Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Villar success highlights wider malaise

Photo

Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar could win the vote as player of the Copa America – emulating Oliver Kahn, the Germany keeper named top player at the 2002 World Cup.

If, or when, this happens, regardless of their merits as players, the vote could highlight a deficiency in the football played at the tournament.

Villar captains a team who reached Sunday’s final against Uruguay without winning any of their five matches, even if they scored five goals in three group games.

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said in an interview with Reuters in Asuncion in April he felt his team were shaking off the shackles of a tradition of defensive football with strength in the air to achieve a new balance.

Japan set new benchmark for Asia with women’s World Cup triumph

Photo

It was case of “anything you can do, I can do better” for Japan’s women footballers as they defied the odds to lift the World Cup just six months after the country’s men had captured a record fourth Asian title.

When Saki Kumagai slotted home the winning penalty in a dramatic shootout victory over the United States in Frankfurt on Sunday, Japan completed an astonishing run that overshadowed any achievement by an Asian soccer team at any level.

A game of three thirds in Qatar?

Photo

FIFA could allow matches at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar to be played over three 30-minute periods if temperatures in the stadiums became dangerously high for the players, a senior stadium engineer told delegates at a conference on Wednesday.

Michael Beavon, a director of Arup Associates who helped to develop the zero-carbon solar technology that will cool the 12 stadiums, told delegates at the Qatar Infrastructure Conference in London that the air-cooling would maintain a comfortable temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in the stadiums.

That winnin’ feelin’

Photo

Lionel Messi says he feels he will one day win the World Cup.

“I more than anyone want to win something with the national team and I’m going to,” Messi told Ole sports daily in an interview published on the opening day of the Copa America.

“A World Cup?” the reporter asked.

“That’s how it will be. That moment will come and I know I’ll enjoy it. I don’t know why, but something tells me I’ll do it.”

Bad Spanish blood boils over into Champions League “Clasico”

Photo

In our latest Monday post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Barcelona muses on the ill-tempered Champions League clash between arch rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid and the possible repercussions for the Spanish national team and looks at the unrivalled brilliance of World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

Bad Spanish blood boils over into Champions League “Clasico”

Last week’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Will God be Brazilian in 2014?

Photo

SOCCER-LATAM/“God is Brazilian” is a favourite phrase for Brazilians when fortune smiles on their country.

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva famously uttered it after massive new oil reserves were discovered off the coast in 2007.

Farewell Ronaldo, one of the game’s greats

Photo

SPORT SOCCER WORLDRonaldo has just made the official announcement that he is to retire with immediate effect, bringing to an end one of the great soccer stories.

The 34-year-old Brazilian announced his decision at a news conference in Sao Paulo a few moments ago, after concluding that the battle for fitness — always a bruising struggle — was one he could no longer win.

Winter World Cup looks more and more a reality

Photo

SOCCER-ASIA/AFCWhat Sepp Blatter wants he usually gets. So when the FIFA president said that the Qatari World Cup finals will “probably” be in the winter because of the summer heat you can safely begin preparations now for your trip to the Middle East in January 2022.

The decision to move the date of the first World Cup in the Middle East, which first needs to be ratified by FIFA’s executive committee, is going to have huge ramifications on club and international soccer up to five years before the 2022 tournament as well as on other sports.

In FIFA, U.S. are no superpower

Photo

SOCCER/So it will be Qatar and not the United States who host the 2022 World Cup finals – a decision from FIFA’s executive committee that left many fans in the U.S. angry, dismayed and a little confused.

The machinations of FIFA decision making are far from transparent as U.S Soccer chief Sunil Gulati implicitly acknowledged when he said that the vote wasn’t just about the merits of the bid: “It’s politics, it’s friendships and relationships, it’s alliances, it’s tactics.”

FIFA’s World Cup decision day — live

Photo

We’ll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA’s executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.

  •