Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Rooney’s relentless workload must worry Capello

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QATAR/Fabio Capello hates the concept of “one-man teams” but the England manager faces an anxious few months watching Wayne Rooney shoulder a punishing workload at Manchester United.

The striker is far and away United’s most important player this season as he takes up the slack left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer move to Real Madrid and his value to his club is matched by that to his country.

Quite simply, United would have no hope of keeping the Premier League title out of Chelsea’s hands without Rooney and England have little chance of winning the World Cup unless he is firing on all cylinders.

Rooney has been sensational for United this season, scoring 15 Premier League goals already, but with precious little margin for error in the scrap for the title manager Alex Ferguson dare not rest him because one more defeat in the league could prove terminal for a side that has stuttered this season.

Istanbul heads list of Games of the Decade

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SPORT SOCCER CHAMPIONS

Here’s a total random idea: go and choose the best five matches of the last 10 years – a lot easier said than done.

Where do you begin? Do you only pick matches you have seen yourself ? As I am based in England, do I pick only matches played in England, or as I am lucky enough to travel round the world and watch football, do I go for international matches too?

Could Birmingham’s Hart be Capello’s England number one?

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England manager Fabio Capello might well have found himself an unexpected Christmas present this year in Birmingham City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Filling the gap between the sticks at next June’s World Cup finals in South Africa is perhaps the biggest conundrum Capello will face in the run up to soccer’s most glittering event, but Hart may just have made it a little easier.

Beckham does his bit for England’s World Cup bid

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David Beckham is in South Africa to help England try to get their bid to host the 2018 World Cup back on track.

Beckham played a similar ambassadorial role for London’s successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympics and as perhaps the most famous player in the world he is clearly an important asset for the FA.

Blatter bluster comes to nothing…for now

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Sepp Blatter conjured up a lot of bluster about the state of the game, in the wake of the Thierry Henry handball and the match fixing arrests.

His call for an extraordinary meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee promised some extraordinary decisions and was followed at the start of the week with the firm hint fundamental change was in the offing.

Live World Cup draw blog on Friday – please join in

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Just a heads up we will be running a live World Cup draw blog on this site from around 1630 GMT on Friday so feel free to join in the fun.

Which seeded teams will be the unlucky ones to get France or Portugal? Will hosts South Africa get a fortunate draw?

France miss out on being World Cup seeds

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France, winners in 1998 and finalists last time, will not be one of the eight top seeds at next June’s World Cup.

FIFA said the decision was based on world rankings and had nothing to do with Thierry Henry’s handball.

UPDATE: Ireland plead for World Cup slot as the 33rd team

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Sepp Blatter revealed this morning that Ireland have appealed to FIFA to be allowed to compete as a 33rd team in next year’s World Cup.

“I will bring it to the attention of the Executive Committee,” Blatter told (stunned) journos. “I cannot confirm what will happen, but I will report it.”

Let’s hear it for the World Cup’s 33rd team

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While a lucky pool of soccer millionaires can now get down to some serious daydreaming about World Cup glory in South Africa next year, there’s another group of equally well renowned and respected players who will be spending the summer sprucing up the gardens (or getting their agents to buy them fridges).

Here at the Reuters Soccer Blog we’re a little bit saddened by this fact and, doing some daydreaming of our own, we’ve come up with a plan for a 33rd team at the World Cup, made up of players whose countries have failed to qualify.

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