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A devastated Diego Maradona left his future open after Argentina’s painful 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday.
Maradona said defeat was like receiving a punch from Muhammad Ali and there will be many who will criticise the coach for his squad picks, team selection and tactics after the country’s heaviest World Cup loss since 1958.
It was indeed a real buffeting and I’m sure anti-Maradonistas will find plenty of arguments to back up calls for his departure but I suspect many neutrals at this World Cup will feel his boundless energy and the clear bond he had with his players offered a persuasive argument for him to continue in charge.
“I’m so proud of my players and I would like to thank them,” he said in an address that at times sounded valedictory. “I may leave tomorrow but I want these boys to go on showing what they can do. We didn’t fulfil the dream but I believe whoever comes after me will follow a path true to Argentine football.”
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.
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.
People can and will talk about Frank Lampard’s wrongly-disallowed goal all day long but to concentrate on that would miss the much bigger problems that contributed to one of England’s worst-ever World Cup performances.
Claims that their players play too many games, suffer from not having a winter break and that the national team is hurt by the number of foreign players in key positions at the Premier League’s major clubs are all valid.
Prior to the game a commentator had bragged, “England have certainly won in the song stakes”. He was right. England had won in the song stakes and after the penalties this other victory gave me something to cling to.
After struggling earlier in his round he has fought back to be level with his opponent but the best finisher will play Paul Lawrie and then Tony Jacklin in the next two rounds while the loser will take on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is serious about his soccer. He is a cheerleader for the US bid to host the World Cup; proud of the prowess on the pitch in South Africa for the red, white and blue; a fan of the noisemaking vuvuzela and a thinker who sees the beautiful game as a way to gain insight on disputes between ethnic groups and nations.
Clinton, still jubilant after attending a dramatic U.S. victory in stoppage time over Algeria a night ago, spoke to a roundtable of reporters for about an hour on Thursday. For him, the game is an intellectual pursuit and a passion. One book he cited was How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory on Globalization, by Franklin Foer. Foer offered some insight on his theories in an interview a few years ago with Mother Jones magazine.
Chile’s 1-0 win over Switzerland, with a controversial goal and a dubious red card for their opponents, may have been highly controversial but there was no contesting the words of their coach Marcelo Bielsa afterwards — simply because it was almost impossible to understand what he was saying.
After our first excursion into the mind of Bielsa, here are some more gems from the spectacularly verbose Argentine, whose team need a draw against Spain on Friday to make sure of a second round place.