Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Crossed wires give Confederations Cup the personal touch

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For fans seeking ticket information for the Confederation Cup, a number is listed on the FIFA site for a helpdesk with appropriate information.

The site, however, has inserted an extra 0 into the number so instead of dialing the correct number, calls go to the private line of the chief organiser, Danny Jordaan, increasingly bemused at the number of calls he is taking from the public about ticket availability and prices.

“Yes, there have been a lot,” he said laconically when Reuters called the alleged helpline number to check price information and got the big boss on the line instead.

Jordaan said he had asked for the number to be corrected, but in the meantime was happy to provide a personal touch to potential customers.

Confederations Cup shapes up well…except for the weather

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For all their scepticism about South Africa’s potential to host the World Cup, the build-up to the test event, the Confederations Cup, has so far gone without any major hitches.

It is a dream scenario for the home nation and FIFA, still trying to temper the doubters and persuade the world all will be ready by 2010, has added to the chorus of congratulations.

South African potential can emerge from mountain of bricks

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We are now less than a week away from the start of the Confederations Cup and the first true test of South Africa’s preparedness to host the 2010 World Cup.

It’s hard for a lot of people to take the Confederations Cup seriously, although in Germany four years ago it did develop into a summer festival and in the end proved a tasty appetiser before the main meal 12 months later.

from Raw Japan:

Japan coach Okada too bubbly?

As expected, Japan booked their place in next year’s World Cup soccer finals with two games to spare, sparking wild celebrations after a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan on Saturday.

Perhaps he had celebrated too much on the flight back from Tashkent, but less than 24 hours later Japan coach Takeshi Okada was talking about reaching the World Cup semi-finals in South Africa. It is hard to imagine Spain's Vicente del Bosque or England's Fabio Capello losing much sleep.SOCCER-WORLD/

Santana’s stuttering English is a good sign for South Africa

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South Africa’s Brazilian coach Joel Santana has broken into English at news conferences on just a handful of occasions.

It’s mostly after rare wins for the national side when the local media are in good humour and Santana seeks to charm them with his piecemeal vocabulary. Few notes are taken amid the mirth.

Can the Balkans do a World Cup quadruple?

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Soccer leagues in the Balkans are suffering from an uncontrolled outflow of talent to wealthier and more competitive environments in Europe and it’s a trend that’s benefiting some of the region’s national teams.

At least three countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia stand a good chance of reaching next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

from Africa News blog:

Togo need a miracle

It is hard to fathom what the motivation for Jean Thissen’s decision would be. He takes on the job as national team coach of Togo just over two weeks before the resumption of Africa’s World Cup qualifiers and with the very real prospect of having to do without his best player.

Thissen is the third new coach to take over at the helm of a side who are still in the World Cup race and set out at the end of this month on the final leg of the fight for one of the five berths for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

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