Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Sweden’s 3-2 victory over the Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2012 may have surprised many observers, but Swedish footballers have a long history of success against Dutch opposition.
The home of “Total Football” has for many years been something of a finishing school for Swedish footballers, and five of the players in the victorious Sweden squad play their club football in the Netherlands.
Many others have passed through Holland on their way to better things.
“Holland is not unlike Sweden. When they get there, Swedish players are well-schooled and it’s a good country to go to, especially as a first stop (in their career),” Henrik Larsson told the Reuters Sports Blog the day after the Swedes handed the Dutch their only defeat of the qualifying campaign.
“They play good football and most people there speak English, so you can make yourself understood much easier than in a league that has a more difficult language,” Larsson said.
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.
Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?
Tuesday’s matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana’s lighting up of London, to Australia’s World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.
Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.
Don’t look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It’s just this week it’s the international break.
We’ll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA’s executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.
If Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk had slapped down Nigel de Jong after the World Cup final, Hatem Ben Arfa might now not be facing six months out with a broken leg.
Instead, only after a second “robust” challenge has De Jong been punished by being dropped for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers with Moldova and Sweden.
We’ve followed every World Cup match live here and it’s now time for the final — the Netherlands v Spain. Join us here for commentary, discussion of the game and the best photos in the world.
Two national market indexes that may not shine on Monday are those of Spain and the Netherlands, whose soccer teams are scheduled to meet in the World Cup’s championship game on Sunday.
Whichever country’s team loses can expect a drag on its market index of 49 basis points, said Wharton business school professor Alex Edmans. That is the amount that national stock indexes tend to be held back on average on the day after their country is eliminated from the World Cup, according to a paper he published in 2007 with two co-authors, Diego Garcia of the University of North Carolina and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management.
Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana’s desperate misfortune.