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So this week’s Champions League quarter-final action is over and the semi-finals are set up. As expected Real Madrid strolled through their second-leg against Spurs and will now face Barcelona. The Spanish giants are set to clash four times in 18 days, including Saturday’s La Liga match at the Bernabeu and the King’s Cup final on April 20 in Valencia.
After their astonishing win at the San Siro, Schalke 04 finished off the job against Inter to set up a meeting with Manchester United.
So, who do you expect to see in the final at Wembley on May 28? Does the fact that the Spanish teams are playing each other in an NBA style series increase the chances of an upset? United fans will be feeling they have the easier half of the draw but Schalke showed in their impressive victories over the defending champion that they are not going to be anything like a pushover for the Manchester team. Could they pull off another surprise? What are the chances of Raul v Real?
In the rest of football, FIFA released their latest world rankings today. The calculations are complicated but are supposed to reflect the current balance of power in the international game. But do they? Are England really the sixth best team in the world? Are the United States really better than Mexico? Or, for that matter, are Australia really better than the USA? And would you put money on Jamaica beating Scotland? Lots to argue about there and feel free to leave your thoughts below or pop over to our Reuters Soccer facebook page and ‘Like’ it and discuss.
A group of Mexican fans treated themselves to an extraordinary day in Polokwane.
Fantastico, were the words I could get out of a young Mexican lady who had just enjoyed a long massage, a dance with a cultural group and an exhilarating crash and drive on go-carts.
Nora Hop’s smile made up for the limit in English vocabulary as she tried to explain her first day in Polokwane. “Its wonderful, nice people, first time in South Africa and Polokwane,” she said.
The debate of inflated prices during the Soccer World Cup is an unending one. And in the end, what is on the price tag is entirely up to the service provider.
According to Ms Nikie Botha, a manager at the Jacaranda Overnight Accommodation in Polokwane, all-round kindness to your guests is more rewarding than ripping them off.
Join us for our podcast on day one of the first African World Cup, as hosts South Africa prepare to test their growing confidence against unpredictable Mexico in front of 90,000 vuvuzela-blaring fans in Soccer City.
Click the audio box above to hear the thoughts of African football expert Mark Gleeson (@markgleesonfoot), sports editor Paul Radford, soccer editor Mike Collett (@mcfootball), the suave and sophisticated Helen Popper and Ossian Shine (@ossianshine) and your host, Kevin Fylan (@kevinfreuters).
A muted send-off and a manager wanting more perhaps told the true story of England’s 3-1 friendly victory over Mexico at Wembley on Monday in which Fabio Capello was left with more questions than answers over his World Cup squad selection.
On the plus side, goalkeepers Joe Hart and in particular Robert Green would have given the Italian confidence in a position that poses a problem for fans with first-choice stopper David James still susceptible to a clanger.
After a week of largely upbeat build-up and nationwide publicity for a sport that so often struggles to get space, the league’s title deciding game, MLS Cup, was played out in front of over 46,000 fans here in Seattle – the city that is staking a strong claim to be the de facto home of U.S soccer.
Join Owen Wyatt for our regular wrap of world sport. This week, it’s a World Cup qualifier special, as we consider the plight of Diego Maradona and the battle for golden tickets for South Africa 2010.
We particularly welcome comments, so if you’d like to critique Owen’s schoolboy fashion errors, please do…
After a wave of optimism following their successful run in the Confederations Cup, the United States have come back down to earth with their 2-1 defeat to Mexico.
Although Mexico didn’t seal their victory on Wednesday until Miguel Sabah’s strike seven minutes from the end, the result actually flattered the United States who were outplayed at the Azteca stadium.