The Reuters global sports blog
Men tuning in for lots of action in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg ties would have rued the decision to stay in front of the TV on Valentines’ Night when Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen and Olympique Lyon against APOEL Nicosia reached the 40-minute mark.
Both were 0-0. APOEL had not registered a shot on goal. Barcelona had dominated their German opposition with 78 per cent of possession, yet no opening score.
There have been reports of a tired Barcelona recently, justifiably. The La Liga and Champions League holders have slipped to 10 points behind arch rivals Real Madrid, who are about the strongest outfit left in Europe’s premier competition on current form.
Perhaps this woke Barcelona up as Alexis Sanchez netted a 41st-minute opener. Coach Pep Guardiola said afterwards: “I think for the spectators the second half was more fun to watch than the first.”
Whoever takes over from Fabio Capello either as a caretaker manager or a long-term replacement faces the dauting task of living up to somewhat unrealistic hopes that England will land their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
Let’s face it, the Three Lions have entered every tournament since, bar Euro 1996 on home soil, as one of the dark horses to bring the silverware back home but never as the top contenders among a plethora of more talented if not more resourceful nations taking centre stage either in European Championships or World Cups.
Fabio Capello arrived in London four years ago with a sparkling CV but for all his club success he departed still barely able to speak English and with his adopted country frought with division and long shots for success at Euro 2012.
It is ironic that his tenure was effectively ended by an interview given in his native Italian, when he said he disagreed completely with the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.
from Photographers' Blog:
By Kai Pfaffenbach
Steve Marcus, our Boxing expert in Las Vegas, is maybe the one and only photographer within the company who has shot more World Championship title bouts than I have throughout the last couple of years.
I shot “Iron” Mike Tyson in Copenhagen, South Africa’s “White Buffalo” Francois Botha on several comebacks, I got my picture taken with Lennox Lewis after a fight I photographed and I followed the untouchable Klitschko brothers on their way to dominate the heavyweight class as only “The Greatest of All Times” (Muhammad Ali) did before!
Click here to join our Superbowl liveblog where we will bring you all the latest from one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.
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So now we know. John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy (again) but is available for selection for Euro 2012, which ends days before the start of his trial for alleged racist abuse.
Of course, Terry is innocent until found guilty and most fans would agree he should not be dropped from the team because of a so far unproven allegation, which he denies.
By Greg Rusedski
Again, in the men’s draw it turned out to be all about the top four in the world. In the semi-finals it was Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray. Could Federer finally beat Nadal in a major again? The last time he beat Nadal at a major was 2007 in the Wimbledon final. Nadal leads Federer in their Grand Slam matches 7 wins to 2 losses.
Federer started like a house on fire to win the first set, but Nadal wasn’t worried. He knew he could not lose to Federer in a major because he knew that physically he would wear him down. When that happens Federer loses his concentration ever so fractionally and that is when Rafa pounces and turns the match in his favor. The strategy against Federer is simple for Nadal. Nadal’s left handed high heavy topspin forehand moves Federer all over the court and breaks down Federer’s backhand side. Physically, Federer cannot keep up with Nadal in a three out of five set match anymore. Federer has to beat Nadal in three sets, which is nearly impossible. Also on his serve Rafa can start the point on his terms because Federer cannot really attack his serve with the one-handed backhand.
There was no first full-field event win for the first time since November 2009 for Tiger Woods despite starting the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship tied for the lead, but at long last the future seems bright for the 14-times major winner.
Englishman Robert Rock could barely believe what he had achieved in seeing off Woods in the final round to claim his second European Tour victory. It was a heart-warming triumph for the lesser known players who battle each season just to keep their tour-playing rights, galaxies away from the world Woods inhabits.
Under normal circumstances Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dipping first-half free kick in AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday would have been enough to give Sweden coach Erik Hamren a pleasant end to the weekend.
But if Hamren had been watching Feyenoord beat Ajax in in Holland’s Eredivisie on Saturday he would have seen another Swede, John Guidetti, net a hat-trick as Feyenoord won 4-2, giving him a mouthwatering selection problem ahead of Euro 2012.