Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
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.
In the top flight for the first time since 1971, red-hot favourites for an immediate relegation and with an annual budget that would barely cover Manchester City’s weekly wage bill, Ian Holloway’s team are the antithesis of what the Premier League has become.
As City continue to shell out untold millions to build a squad so big that someone like Craig Bellamy is squeezed out, Blackpool have steadfastly refused to be drawn into the potentially ruinous spending spiral that arrival in the Premiership can often spark.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
The 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:
The 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:
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:
Fabio 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.
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.