Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Treble? Manchester United’s season could still collapse

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Strong belief in emulating the 1999 treble must surely be gripping Old Trafford after Manchester United’s somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win at Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final first leg, but Alex Ferguson and his troops will also be aware they are still a long way from crossing the finish line first in any competition.

With Wayne Rooney losing his appeal to have a two-game ban reduced and the ever-present threat of injuries crippling a squad well short of the talent of the 1999 crop,  United will once again have to dig deep into their resources as the strength-sapping season reaches its climax.

United are seven points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League but what belies this seemingly big advantage in the run-in is the fact that Arsenal have a game in hand and only the league title to play for, which could be a telling factor when United visit the Emirates Stadium on May 1.

With Rooney out of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on April 16 there is no chance of him repeating the spectacular overhead kick which gave United a 2-1 win in their league fixture and Ferguson’s men may well find the going much more difficult against their fired-up neighbours, who have no other chance of silverware.

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

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SOCCER-WORLDThe first day of the fourth month means April fools day, so we would really love to hear from you if there are any dubious stories doing the rounds.

Here are some. Frank Lampard’s ‘goal that never was’ at the World Cup is to be finally given. Ronaldo will start playing for Spain. And here is a list of five other classics from the past.

Soccer Break Monday

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Welcome back to a new week of football stories but not before we’ve taken you through our roundup of the weekend’s action around Europe.

What was your highlight? Milan’s loss in Italy which breathed new life into the Serie A title chase, or the ability of the leaders in England, Spain, France and Germany to win no matter what?

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 Monday

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Good day everyone and welcome to a new week. Following a great weekend of footballing action and with so much at stake over the next few days in Europe, there is plenty to discuss.

Let’s begin with a look at the FA Cup quarter-finals, and please add the weekend of April 16/17 to your diaries as the Manchester derby will make its way to Wembley for the semi-finals while Stoke face Bolton.

Soccer Break Friday

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SOCCER-EUROPA/Friday. That means almost weekend. Which means yet more football. When does it ever stop? We don’t want it to though, especially with some cracking FA Cup games in store as well as Europe’s top sides slugging it out in their respective leagues.

First however, here’s our take on the Europa League action on Thursday. Some nicely poised ties, though it was not a good night for Liverpool or Manchester City, or Mario Balotelli for that matter.

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