Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Friday

Photo

SOCCER-WORLDThe first day of the fourth month means April fools day, so we would really love to hear from you if there are any dubious stories doing the rounds.

Here are some. Frank Lampard’s ‘goal that never was’ at the World Cup is to be finally given. Ronaldo will start playing for Spain. And here is a list of five other classics from the past.

How about Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho for Manchester United? Or do you agree that West Ham United would have been in the hunt for Europe bar refereeing decisions?

Back to this weekend, and the title races in Spain and Italy are really hotting up as our previews will tell you. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund are still well clear but need to steady the ship.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Friday – Champions League draw special

Photo

SOCCER-EUROPA/Well well well. Now the Champions League really is wide open..

So here's that quarter-final draw again:

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea v Manchester United

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan v Schalke 04

As Gary Lineker put it, there will be an English team in the semi-finals, but could Tottenham make it two sides? Real are certainly not invincible.

Now, before taking a look at all the domestic leagues over the weekend, a recap of Thursday's highlights from the Europa League. Quite a night of upsets.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA takes agenda by scruff of the snood

Photo

SOCCER-ENGLAND/There will be a lot of fashion-conscious footballers holding their breath for item “V.1.b” at the International Football Association Board’s annual meeting next month.

Forget goal-line technology and positioning of goal posts and the other very sensible items on the agenda, the one sure to get a few people rather hot under the collar is the “wearing of snoods” – those snugly neck warmers much loved by the likes of Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Messi’s FIFA Ballon d’Or award is still a victory for team football

Photo

SOCCER-SPAIN/

It's strange that when 2009 winner Lionel Messi was awarded the combined FIFA Ballon d'Or award on Monday there was shock in the Zurich auditorium and around the globe.

He is clearly the best player in the world but most fans and pundits had expected one of Barcelona team mates and Spain World Cup winners Andres Iniesta or Xavi to take the prize.    

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA’s World Cup decision day — live

We'll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA's executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA battens down the hatches as allegations mount

Photo

SOCCER-WORLD/The chill winds of corruption allegations swirling once again around FIFA's Zurich HQ have got world soccer's bosses busy battening down the hatches in the forlorn hope that, if ignored, they will all just blow away.

But if they were to peep out of the windows of their ivory tower overlooking the Swiss financial centre they might see that, in the eyes of much of the world, it is their credibility that is blown and that the process of selecting the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals has been seriously tainted.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Ballon d’Or shortlist should give Premier League pause for thought

Photo

SOCCER-SPAIN/England performed well below expectation at the World Cup in South Africa and judging by the FIFA Ballon d'Or list announced on Tuesday the stock of the Premier League is not at its highest either.

Just three players from the league that likes to call itself the best in the world are on the list and it would be a huge surprise if any of them made it into the top three:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Did the punishment fit the Suarez crime?

Photo

SOCCER-WORLD

When Uruguay's Luis Suarez handled the ball in the final seconds of extra-time in the World Cup quarter-final against Ghana, the ball was heading across the line for a dramatic winning goal.

The officials did well to spot the offence in a crowded area at the end of what must have been a tiring encounter to be in charge of. But did the punishment of a penalty and a red card for Suarez really fit the crime?

from Summit Notebook:

Check Out Line: World Cup boost to Europe sales peetering out

Photo

SOCCERCheck out how European retailers are a little downcast now about the "World Cup" effect.

France had a spectacular flameout, and Germany, Spain and England have been struggling, leading experts to tell the Reuters Global Retail Summit that they were less optimistic about the boost sales could get from the World Cup mania sweeping the Old Continent.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Don’t blame the referees, blame the players

Photo

RTR2FGUR[2]kakasmall

I watched the Brazil v Ivory Coast match in the bar of a Cape Town media hotel on Sunday and, not that it was really needed, was given another reminder of what an impossible job referees have in modern football.

When Luis Fabiano broke through to score Brazil's second goal, the reaction of around 60 watching journalists ranged from joy to disappointment - but nobody was crying "handball."

  •