Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

United’s problems will not go away

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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson rued what he called an unfortunate 3-2 defeat by Tottenham, United’s first to the North London side at Old Trafford since 1989, but the truth is that you can only ride your luck for so long.

Fortuitous wins against Southampton, Fulham, Galatasaray in their Champions League opener and especially at Liverpool, coupled with the opening day defeat at Everton, should have warned Ferguson that United’s relatively good start to the season belied their obvious weaknesses so effectively exposed by Spurs.

It is not the first time that starting with both veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs backfired. While the former is still able to supply long crossfield passes with stunningly consistent accuracy, the latter appears to be running through sand in what could be the final season of a glittering and trophy-laden career.

For all his class and brilliance down the years, Giggs will turn 39 in two months’ time and being substituted at halftime to make way for Wayne Rooney was a timely reminder that having shrugged off the issue for quite some time, the Welshman nowadays looks every bit his age.

Ryder Cup liveblog

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Our live blog will bring you all the latest news, photos and video from golf’s Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois as United States battle holders Europe.

Click here to access: http://live.reuters.com/Event/Ryder_Cup_golf_2012

Exciting Europa League deserves some respect

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If the rip-roaring action from Matchday One in the Europa League is anything to go by,  proposals to scrap the continent’s second-tier competition in order to expand the money-spinning Champions League to 64 teams would be an ill-judged decision.

Allowing as many as six teams from Europe’s top leagues to enter the Champions League would devalue the competition’s name as much as it would dilute its quality, with too many nondescripts trying to punch above their weight.

A star is born at the U.S. Open

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By Greg Rusedski

This year’s U.S. Open was about two former champions retiring, an up and coming new star in the women’s game and two great champions.

SLIDESHOW: BEST OF THE U.S. OPEN

Kim Clijsters the former world number one and three time U.S. Open champion announced her retirement before the event started. Many people were hoping she would have a great run. Kim lost in the second round to Laura Robson from Britain who, at 18 years of age, was yet to live up to her hype and potential. This was a massive breakthrough for Laura to beat Kim. The entire tennis community was very sad to see Clijsters lose but she showed great sportsmanship in defeat as always. She handled her loss with great dignity and class; Kim will be truly missed from the game of tennis.

London Olympics 2012 live blog

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Click on the link below to find all the latest news, photos and gossip from the London Olympics 2012

http://live.reuters.com/Event/London_Olympics_2012_2

Roger Federer bids for Olympic glory to complete the set

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By Anupam Pratihary

Tragedy may not have been a constant companion as it was in Vincent van Gogh’s life, but Roger Federer’s game has the genius of the maestro’s work. If the Dutch artist’s canvases had yellow as its dominant colour, reminiscent of the sun, the Swiss player’s strokes pack all the sun’s brilliance.

Both artists inspire as much awe as disbelief. From 2003 to 2012, Federer achieved what history had never witnessed: 17 grand slam singles titles and 287 weeks at the top. Now he has his sights set on Olympic glory, the one big prize to so far elude him.  The London Olympic tennis takes place in the next two weeks at a familar venue — Wimbledon.

Milan’s future could lie with Inzaghi clones

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By Phil O’Connor

Defenders in Italy breathed a sigh of relief this week as Filippo Inzaghi hung up his boots. The bad news for them is that his new challenge is to produce the next generation of Italian goal-hanging greats as AC Milan’s youth team coach. 

Inzaghi was the simplest of goal-poachers, with a bloodhound’s instinct for sniffing out a chance and the cobra-like reflexes to exploit it. He was neither a dribbler nor a passer, and his career-long battle with the offside rule reached ridiculous proportions at times, but his finishing ability was second to none.

from India Insight:

Mark of Boucher

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In cricket, and in life, a perfect end is a rarity.

Even Don Bradman was bereft of it. Yet a not-so-perfect ending cannot deny a few sportsmen their legitimate place in the sun. South Africa's wicket-keeper Mark Boucher is one such cricketer.

His remarkably long international career, of almost 15 years, was tragically snuffed out when he was hit in the eye by a bail in a warm-up match against Somerset on July 9 during the ongoing England tour. He was only one short of 1,000 victims -- an unheard of feat in the 145 years of international cricket history.

from Photographers' Blog:

Roger and out: Wimbledon 2012

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By Toby Melville

After two weeks of rainy, cold and windy tennis, somehow kept on schedule courtesy of early starts, late finishes and a much used Centre Court roof, the traditional tournament highlight of the Men’s Singles Final took place on Sunday.

For the first time in 75 years a Briton would contest the match. The only obstacle in Scot Andy Murray’s path to glory was the huge boulder in the shape of sixteen grand slam winner and six time Wimbledon victor, Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

from Photographers' Blog:

Paralympic spirit

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By Nir Elias

When the idea to photograph Israeli athletes for the London 2012 Paralympic games came to mind, the second athlete I met was Pascale Berkovitch.

Pascale, 44, lost her legs in a train accident in the suburbs of Paris when she was 17 years old. She now lives with her partner and two daughters in Tel Aviv and is part of the Israeli Paralympic staff for the 2012 games in the field of Hand Biking.

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