Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Downbeat but not out — an England fan at the Ashes

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CRICKET-ASHES/England have been in far worse positions at the end of a first Ashes test in Brisbane. Although being bowled out for 260 is far from ideal Andrew Strauss’s team should believe they are still in this contest.

Having been 197 for four half an hour into the final session of the day and with the Australian bowlers barely able to hit the cut strip, England will rue the batting collapse which saw the last 6 wickets fall for just 63 runs and included a stunning hat trick from Peter Siddle.

The roar of the crowd that accompanied the hat trick and the early dismissal of Strauss was truly breathtaking and had there been a roof on the Gabba it would have been well and truly ripped off.

If there one thing that is disappointing it’s that from my own experience it seems Australian fans only get interested and create a real atmosphere when their team is doing well.

England are confident but will the Ashes dream go up in smoke again?

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CRICKET-ASHES/With Australia’s current cricket team seemingly keen on proving they can be just as hopeless as any cricket team England produced circa 1990-2000, what better time to go Down Under and watch England defend the Ashes?

I was meant to go four years ago after the epic 2005 series, only to pull out at the last minute and buy a house instead.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will Rooney’s departure signal United’s decline?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Wayne Rooney's demand for a move away from Manchester United has stunned manager Alex Ferguson, especially given the striker's poor form and support the club have given him through personal problems.

After winning three successive Premier League titles with United and the 2008 Champions League, Rooney enjoyed his best personal season with the club in 2009-10 -- when his impressive tally of 34 goals in all competitions was only enough to bring  the League Cup to Old Trafford.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Rooney’s place on United periphery needs urgent resolution

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/In eight months Wayne Rooney has plummeted from "the best player in the world" to a substitute against West Bromwich Albion and his current position on the Old Trafford periphery will need to be sorted out very soon.

Manchester United's fans -- and their American owners -- do not expect the England striker to be warming the bench, particularly when the player says he is fit, even if manager Alex Ferguson says otherwise.

Monty’s back but England Ashes hopes rest on Swann

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CRICKET-ENGLAND/England’s commitment to a four-man attack for their Ashes defence in Australia this year has directly influenced the decision to recall left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.

Panesar and Surrey fast bowler Chris Tremlett, another recall, won the two extra bowling places at stake in the 16-man squad named at the Oval on Thursday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Euro 2012 qualifiers – live

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We're following all tonight's Euro 2012 qualifiers live. Join us here for updates, comments and pix ... and details of all the goals as they go in.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

4-2-3-1…4-5-1…4-4-2…that’ll be four midfielders and two forwards then?

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So Fabio Capello's masterstroke in revitalising Wayne Rooney and turning England from World Cup no-hopers to instant Euro 2012 favourites was....to tell the Manchester United striker to hang back a bit.

That sage advice, if most of the English press is to be believed, transformed England's formation from a prehistoric 4-4-2 to the liquid 4-5-1 that all the modern young bucks were using in South Africa.

Does sporting immortality still beckon for Pietersen?

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CRICKET/A casual remark from Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz last week illustrated how swiftly life moves on in elite sport.

Riaz was asked which of the five England wickets he had captured in his test debut at the Oval had given him the most satisfaction.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Unlike Del Piero et al, at least Beckham may get a farewell game

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Fabio Capello's impromptu announcement that David Beckham was too old to play for England has divided opinion across the blogosphere.

Some have said it was typical of Capello's hard-nosed, no-nonsense style. Why should he have informed the 35-year-old? Why should he have made the announcement in a more official way? As coach he has the right to do as he wants and Beckham should have had the know-how to quit the international scene long ago.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

England defence crumble in German masterclass

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SOCCER-WORLD/

England coach Fabio Capello would do well to take a transcript copy of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s post-match press conference – because in it he would find all the simple reasons why his side were trounced 4-1 and sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday.

In it, Loew rather clinically explained to the international press sat before him that his side were instructed to target John Terry, pull him out of position and pretty much walk into the huge gaps created in England’s snail-paced central rearguard.

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