Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Soccer Break Thursday – United roll on

Photo
-

Manchester United just keep on winning despite a sluggish season by their usually high standards and will now face Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 28.

Predictions? Hard to see even a full strength United keeping Messi and co at bay, especially as Barca coach Pep Guardiola will be seeking to continue his love affair with Wembley.

Next up for Alex Ferguson’s men is the visit of title rivals Chelsea on Sunday, certain to be a much stiffer test than a disappointingly lacklustre Schalke 04 on Wednesday. Will United’s formidable home record count in their favour?

Staying in Europe, and Thursday is Europa League day. Porto take a 5-1 lead into the second semi-final leg against Villarreal, while compatriots Benfica beat fellow Portuguese club Braga 2-1 at home.

Scotland on their way back to London, but England match must wait a while

Photo
-

tartanScotland’s soccer team return to London for the first time since 1999 at the end of this month — but they won’t be playing England at Wembley.

Instead they will face five-times world champions Brazil in a high profile friendly at the Emirates Stadium which should be filled close to its 60,000 capacity.

Arsenal fans must keep their faith in Wenger

Photo
-

Mike Collett in London on why Arsenal fans should back their manager

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPArsene Wenger is the most successful manager Arsenal have ever had, but unhappy fans have very short memories and incredible as it may seem, some Arsenal supporters were calling for his head on Monday.

Irate listeners to radio phone-ins and message boards posters vented their frustrations at Arsenal’s failure to end their six-year trophy drought after they lost 2-1 to underdogs Birmingham City in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

More World Cup questions than answers for England’s Capello

Photo
-

SOCCER-WORLD/A muted send-off and a manager wanting more perhaps told the true story of England’s 3-1 friendly victory over Mexico at Wembley on Monday in which Fabio Capello was left with more questions than answers over his World Cup squad selection.

On the plus side, goalkeepers Joe Hart and in particular Robert Green would have given the Italian confidence in a position that poses a problem for fans with first-choice stopper David James still susceptible to a clanger.

England sail through, but how are their World Cup chances?

Photo
-

So, once again, England qualify in style. The garages can start stocking up on plastic flags of St George, the breweries can breathe a sigh of relief and the tabloids can start their gradual shift from cautious support to the crescendo of expectation that will accompany Fabio Capello and his squad to South Africa next year.

But is there any evidence that “this time, more than any other time, they’ll do it right“?

Welcome back to the big time, Burnley

Photo
-

It’s been a while since Burnley last enjoyed top flight success but fans of the Lancashire club can dream once more after winning promotion to the Premier League on Monday, beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Wembley.

Founding members of the Football League in 1888, Burnley, join Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City as next season’s new boys, replacing relegated West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.

Everton to face Chelsea after Howard heroics see off United

Photo
-

So, it will be an all-Blue FA Cup final this year, after Everton set up a date with Chelsea thanks to the penalty shoot-out heroics of goalkeeper Tim Howard in the semi-final against Manchester United.

Howard, a former United keeper, you may remember, saved the first two penalties from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand and Everton didn’t look back.

Ukraine overawed by (lack of) Wembley atmosphere

Photo
-

Ukraine coach Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko said his players had been overawed by the Wembley atmosphere in their 2-1 World Cup defeat by England but their nerves must have been based on the twin-towered mystique of the old stadium rather than the soulless feeling of the new.

At a cost of 800 million pounds ($1.15 billion), the new Wembley undoubtedly looks impressive and there was no hint of the credit crunch as the wine flowed in the packed private dining suites before the game.

What are United’s quintuple chances now?

Photo
-

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson dismissed the suggestion in his usual style.

After beating Spurs on penalties to win the English League Cup final on Sunday he was asked if United could complete a “quintuple” of trophies.

Vlog on the pitch — time to put Rooney back centre stage

-

Join vlogmeister Owen Wyatt as he goes to the London College of Communication to seek opinions on Wayne Rooney’s role for England.

The 2-0 win over the United States was probably England’s best performance under Fabio Capello, and Steven Gerrard certainly had a good game, but there seems to be a common feeling that the Italian is not getting the best out of Rooney.

  •