Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

New Zealand draw with Italy in another World Cup shock

Photo

YEAREND PICTURESNew Zealand could not quite pull off a win over Italy in their second Group F game on Sunday but a 1-1 draw still represented an extraordinary achievement.

New Zealand are at number 78 in the FIFA rankings and began the tournament as 1,000-1 outsiders while Italy are the World champions yet you would never have known it from the game in Nelspruit.

Here, my colleague Mike Collett picks out the 10 greatest upsets in World Cup history. Let us know if you agree in the comments:

1. North Korea 1 Italy 0, Middlesbrough, England, July 19 1966:

North Korea, playing in the World Cup for the first time, were given no hope of beating an Italian team containing greats such as Giacinto Facchetti, Sandro Mazzola and Gianni Rivera. But Pak Doo-ik consigned them to the greatest World Cup shock defeat of all time with a 42nd minute goal and Italy never recovered, were eliminated and pelted by rotten fruit when they arrived back home.

England melt in World Cup pressure cooker

Photo

SOCCER-WORLD/After England treated their fans to a second excruciatingly dull World Cup performance in South Africa on Friday, those wanting answers were left with a bemused looking Fabio Capello and an irate Wayne Rooney rant to television cameras.

England 0 Algeria 0 was not what anyone had in mind for Friday’s Group C showdown in Cape Town and Three Lions’ fans certainly were not expecting to wake up to British tabloid headlines such as ‘Roo-boo-zela’ and ‘Cape Clowns’ the next morning.

from Africa News blog:

Searching for it — not quite feeling it — in Polokwane

Photo
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.

World Cup 2010 podcast – day 7

Photo

Join Mike Collett, Mark Gleeson, Simon Evans and Kevin Fylan for a little night’s look back on a long day of excellent football at the World Cup in South Africa.

The toughest job at the World Cup

Photo

RTR2F6RQ[2]bielsasmall

Can there be a more difficult job at the World Cup than providing the simultaneous translation when Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa is speaking?

The enigmatic Bielsa, who coached his native Argentina at the 2002 World Cup, has a unique manner of expressing himself — he actually says much the same things as other coaches but talks like an eccentric professor.

Floodgates should open after slow start

Photo

RTR2F80Q[2]nkoreasmall

The opening group stage matches at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa produced only 25 goals in 16 matches, 14 less than the same stage of the competition at the 2006 event in Germany.

The low average of just 1.56 goals per game can probably be attributed to a number of factors: the much-criticised World Cup ball, cagey defending by teams playing against stronger opposition and even unfamiliar weather conditions for this time of the year for all non-African teams.

Student loses shorts during training

SOCCER-WORLD/

A portly South African student joined in Italy training on Thursday but got more than he bargained for when he lost his shorts trying a diving header and was later asked to step aside.

The world champions had invited a talented club player to take part in their session given they had unequal numbers with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Andrea Pirlo missing through injury.

Swiss breathe much-needed life into World Cup

Photo

RTR2F999[5]swisssmall

Who would have thought it would fall to Switzerland to rescue the World Cup from drowning in a sea of tedium?

Until the nation that voted against giving itself an extra day’s public holiday stunned European champions Spain 1-0 in Durban on Wednesday, the first week of the World Cup had been desperately disappointing.

Community Blog: Shay’ ivuvuzela, or not

Photo

SOCCER-WORLD/Love it or hate it, the vuvuzela has brought a buzz to the 2010 Word Cup.  Some fans from around the world have embraced this trumpet and are all merrily blowing away at the stadiums.  Some cannot stand it and have asked Fifa to put a stop to the trumpet.

We took a stroll in one of the malls in Johannesburg and did a little survey on what people think about vuvuzelas.

Ball not to blame for goalkeeping howlers

Photo


The standard of goalkeeping in the early stages of this World Cup has not been the best but blame cannot lie with the controversial Jabulani ball.

Keepers and even strikers have criticised the adidas ball for being too light but the makers have said it is the roundest and truest ball ever created.

  •