Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Manchester United likely to show patience with David Moyes…for now

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Two defeats and one scrappy draw amid a hat-trick of pitiful performances in as many heavyweight bouts showed in no uncertain terms just why Manchester United manager David Moyes lamented over a tough Premier League start for the English champions when the fixture list was drawn during the close-season.

Sunday’s comprehensive 4-1 drubbing by cross-town rivals City, which followed a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool and a tame goalless stalemate with Chelsea, exposed all the chinks in the armour of a squad who won their 20th league title last season thanks to the scoring prowess of Robin van Persie and the firm steering hand of Alex Ferguson.

Neither played any part in the derby.

The prolific Dutch striker pulled out with a groin strain while the trophy-laden Ferguson, who welcomed the prospect of no longer suffering by the touchline when he retired last season after 27 years in charge, must have felt at least some of the pain suffered by Moyes in what has become an extended baptism by fire for the former Everton manager.

After all, Ferguson hand-picked the fellow Scotsman for the job.

As my colleague Martyn Herman pointed out, only the long-standing winners’ mentality and the seemingly perennial ability to grind out results in the face of adversity papered over last season’s cracks at United, which have come down on the ill-prepared Moyes like a ton of bricks.

Life in the time of Federer and Tendulkar

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In sports, the fear of loss does different things to different people. It spurs athletes to greater heights; for spectators, it often changes the topography of their nails. In some, it induces mild depression.

Its inevitability is creeping into the minds of even the most stoic spectators. Soon, they won’t have Roger Federer and Sachin Tendulkar around anymore. What will be the world like without Federer and Sachin? Surely, the sporting world will move on, for no athlete is bigger than the game. But will it be the same again? Maybe not. Federer brought to tennis a “complete game”, rarely seen before. What made it even surreal was the ease and elegance with which he wielded his racquet.

Interpretation is the problem, not DRS

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The Decision Review System (DRS) in itself can be difficult to comprehend but what is hurting the game more is its varied interpretation by umpires.

The system was introduced to eliminate blatant errors in umpiring but it has failed to do so since there is still enough discretion resting with the umpires, who might or might not have faith in the technology that supports the system.

Confederations Cup: Can the real thing match its dress rehearsal?

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I don’t know if Brazil’s rout of Spain means there will be a shift in the balance of power, but one thing seems pretty certain: If the Confederations Cup was a taste of things to come, we should have a delicious World Cup in a year’s time.

Wildly entertaining in all aspects, the eight-nation tournament, seen as an acid test for the world’s biggest soccer event, produced all the thrills a fan could ask for and was capped by a memorable final in which the reigning world and double European champions were outplayed like never before in recent history.

South Africans haunted by “choker” tag again

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“Chokers” is not an easy tag to get rid of and South Africa’s latest attempt to shed it will haunt them for a while. Worse, they may have ended up reinforcing it.

The Proteas were so afraid of fumbling again that they failed to perform on the field; and the result was a thrashing at the hands of England in the Champions Trophy semi-final.

Champions League final live blog – Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund

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The first all German final of the world’s most prestigious club soccer competition comes to Wembley in London as some of Europe’s finest look to put on a show. Click here to leave comments http://live.reuters.com/Event/Champions_League_final_-_Bayern_Munich_v_Borussia_Dortmund

 

from Photographers' Blog:

Beckham’s final 81st minute

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Paris, France

By Gonzalo Fuentes

Since David Beckham arrived in Paris the media have captured every move, every training session, every single time he and his family have roamed around the city.

The infrastructure of the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) stadium was upgraded to handle all the media that he attracts. The media in Paris was ready to follow all his actions as evidenced when 150 journalists were accredited to cover the presentation of his PSG jersey.

from Photographers' Blog:

Augusta: A tournament like no other

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Augusta, Georgia

By Phil Noble

It was the author Mark Twain who wrote "Golf is a good walk spoiled" and although the persistent rain that dogged the final round play at this years Masters certainly made it tough for both players and photographers alike, the amazing photographs at the final hole of regular play and the subsequent thrilling playoff certainly ensured our "good walk" wasn't ruined.

I was lucky enough to be asked to return to the Augusta National golf club this year for my second Masters tournament. Along with my Reuters colleagues Mike Segar, Bryan Snyder, Mark Blinch and 24 year Masters veteran Gary Hershorn, who would edit our pictures, we pitched up again at the Mecca of golf to cover a tournament unlike any other.

from Photographers' Blog:

Broken and showing

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Indianapolis, Indiana

By Jeff Haynes

I was on the court when Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware went to block the three-point shot of Duke’s Tyler Thornton and landed wrong on his right leg suffering a compound fracture with the shin bone protruding through the skin, with about 3 inches showing.

It is being called one of the most gruesome sports injuries ever to be seen on live TV and then replayed again.

from Photographers' Blog:

How ’bout them Yankees?

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Bradenton, Florida

By Steve Nesius

As a photographer you often don’t know what to expect when covering MLB spring training baseball games - especially covering the Yankees.

After several games of being crammed into ridiculously tight photo wells at other stadiums with still photographers, TV crews and team interns shooting videos of batters and pitchers, it was nice to be assigned to a game at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida. Most photographers choose to shoot on the walkway behind the seats with clean fields of view. I wanted to shoot in the third base well, which is low to ground level, during the first inning to get the starting right-handed pitchers before heading up to the walkway.

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