Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Boca put River in their place

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By Rex Gowar

The result of the year’s first “superclasico” was logical with first division champions Boca Juniors beating second-division River Plate 2-0.

But Wednesday night’s friendly – an unprecedented clash with one of the two giants of the Argentine game in the second tier — was also something of an anti-climax after the massive build.

Argentina’s biggest soccer rivalry, whether they are playing an off-season warm-up as in this case or a decisive Libertadores Cup clash or anything in between, puts all others in the shade.

It was played in the steamy northern city of Resistencia in the sub-tropical Chaco province with massive police control to keep the hard-core element among their fans, bitter enemies, to their word that there would be no trouble.

Independiente’s barrabravas bristle at “no cash” pledge

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By Rex Gowar

Argentina’s soccer hooligans appear to warm up for a new championship just like their teams with Independiente’s ‘barrabravas’ threatening trouble at an off-season friendly after being told by the club’s new administration “there is no cash”.

The impoverished giants from Avellaneda, record seven-times South American champions, voted in new president Javier Cantero last month who at once confronted the hardcore fans  and told them they would get no funds.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

A not so happy birthday for Maradona

SOCCER/Diego Maradona is spending his 50th birthday on Saturday far from the two things that have dominated his life -- soccer and being constantly in the public eye.

That leaves Argentina’s greatest player at a crossroads a few short months after a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals cost him the job as coach of his beloved Argentina.

Messi, Maradona and Batista

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SOCCER-WORLD/With Sergio Batista at the Argentina helm, Lionel Messi has the chance to develop into the truly great footballer his talent has promised since last year’s exploits with Barcelona.

It could be that when the Argentine Football Association make their choice of coach for the 2014 Brazil World Cup cycle, they opt for a different candidate from Batista – Alex Sabella of Estudiantes for instance.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Reuters World Cup 2010 podcast — quarter-finals (II)

Listen!

Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana's desperate misfortune.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup 2010 quarter-finals podcast

Welcome to our latest Reuters 2010 World Cup podcast, as we follow the lead of the world's most famous psychic octopus and try to predict what will happen in the quarter-finals. Kevin Fylan is joined by Paul Radford, Jon Bramley, Ken Ferris and Mr Mark Gleeson.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup podcast – day 14

Listen!

Kevin Fylan, Paul Radford, Andy Cawthorne and Felix Bate discuss a few of the forthcoming second round matches at the World Cup, including the classic Germany v England.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Tevez provides sweet headache for Maradona

SOCCER-WORLD/Carlos Tevez has quickly gained the love of supporters wherever he has played, first at Boca Juniors, then Corinthians, now in the Premier League, with his never-say-die attitude added to considerable ball skills.

On Monday in Buenos Aires, he played as if he were facing Brazil in the World Cup finals and not Canada in a friendly. He chased and harried for 70 minutes, laid on the second goal in a 5-0 win for Maxi Rodriguez, passed to Angel Di Maria for his celestial third goal of the night and got on the scoresheet himself.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Decision day for Argentina: Live blogging the World Cup qualifiers

Unusually, the final night of European World Cup qualifying is a bit of a damp affair. Most of the groups have been decided, with by and large just the second-places, and play-off berths, up for grabs.

Undeterred, we shall keep you up to date with what's going on in Europe as a prelude to the really serious business of the night ... the decisive match in Montevideo, where Argentina are playing for their lives against Uruguay.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The all-star XI in World Cup trouble

Some of football's biggest names, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, are in danger of missing out on next year's World Cup, as countries such as Argentina, Portugal and France struggle in qualification.

Most, if not quite all of them, may make it in the end, of course, but for a bit of pre-weekend qualifier fun, here's my stab at a world XI wtill fretting over their places at South Africa 2010.

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