Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Does the captaincy really matter in football?

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Here’s a question for you: Who is Manchester United’s official club captain?

The hullabaloo surrounding the England cricket skipper has shown how different the role is in the two sports.

I think Gary Neville is actually the club captain at United, but to be honest I’m not sure. He has been injured for most of the last two years so Ryan Giggs took over.

The Welshman is in and out of the team, though, so Rio Ferdinand has donned the armband the most recently. (The pair lifted the Champions League trophy in May, see right, with poor Gary left on the sidelines).

It will take more than Huntelaar to save Real’s season

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Real Madrid appear to need more than the couple of ‘youngsters with a future’ their president Ramon Calderon has promised for January if their season is not going to drift away from them.

Ajax striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar will be the first new arrival after Real came to an agreement to sign him, but he will not have been impressed with Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Getafe.

Have Real Madrid lost their transfer market mojo?

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Van der Vaart and Schuster

Have the nine-times European champions Real Madrid lost their pulling power, or did they just play the market badly this time?

They put all their eggs (well, most of them) in one basket to land Cristiano Ronaldo but only succeeded in upsetting Robinho when he found out they might sell him to help finance the deal.

Spain’s non-galacticos deliver deserved triumph

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Spain celebrate euro 2008 win

Spain made winning Euro 2008 look decidedly easy, but a major tournament triumph does not come by accident. Here’s how Spain’s first big title in 44 years came about.

1. Game plan: Spain concentrated on doing what they do best, namely keeping the ball and letting their rivals exhaust themselves trying to win it back. It meant tough decisions for coach Luis Aragones, who left good, but less technically gifted footballers at home. Aragones based his team on the creative talents who came through the Barca youth teams — Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas – and stuck with them to the end.

Spain win Euro 2008 after 44 years of hurt – your views

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Fernando Torres scores

It took 44 years but Spain are finally European champions once again.

A well-taken first half goal from Fernando Torres sealed a 1-0 win over Germany in an open, attacking final which summed up the whole of Euro 2008.

Looking at the match and the finals in general, technically-gifted Spain probably deserved to end their major tournament hoodoo. Do you agree?  

English look on as Euro 2008 shows gulf in class

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Daniel Guiza

In our area of London, national flags have hung in shop windows, kids have worn team shirts 24/7 and, after a couple of Euro 2008 games, complete bedlam broke out.    

The main road was blocked by dancing crowds and horn-blowing cars raced around the side streets with youngsters hanging out of the windows. The parties have gone on almost until dawn.      

Hiddink factor should give Spain pause for thought

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Hiddink celebrates

Spain are trying to keep the lid on the euphoria after their breaking their quarter-final curse with a penalty shoot-out victory over world champions Italy.

Because of the vagaries of the draw for Euro 2008, “la furia roja” now face Russia in the semi-finals, the team they beat 4-1 in their opening match of the tournament.

Vlog on the pitch – A view of Spain’s victory from Cadiz

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Vlog on the pitch host Owen Wyatt travels to Cadiz to bring us his view of Spain’s penalty shootout victory over Italy in the Euro 2008 quarter-final.

What is the most intense penalty shootout that you can remember? Is Italy coach Roberto Donadoni deluding himself that the world champions played well?

Theatricals starting to spoil the football

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Villa gets a yellow card

When I go to the theatre, I wouldn’t expect to see a soccer match break out on stage.
 
And so when I’m watching a soccer match I don’t want to see theatrics.

But watching the diving, feigned injuries and other nefarious attempts to fool the referee when Spain played against Italy in the quarter-finals made me wish both teams could somehow be eliminated.
 
It’s a beautiful game, but it was bad theatre and worse soccer. It was the first match of the tournament that I stopped watching after a while because the acting was putting me off.
 
Italy’s Luca Toni might be tall and intimidating when he runs towards the goal — and a likeable player at Bayern Munich — but several times it looked like it only took a gentle breeze to topple him in Vienna.

Group winners pay the price for rotation at Euro 2008

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Three drama-filled quarter-finals and three group winners are gone. Spain should be worried.

Three of the four sides that qualified for the knockout stages after two games are out of the championship. Spain, the fourth, face world champions Italy on Sunday hoping to avoid completing the quartet.

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