Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

from Photographers' Blog:

Yes, my job really is this glamorous

When people ask me what I do for a living, or they hear tales from my wife about me being away at the Olympics or shooting football or golf or a Papal visit somewhere, the usual response is to tell me how glamorous my job is, rubbing shoulders with all these famous sporting and political icons and how lucky I am to get to attend all these events and call it work!

Granted, I am incredibly lucky to have an office that regularly includes Premier League football grounds and other major sporting events, but glamorous......not a word I would often use, and last night was a perfect case in point.

I've been shooting professionally now for 15 years. Being located in the north of England, an awful lot of that time has been spent shooting football, which we all know is an outdoor sport. I've experienced most things that football can throw at you: the thrills, the spills and the bad weather. But I have never been as wet as I was at last night's league cup game between Liverpool and Northampton Town.

Photographer Phil Noble at Liverpool's and Northampton Town's English League Cup soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, September 22, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The early rounds of the annual cup competitions always throw up the classic David and Goliath contests with teams from the lower leagues drawn against the Premiership big boys,. This one had all the ingredients for an upset, especially when you take into account my beloved Liverpool's off pitch going's on with talk of takeovers and board room splits being rife. So, the game plan had to be to shoot as if Liverpool would lose, after all they are expected to beat a team from the lower divisions with ease, so where is the story in that?

Blackpool offer refreshing antidote to bloated Premier League

Photo
-

SOCCER-ENGLAND/August remains a time for cricket and athletics in many people’s minds but if we are going to have football then it was probably fitting that the most uplifting performance of the opening day of the Premier League season came from the country’s number one seaside holiday destination.

For a few heady hours Blackpool were top of the league after their remarkable 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic and though Chelsea later displaced them after thrashing West Brom 6-0 Blackpool’s fans will cherish memories of Saturday for as long as they live.

Spain’s queen visits locker room, Puyol in towel

Photo
-

Spain’s Queen Sofia visited the locker room  after the national team beat  Germany 1-0 in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Most of the players got a heads up and scrambled into their clothes.

SOCCER-WORLD/But no one warned Carles Puyol, hero of the moment, who emerged from treatment on his knee, wearing only a towel. Discomfitted, the Barcelona defender blushed and scurried to hide behind his teammates.

from Photographers' Blog:

Samurais in South Africa

I arrived in South Africa with the Japan team filled with excitement and an acute feeling of anxiety. Never mind that I would be on the scene to cover the world's biggest sporting event, and never mind that I would be competing against the top sports photographers from around the globe to get the best pictures. For a Reuters photographer like myself dedicated to a single team, when your team drops out of the competition, you're finished. Like the defeated team, you go back to the hotel, pack your bags and spend the long flight home wondering what went wrong. Based on Japan's lackluster showing in the East Asia Soccer Championship my expectation for Japan was three defeats in a row and no victories. Mine would be a short stay in South Africa.

A Japanese boy living in South Africa reacts as he watches Japan's national soccer team depart from South Africa at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg June 30, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

But during Japan's first match against Cameroon the Samurai Blue seemed to transform themselves in front of my eyes with Keisuke Honda’s goal being the catalyst. Japan was defeated by the Netherlands in their second match but the Samurais demonstrated the unity of the team in their performance and they were victorious against Denmark in their third match. In doing so they completely wiped out the image that I held of the Japan team before going into the competition. I was covering the world's biggest sporting event, and I was going up against the top sports photographers, but in this World Cup Japan's victory meant that the formidable teams of France and Italy and the even more formidable photographers accompanying them were going home. Not me.

England defence crumble in German masterclass

Photo
-

SOCCER-WORLD/

England coach Fabio Capello would do well to take a transcript copy of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s post-match press conference – because in it he would find all the simple reasons why his side were trounced 4-1 and sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday.

In it, Loew rather clinically explained to the international press sat before him that his side were instructed to target John Terry, pull him out of position and pretty much walk into the huge gaps created in England’s snail-paced central rearguard.

from Photographers' Blog:

Looking ahead to England vs Germany

Photographers Dylan Martinez and Kai Pfaffenbach discuss what they expect from Sunday's World Cup match between England and Germany.

Donovan leads America to the promised landon

-

donovanThe following is a guest post by David Henry Sterry, who is co-author of “The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide, for those who like their soccer with a side of kick ass.” The opinions expressed are his own.



