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Soccer Break – Wednesday edition part two

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Simon Evans here in Miami with an update on the most interesting stories out there on the web today:

Here in the States – Real Salt Lake turned in a very impressive display last night in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final, beating MLS rivals Columbus Crew 4-1. RSL are usually attractive to watch and you can catch some free goal highlights here. RSL become the first team from MLS to reach the last four in the CCL and they will play the winner of Thursday’s game between Costa Rica’s Saprissa and Olimpia of Honduras.

The New York Cosmos have headed out for a tour of Asia. Or as ‘Unprofessional Foul’ puts it: Non-Existent Soccer Team Tours Asia. Say what you like about the new New York Cosmos but their PR and marketing people are certainly putting in the hours.


In the Telegraph, Paul Kelso say
s that the British government wants to see concessions from the Premier League to help strengthen the performance of the national side. Politicians love to get involved in these sort of issues and in England you can’t lose by suggesting more needs to be done to help the national team but what actually can be done? And is it the job of government to get involved in these issues?

Twenty years on and Giggs quest for glory far from over

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/

Mike Collett on 20 years of Ryan Giggs

The world, and English soccer, was a very different place 20 years ago, but one thing has remained unchanged — Ryan Giggs is still playing for Manchester United and still in the hunt for trophies.

Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the day the skinny 17-year-old came on after 35 minutes of a match in the old First Division to replace the injured Denis Irwin for the first of what is now 863 appearances for the club.

Soccer Break – Wednesday edition

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SOCCER-ENGLANDHalfway through the working week and what better way to start your day than a rundown of Chelsea’s win over Manchester United to breathe new life into the Premier League title chase and fight for a top four place.

Cesc Fabregas, captain of United’s title rivals Arsenal, was clearly impressed by new Chelsea defender David Luiz, who scored a clinical equaliser in the absorbing match.

Van Persie to miss Barca clash…Arsenal’s chances gone?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/

Arsenal hitman Robin van Persie injured himself while scoring against Birmingham City in the League Cup final on Sunday and will now miss his team’s last 16 second leg clash against Barcelona on March 8. Not good news for the Gunners.

However, beat Leyton Orient in the FA Cup on Wednesday to set up a quarter-final with Manchester United, and keep the pressure up on their great rivals in the Premier League who have just lost to Chelsea, and there are still honours to be won.

Marvellous Marseille fans keep singing through the pain

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/I had been told the Stade Velodrome had a great atmosphere and after the constant noise the Marseille fans made in Wednesday’s 0-0 Champions league draw with Manchester United, I have one question – what would it be like if the stands had roofs?

Despite the dire match, the supporters at either side of the ground never stopped chanting and banging drums for a second. If the Velodrome wasn’t open to the elements I can only imagine that the noise would be even louder and give the home side an even bigger advantage.

Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special?

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney’s overhead scissors kick goal to win the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday has sparked a tidal wave of hyperbole in the British media, with “wonder goal” the most popular tag used to describe it.

The general consensus was not that it was just the nailed-on winner for “goal of the season” but was also the best of Rooney’s career and even the best ever seen at Old Trafford.

Rooney wonder strike could make United’s season

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney said it was his greatest goal and Alex Ferguson said he had never seen anything like it. Even opposition manager Roberto Mancini had to applaud.

So many times you see players fall flat on their faces as they attempt an overhead wonder goal but any smirks that might have been rising as Rooney embarked on what looked like mission impossible were quickly replaced by utter disbelief at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Chambery’s French passion underlines renaissance of domestic cups

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SOCCER-FRANCE/Fifth division Chambery’s stunning win over top-flight Sochaux to reach the French Cup quarter-finals has got a lot of people talking and I think it’s fair to say domestic cup competitions around Europe are enjoying a bit of a resurgence.

As this week proved with other games, Cup shocks are nothing new in France – something I knew before moving to Paris on Monday — but the fact newspapers and fans are stilll excited about Chambery’s run speaks volumes.

Kenny makes cute move in turning to Clark

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPKenny Dalgish resisted the temptation to surround himself with Liverpool “old boys” on Monday when Steve Clarke was named as first team coach at Anfield.

It was an astute decision by Dalglish to hire his fellow Scot whose background work at Chelsea as assistant to the high-profile Jose Mourinho was a factor in the London club’s back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.

Patience not always a virtue in Hodgson’s case

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SOCCER-EUROPA/The Liverpool owners’ decision to use this weekend’s break for the FA Cup as a chance to sit back and ponder the club’s future under Roy Hodgson is a rare patient act in the hasty world of soccer but it might not end up doing the manager any favours.

The Anfield club, just four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, face rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round of the Cup on Sunday after another week of speculation and supporter unrest surrounding Hodgson’s future.

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