Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Welcome to our latest Reuters 2010 World Cup podcast, as we follow the lead of the world’s most famous psychic octopus and try to predict what will happen in the quarter-finals. Kevin Fylan is joined by Paul Radford, Jon Bramley, Ken Ferris and Mr Mark Gleeson.
Germans used to laugh at soccer players who wore long johns in the winter, belittling anyone who opted not to play in shorts as a light-weight. Germans even have a derogatory name for the thermal underwear: Liebestoeter (passion killers).
That was before Arjen Robben scored two goals and led Bayern Munich to three straight wins in his woolly grey long johns. They may make him look like a 19th century grampa getting ready to get into a cold bed. But they’re “hot pants” as far as Bayern are concerned.
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…
Italians are suspicious of everything, or so it seems. Several of my friends in Milan refuse to eat pasta or pizza outside Italy because they don’t believe it will taste the same.
They are just as circumspect when it comes to soccer.
The Dutch have already qualified for the Euro 2008 quarter-finals and meet second-placed Romania in their final Group C match in Berne on Tuesday. World champions Italy need the Dutch to get a result to have any chance of going above the Romanians by beating or drawing with France.
Some you win and some you lose but it looks like almost every journalist and most TV commentators, as well as the Italian players, were totally wrong in claiming Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s opening goal against Italy in Netherlands’ 3-0 win in Berne on Monday was offside.
UEFA have confirmed that referee Peter Frojdfeldt and his assistant Stefan Wittberg were absolutely correct in awarding the goal. UEFA general secretary David Taylor said the ref interpreted Law 11 relating to offside correctly and the reason why is this:
World champions Italy had no cohesion, no passion and no luck in their 3-0 defeat by the Dutch, but they also had something else important missing — fans.
The Stade de Suisse in Berne was three-quarters orange with only a small section of the 30,000 crowd speckled with blue shirts. Italian fans have never travelled well but with Milan just hours away by train, it was bizarre that the Dutch outnumbered them so hugely for the Euro 2008 Group C opener.
AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has pulled out of the provisional Dutch squad for Euro 2008 after falling out with coach Marco van Basten.
That got me thinking about other top players who won’t be in Austria and Switzerland in June. Mark van Bommel said a while back he wouldn’t play for Holland under Van Basten but Ruud van Nistelrooy is back after patching things up with the coach.
If Wednesday’s friendlies involving the 16 Euro 2008 finalists are anything to go by, the June event should be a real treat for the fans, with plenty of goals, near-misses and desperate defending, and the chance of a few shocks too.
Written off by most pundits as little more than a punching bag, the Austrians showed in the first 30 minutes of their astonishing 4-3 defeat to the Netherlands that they might be a tough nut to crack playing at home after all.