Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Inter and Blackpool restore faith in the footballing dream

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Teams win against all the odds only in Hollywood movies.

Not true. Yet again real life has outstripped even the wildest fantasies of the greatest scriptwriters.

Italian football, overshadowed by England and Spain, was in the doldrums after their clubs failed to make any impact in the Champions League in the previous two seasons.

Inter Milan had not won the European Cup since 1965 and were last in a final in 1972. They always looked nervous in the Champions League, even against smaller clubs.

When Jose Mourinho arrived last season he knew European glory would be impossible in the first year. The mental block would have to be chipped away slowly.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League final, Bayern Munich v Inter Milan — live

Join us for tonight's Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in Madrid. Will it be Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho who wins the competition for the second time? Either way, we're expecting a belting final at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League live blog — Bayern Munich v Olympiqye Lyon

Bayern Munich take on Olympique Lyon in the first leg of the second Champions League semi-final and we'll be following the match between these two stylish teams live from 1845 GMT, 2045 in central Europe.

Will the game be able to match Inter Milan's crackling 3-1 victory over Barcelona? We'll be here from around an hour before kick-off with on-the-spot detail from our reporter in the stadium, Karolos Grohmann and plenty of other contributors. Please join us for the fun.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League Live: Man Utd v Bayern, Bordeaux v Lyon

We're following the Champions League quarter-final, second legs live this evening. Join us here for updates and on-the-spot comment from Manchester United v Bayern Munich and Bordeaux v Lyon. Can Bayern hold on to their slim lead at Old Trafford? Will Wayne Rooney be fit? Is there any way back for Bordeaux? And can anyone match the feats of Lionel Messi in Barcelona's victory over Arsenal last night?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals: Messi v Arsenal

We're following the Champions League quarter-final second legs live. Join us to see if Barcelona can see off Arsenal to make the last four.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals — live

We're live blogging the night's two Champions League quarter-final first legs, with expert commentary and analysis, including on-the-spot details from our reporters in the stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer).

Join us here from around 1645 GMT for all the build-up and action from the biggest club competition in town.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champion League draw: Arsenal v Barcelona – your views

So there'll be one French side in the semi-finals and Inter Milan will be extremely pleased to have drawn CSKA Moscow in the quarters.

If Manchester United and Arsenal are going to meet it will be in the Champions League final in Madrid in May.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Real Madrid need stability — not another new coach

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/REALReal Madrid president Florentino Perez will have two conflicting voices whispering in his ear as he contemplates Wednesday's devastating Champions League exit against Olympique Lyon.

His better angel will be telling him to stay calm, remember that the Primera Liga title is still very much in play, that the team has actually looked pretty good lately and that a bit of stability is long overdue.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is Guardiola losing his Midas Touch?

SOCCER-SPAIN/It was always going to be difficult for Pep Guardiola to repeat last year's astonishing achievements when Barcelona swept up six trophies.

Since adding the Club World Cup to their haul in December, they have started to look vulnerable, and, more recently, jaded.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Three reasons for UEFA to be cheerful with the new Champions League format

APOEL Nicosia, Olympiakos and FC Zurich's performances in the Champions League this year may have done enough to strengthen the case for more group stage places to be kept open for teams from smaller soccer countries.

Earlier this year, UEFA decided to split the qualifying contest into two halves -- one for teams who are champions in their countries, the other for non-champions.

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