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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

If England’s footballers were matchplay golfers

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SOCCER-WORLD/It's a strokeplay knockout golf tournament -- let's call it the World Cup of golf -- and an English player is on the tee box of the 18th hole needing a birdie four to advance.

After struggling earlier in his round he has fought back to be level with his opponent but the best finisher will play Paul Lawrie and then Tony Jacklin in the next two rounds while the loser will take on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

(Stick with it, he gets back to soccer in the end - ed.)

Both players hit good drives but the opponent then creams his second 250 yards, carrying a pond, on to the green, an unheard of shot on such a hole. The English golfer takes a five iron and lays-up short of the water. He duly chips on close to the hole and sinks his putt for a birdie four.

He is delirious, he runs round the green high-fiving the cheering fans. An English TV journalist, bubbling over with excitement, interviews his Italian caddy. "You must be delighted, you're through.

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:

Could you just talk us through the goal, Bob….

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USA SOCCERAfter little more than four hours' sleep, plenty of driving and the inevitable drop in adrenalin following a big game such as Saturday's U.S. v England match, there were a few weary souls among the reporters following the United States when we headed to team HQ at Irene Farm on Sunday morning for a press conference with coach Bob Bradley and defender Steve Cherundolo.

There was no sign of jadedness from Bradley, though, who when touching upon Steven Gerrard's fourth minute opener for England, described it in the following terms:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Drogba, Ferdinand…who next for the World Cup curse?

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A top player seems to get injured on the eve of every major tournament and this year it looks like Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand have suffered the World Cup curse.

Ivory Coast captain Drogba is seriously doubtful for the extravaganza after injuring his elbow in a friendly against Japan on Friday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Nothing ‘meaningless’ about U.S. defeat

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SOCCER-WORLD/

USA 2 Czech Republic 4 was hardly a morale boosting result for American fans as their team prepares for the World Cup finals, which begin for the U.S against England on June 12.

Of course, as the ESPN commentators were at pains to point out, perhaps worried about viewers turning off from the team before the tournament has even begun, the squad on the field last night was missing key starters such as Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra (who instead was spotted chomping chicken wings in the stands) and Clint Dempsey. And as the ESPN crew also repeatedly reminded us, the result of games like these are “meaningless”.

England v Australia, Twenty20 final — live

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We’re blogging from the final of the World Twenty-20 cricket in the West Indies, with the clash between England and Australia building towards a climax.

England are doing surprisingly well, but who would write off Australia after their semi-final comeback against Pakistan? Stay tuned … and remember, comments are extremely welcome…

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup squad news: Capello calls on Carragher, Ronaldinho left out

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Fabio Capello has announced his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup and the big news is that Jamie Carragher is back, while there is no place for Bobby Zamora or Owen Hargreaves.

Meanwhile Brazil have omitted Ronaldinho as expected and Italy coach Marcello Lippi has decided to leave Francesco Totti at home. Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas are in Spain's squad despite injuries.

Don’t blame the maths for T20 farces

CRICKET-TWENTY/Paul Collingwood’s call for change to the Duckworth-Lewis system used to determine a target in rain-hit games was understandable, coming as it did after his England team lost  a match despite scoring three times as many runs as their opponent.

It is not the calculation system that needs revisiting, however, but the broader set-up of Twenty20 tournaments.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham poised to miss World Cup – your views

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David Beckham's dreams of playing in a fourth World Cup look to be in tatters after the England midfielder ruptured his Achilles tendon in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo on Sunday.

Club doctors have said he is all but ruled out of June's tournament in South Africa and will fly to Finland for an operation on Monday.

The ultimate grudge match: When the Scots confounded England at Murrayfield

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SPORT RUGBY NATIONS SCOTLANDA slow and depressing decline after the glory of the 1980 grand slam was magically reversed during the winter of 1989-90 when England played rugby of skill, spirit and boundless optimism.

Nobody could match the English in Europe and their standards touched those attained by New Zealand and Australia, the pace setters in world rugby at the time.

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