Reuters Soccer Blog

Back on Robben Island — the men who changed the game

December 3, 2009

The year 1964 was a highly significant one in the fight against Apartheid: Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island and FIFA suspended South Africa from football because of the legalised racist policies of its Government.

Live World Cup draw blog on Friday – please join in

December 3, 2009

Just a heads up we will be running a live World Cup draw blog on this site from around 1630 GMT on Friday so feel free to join in the fun.

France miss out on being World Cup seeds

December 2, 2009

France, winners in 1998 and finalists last time, will not be one of the eight top seeds at next June’s World Cup.

Parreira’s return condemned by South African media

By Mark Gleeson
October 26, 2009

Carlos Alberto Parreira’s return as South Africa coach has been widely pilloried in the country’s media, a stark contrast to the almost universal approval he received when he took the job the first time round in late 2006.

UPDATE: Should South Africa have gone local?

October 23, 2009

(Updates after Parreira appointed)

Joel Santana arrived for what he thought was a routine review of his work with his South African Football Association bosses on Monday and within hours was packing his bags for a return to Brazil, ending his tenure as the 15th coach employed by South Africa in the last 17 years.

World Cup playoff draw – your views

October 19, 2009

Draw for the European World Cup playoffs:

Republic of Ireland v France
Portugal v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Greece v Ukraine
Russia v Slovenia

Can Santana cling on to South Africa job?

By Mark Gleeson
October 16, 2009

South Africa coach Joel Santana has been given two more games to show progress with his side or face being fired just six months before the country hosts the 2010 World Cup finals.

The all-star XI in World Cup trouble

October 9, 2009

Some of football’s biggest names, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, are in danger of missing out on next year’s World Cup, as countries such as Argentina, Portugal and France struggle in qualification.

from Left field:

Soccer trumps rugby in Florence

September 9, 2009

It had long been decided that Italy's rugby team would host world champions South Africa in Florence on Saturday Nov. 21.

Rosario prepares for rare sight of Messi

September 4, 2009

So often ahead of a great sporting event, there is little evidence of a city’s awareness that it is hosting something special, like last year’s Euro2008 in Austria and Switzerland. Not so Argentina’s big match with arch football enemies Brazil in this riverside city 300 km north of Buenos Aires, home to a bitter rivalry of its own between Rosario Central and Newell’s Old Boys.Saturday’s World Cup qualifier is the talk of the town which was surprisingly offered the match in June after national team coach Diego Maradona criticized River Plate’s Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.Fans of Rosario’s two big clubs, kept apart to avoid potential fights, have been queuing for tickets since Monday outside their respective stadiums, braving the rain and cold of an Argentine winter in real or makeshift tents.There is a new breed of profiteers called queuers, people who stand in line for a fee and buy your tickets for you, a local journalist said.With so much at stake for Argentina, who need to pick up points to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive, there are fears of violence after the match if Maradona’s team lose.Far fewer people will be able to go to the match at Central’s ground, commonly know as the Giant of Arroyito, which holds 41,000, than would have got into River Plate, with a capacity for 65,000.But the move has been a boon for Rosario’s hotels and restaurants, which usually have a quiet time in the winter, and street vendors of football paraphernalia.Light blue and white striped Argentina shirts with Messi and the number 10 on the back are among the biggest selling items.Lionel Messi, a son of Rosario, has never played an official match in his home town, having been whisked away to Barcelona as a mere 13-year-old, forging a career in Europe that has him on the verge of being named the world’s top player.One of the youngsters queuing for tickets, a fan of Messi’s former club Newell’s Old Boys, said: “It’s worth waiting because don’t often see the ‘seleccion’ and even less Leo (Messi), whom we see on TV playing for Barcelona.”Fans hope to see Messi tear Brazil apart and ensure he and Argentina go on to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year.PHOTO: A street vendor sells masks outside Rosario Central stadium ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Brazil, September 4, 2009. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci