Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Tired footballers? Cutting pre-season tours would help

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Critics said the World Cup lacked quality because the players were tired after a long, draining season.

Yet with the golden glow of Spain’s triumph still glistening in a Madrid trophy cabinet, clubs are already hawking their players around the world for pre-season friendlies. OK, those who reached the latter stages in South Africa are still on holiday but they will be back very quickly to join team mates who began their pre-season work at the start of July.

This means soccer is a 12-month game. Yes, the pre-season tours may bring in funds to the clubs but are the amounts so massive that it is worth risking your players’ condition for the forthcoming campaign?

Top players are paid obscene amounts but their careers are short and they hardly get any time to have holidays. In England, a player will often not get more than one day off in a row between July and May.

Uruguay’s performance not to be sneered at

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SOCCER-WORLD/URUGUAYUruguay’s achievement in reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 40 years was greeted by a fair amount of sneering in some sections of the media.

The Luis Suarez handball incident — the Uruguay striker stopped a goal-bound shot on the line in the last minute of extra-time in their quarter-final against Ghana who missed the resulting penalty — which helped them into the last four led to suggestions that they should feel embarrassed or ashamed to be there.

Losing team’s national stock markets at risk

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SOCCER-WORLD/By Ross Kerber

Two national market indexes that may not shine on Monday are those of Spain and the Netherlands, whose soccer teams are scheduled to meet in the World Cup’s championship game on Sunday.

Whichever country’s team loses can expect a drag on its market index of 49 basis points, said Wharton business school professor Alex Edmans. That is the amount that national stock indexes tend to be held back on average on the day after their country is eliminated from the World Cup, according to a paper he published in 2007 with two co-authors, Diego Garcia of the University of North Carolina and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management.

from The Great Debate UK:

Luck is the residue of design—even in football

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- Isaac Getz is a professor at ESCP Europe Business School and co-author of Freedom, Inc. (Crown Business, 2009). The opinions expressed are his own. -

This Sunday will decide the World Cup champion. Yet, most nations will ask themselves again what’s needed to build a world-class national team?

Spain’s queen visits locker room, Puyol in towel

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Spain’s Queen Sofia visited the locker room  after the national team beat  Germany 1-0 in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. Most of the players got a heads up and scrambled into their clothes.

SOCCER-WORLD/But no one warned Carles Puyol, hero of the moment, who emerged from treatment on his knee, wearing only a towel. Discomfitted, the Barcelona defender blushed and scurried to hide behind his teammates.

Community blog: Life without ’2010′

SOCCER-WORLD/2010 is almost over – the 2010 Soccer World Cup, that is. In South Africa, we simply referred to the greatest sporting event to hit our shores as 2010. For years since it was first announced that South Africa would organise the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the country has been collectively, and sometimes not, looking forward to the day when the world would see what the rainbow nation is about.

The task ahead was difficult because South Africa had to build from scratch and also improve existing structures. The threat of the “Plan B” was often bandied about at will when it seemed as though we were not living up to our promises.SOCCER-WORLD/

Sorry Germany, the oracle octopus has spoken

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SOCCER-WORLD/OCTOPUSThere are only three things that are certain in life — death, taxes and the World Cup predictions of a British-born octopus in western Germany.

That being the case, there’s hardly any point in playing Wednesday’s semi-final between Germany and Spain — the Spanish have got it won.

Just how important is the World Cup?

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SOCCER-WORLD/ No other sporting event has the same impact as the World Cup. Entire countries grind to a halt to watch games, no more so than Brazil where shopping and banking hours are completely altered throughout the tournament month and many just take an official month-long holiday. Politicians jump on the bandwagon, making a big thing of how much they are supporting the team, and launch government inquiries when their teams fail.

Entire reputations can be shattered as Juan Sebastian Veron discovered in 2002, when he was vilified for Argentina’s first-round exit, and Ronaldo experienced four years later when some saw as excess kilos around his waist became an affair of state and were blamed for Brazil’s quarter-final elimination.

Maradona made mistakes but remains fans’ favourite

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SOCCER-WORLD/It is 20 years since their last semi-final, 24 since their second and last title and three successive World Cups in which Argentina have been hailed as playing the best football with some of the planet’s most talented players yet fallen short.

Post-mortems abound in the Argentine media and in coffee bar discussions throughout Buenos Aires about the reasons for continued failure.

Should Maradona continue after heavyweight blow?

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SOCCER-WORLD/A devastated Diego Maradona left his future open after Argentina’s painful 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

Maradona said defeat was like receiving a punch from Muhammad Ali and there will be many who will criticise the coach for his squad picks, team selection and tactics after the country’s heaviest World Cup loss since 1958.

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