the Europa League final later on Wednesday? Do you even know who is in the final? Does it annoy you that such a tough competition gets undervalued because of the unstoppable rise in popularity of the Champions League?

Anyway, enough questions. Venue: Dublin. Teams: Porto and Braga, two very contrasting Portuguese clubs. This could be one hell of a game, so watch it.

Porto will of course seek to get back to the heights of 2003 and 2004, when they followed their UEFA Cup triumph over Celtic with Champions League glory. But lose, and Braga winning would cap a remarkable season for the minnows. Either way, the signs are good for Portuguese football, in contrast with the country’s economy.

Right, transfer speculation now. Goalkeeper Shay a Given to leave Manchester City despite Champions League football next season? And how about unsettled Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe?

Is there a more superstitious industry than football?

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After a foray into the mix zone after the English League Cup final, the injured Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe replied to one journalist who asked him why he had cut all his hair off.

“I had to, I only ever seem to get injured when I have longer hair,” he said.

Kissing the badge, and other inadvisable ideas

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Score goals, kiss badge, declare love for fans, sign long-term contract, collect wages, change your mind and decide you want out a few months later; it’s becoming all too familiar.

Two glaring examples of this have hit the headlines in England recently with the opening of the January transfer window, starting with Jermain Defoe’s decision to follow Harry Redknapp back to Tottenham from Portsmouth.

Time to abolish cup-tied rule

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Defoe is challenged by ShoreySpare a thought for cup-tied Jermain Defoe this weekend, forced to sit on the sidelines when Portsmouth play West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley because of an antiquated rule the authorities should consider changing.

Defoe, who joined Portsmouth from Tottenham Hotspur just before the transfer window closed on January 31, played for his old club against Reading and Manchester United in the third and fourth rounds which ruled him out of the FA Cup for the rest of the season.

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