It was do or die today for USA and Algeria. When do you ever get to put “USA,” “Algeria,” and “do or die” in the same sentence? That’s what we love about the World Cup. After the draw that was ripped from the jaws of victory by the evil Coulibaly of Mali, everyone from noted Scottish/Berkeley soccer pundit Alan Black to venerable English broadcaster Martin Tyler to American tennis sensation Andy Roddick called the decision a pox on the backside of world soccer.

from Africa News blog:

Searching for it — not quite feeling it — in Polokwane

Searching for it -- not quite feeling it -- in Polokwane The fan fest sounded like a wild party with the vuvuzela horns booming through the empty streets of Polokwane town, one of the smallest of 10 venues for the first World Cup on African soil. Everyone must be there, we thought as there was little going on for a Saturday night in the northern South African town. Even the local Nandos restaurant on the main street shut by 8 p.m. But on closer inspection the soccer fan fest -- loud as it was -- was also pretty deserted. Soccer fever has yet to reach Polokwane. A sleepy town of just 500,000 people, it was hard to imagine Polokwane, which means place of safety, would host its first World Cup soccer match in less than 24 hours. In Johannesburg or Cape Town you could definitely "feel it". Here we weren't so sure. Driving through the town's eerily deserted streets searching for a restaurant where we could eat and watch the soccer, we discovered that was not an easy find. It was also hard to imagine what long-term benefit the town would see from being a host city. While for the four matches to be played in Polokwane the few hotels on offer for tourists were full, in between there were plenty of rooms at the inn. No team was staying nearby which would bring with it the paraphenalia of adoring fans or news-hungry media and the associated business. Those playing were flown in for pre-match training, again the day of the match and ferried back straight after. Police closed down the roads near the stadium on the edge of town the night before. But those fearing traffic similar to the four-hour long queues witnessed in Johannesburg trying to get to Soocer City need not have bothered. The streets were empty, the car parks empty and -- just 30 minutes before kick-off -- the stadium was half empty. By the second half, the stands were just about three-quarters full, though the blasts of the vuvuzelas compensated for the missing supporters. The Peter Mokaba stadium almost looked like they hadn't had time to finish painting it, with the stark grey concrete of the outer wall in direct contrast with Soccer City in Johannesburg's brightly coloured exterior. The inside was still coated in construction dust and most of the refreshment stands remained shuttered and closed during the match. Just two hours after the players left we found ourselves the lone figures in a dark stadium struggling to see the keyboard as we tapped out the finishing touches to our stories. Even the name of the stadium was controversial. Mokaba was the African National Congress (ANC)'s youth league leader who, like his current counterpart Julius Malema, was fond of the phrase "Kill The Boer," which upset many Afrikaners. Ironically there's not even a local soccer team to make use of the sparkling pitch. Residents said the Rai Stars disbanded long ago and the nearby promising Black Leopards team are based more than 150 kilometres away in a less than World Cup standard stadium. <http://www.blackleopardsfc.com/10_stadium_info.htm> The Dynamos train 100 kilometres away. Neither team play in the country's top league. "You can't help thinking this huge stadium will just be derelict and empty in a few years time," said one hotel worker.

Polokwane StadiumThe soccer fan fest sounded like a wild party with the vuvuzela horns booming through the empty streets of Polokwane town, one of the smallest of 10 venues for the first World Cup on African soil.

Everyone must be there, we thought as there was little happening on a Saturday night in the northern South African town centre.

from Photographers' Blog:

Fans, fire and fury

Fenerbahce's hopes of winning the Turkish league title for the 18th time were all resting on the final round of games in the 2009-2010 Super League. Expectations among their fans were high, with the major Istanbul club knowing a win at home against Trabzonspor was enough to clinch the championship.

Second-placed Bursaspor were one point behind Fenerbahce on 72 points and faced the tough prospect of a match against last year's champions Besiktas. Some 50,000 Fenerbahce fans wearing navy blue and yellow jerseys took their seats at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium with their attention focused more on celebrating their imminent title triumph than on watching the game.

from Left field:

Who will rise to the occasion and become a worthy replacement for Beckham?

SOCCER-ITALY/BECKHAMFabio Capello has plenty of options for the right midfield slot, even if David Beckham's snapped Achilles rules him out of the World Cup.

Between Shaun Wright-Phillips, Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon (if fit) and James Milner there is a wealth of talent at the Italian's disposal.

  •