Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Azteca defeat exposes U.S. weaknesses

 

After a wave of optimism following their successful run in the Confederations Cup, the United States have come back down to earth with their 2-1 defeat to Mexico.

 

Although Mexico didn’t seal their victory on Wednesday until Miguel Sabah’s strike seven minutes from the end, the result actually flattered the United States who were outplayed at the Azteca stadium.

 

The U.S’s victory over European champions Spain in the Confederations Cup and their impressive performance in the final against Brazil – when they lead 2-0 before going down 3-2, showed the potential of Bob Bradley’s team.

 

Mexico though, reborn under coach Javier Aguirre, exposed the lingering weaknesses in the U.S line-up – as well as sending out a strong message that they aren’t about to get give up their long standing position as the dominant power in the CONCACAF region.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Americans fall for soccer but can MLS cash in?

The US national team beat European champions Spain in the Confederations Cup and give Brazil a scare in the final. In the NFL heartland of Baltimore, 71,000 turn out to watch Chelsea v AC Milan.

In Pasadena, Chelsea v Inter Milan pulls in 81,000.

David Beckham gets booed and jeered on his return for L.A Galaxy and the American sporting public laps it up – top sports talk shows, which usually ignore soccer other than to mock the game occasionally, lead their bulletins on the issue.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

A great win over Spain … now can the U.S surprise some more?

The Confederations Cup, effectively a warm-up tournament for the World Cup, rarely captures the imagination but fans in the United States aren't lacking enthusiasm for the tournament after their team produced a major upset by defeating European champions Spain 2-0.

Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey ended Spain's world record run of 15 successive victories and their 35-match unbeaten sequence, a world record streak they share with Brazil. That run has taken Spain to world number one in FIFA's global rankings.

Things warming up nicely on the South African sporting front

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SOCCER-CONFEDERATIONS/The South African sporting public were a little underwhelmed by the early stages of the Confederations Cup and the British and Irish Lions tour but the last few days has seen a major turnaround and there is now something in the air.

Relatively high ticket prices combined with the Sprinboks’ decision to keep their players out of their Super 14 teams combined to ensure the early provincial games were played against a backdrop of empty seats.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

In defence of Giuseppe Rossi

American soccer fans aren't noted for their nastiness but the reaction to Giuseppe Rossi, New Jersey native, scoring twice for Italy against the U.S in their 3-1 Confederations Cup defeat on Monday has been surprisingly vitriolic.

What has upset U.S fans is that Rossi was born and bred in the U.S. but chose to play for another country and then -- to add insult to injury -- celebrated when he scored twice against his country of birth.

Spain’s sporting state of grace

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pauPau Gasol’s triumph with the LA Lakers has prompted more articles in the Spanish media celebrating the country’s incredible run of sporting success.

Gasol was a vital cog in the Lakers machine this season and joins a long list of Spanish champions in individual and team sports.

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