Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

NFL touchdown in London

By Suzanne Plunkett

British sports fans are a serious bunch. When it comes to football (they never call it soccer), many would rather lose their home than miss their team score a winning goal. Club allegiance is often demonstrated with tribal passion - influencing tattoos, clothing and even choice of marital partners.

When American football makes a rare appearance in London, it's somewhat of a surprise to see the seriousness of the sport replaced with a more frivolous obsession: cheerleaders.

That's not to say British fans have no interest in the sport. When the Chicago Bears took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a showcase game at Wembley Stadium in October, I spoke to plenty of Brits among the American expats paying homage to their national sport. Many professed as much fanaticism as the American supporters who had traveled from the States specifically to see their team.

But as a photographer who had covered both kinds of football matches on either side of the Atlantic and grown to love both sports, it's hard to ignore a few major differences in the fan experience.

Wanderers test will not match Newlands. But for better or worse?

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Last week’s crazy Cape Town test match between South Africa and Australia, where 23 wickets fell in a day and the visitors narrowly avoided the lowest ever test score, will go down in cricket’s esteemed annals.

They meet again at the Wanderers from Thursday. But would test cricket fans want to see a repeat?

Strauss’s side still not England’s best

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By John Mehaffey

According to International Cricket Council statistician David Kendix’s calculations, three England sides before Andrew Strauss’s present team would have topped the test world rankings too if the current format had existed.

In reverse chronological order, they are Mike Brearley’s side of 1979-80, Ray Illingworth’s 1970-3 team and the 1955-9 squad led first by Len Hutton then Peter May.

How long can England dominate test cricket?

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England have destroyed India to go 3-0 up in their test series and officially become the world’s best test nation having also humbled Australia Down Under just a few months ago.

It’s a new position for England to find themselves in after batting collapse after batting collapse undermined their sides in the 1980/90s and sporadically in recent years.

ICC name best test team of all time. Right or wrong?

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The ICC has unveiled the best test team of all time as voted for by fans on the governing body’s website. The ICC offered a shortlist to choose from.

Here it is:

Virender Sehwag

Sunil Gavaskar

Donald Bradman

Sachin Tendulkar

Brian Lara

Kapil Dev

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

Shane Warne

Wasim Akram

Curtly Ambrose

Glenn McGrath

Is it a bit 1980s focused? No Englishmen either but maybe that is not a big shock. Sehwag probably the biggest surprise.

Cricket World Cup — live

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Join us for coverage of the revamped Cricket World Cup on the subcontinent. Follow all the drama here with regular posts and some of the best photographs around. Comments welcome!

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday

SOCCER-CHAMPIONSGareth Bale. The dashing Welsh winger primed to scare the living daylights out of England on Saturday. Injured. Did anyone else hear that collective sigh of relief from England fans today?

But what about Tottenham Hotspur fans. Are you worried your star man’s recent struggles with injury could hamper your club’s Champions League quarter-final chances against Real Madrid?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Wednesday

SOCCER-EURO/Happy middle of the week to you all, and if like me you are in London where the sun is out and there is very little football to write about, you are forgiven for thinking the season is over and the grasscourt tennis season is about to kick in.

Don't look so worried, David (right). While the weather will probably change before I’ve finished writing this blog, the good news is it’s only March and there is plenty more football left. It's just this week it’s the international break.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Scotland on their way back to London, but England match must wait a while

tartanScotland's soccer team return to London for the first time since 1999 at the end of this month -- but they won't be playing England at Wembley.

Instead they will face five-times world champions Brazil in a high profile friendly at the Emirates Stadium which should be filled close to its 60,000 capacity.

Welcome back “le crunch” — we’ve missed you

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RUGBY-NATIONS/ENGLANDThere will be an extra buzz around Twickenham on Saturday and it will not be just because England fans know a win over France would set them up for their first Six Nations title for eight years.

“Le Crunch” is back, and then some. The fixture that was for so long the focal point of the championship gradually lost its allure as England dropped off the pace and Wales and Ireland became the main challengers, but with two wins apiece for the cross-channel rivals so far, it once again looks the pivotal match.

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