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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.

But it is England's squad which probably has the most surprises so here it is:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock

Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips

What are the odds on getting the Six Nations winner right?

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RTR29J26[1]SIXNATIONS

Picking the winner of the Six Nations championship is always a tricky task as the vagaries of form and the fixture list ensure that no two seasons are the same.

France, who finished third last season, are rated 6/4 favourites by Ladbrokes while grand slam champions Ireland are only second-best at 9/4.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

France break Irish hearts to seal World Cup slot

France ensured the likes of Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry will be at the World Cup in South Africa next year after winning through with a goal that has left Irish fans seething.

There was nothing wrong with the finish from William Gallas, but Thierry Henry admitted using his hand to keep the ball in play and commentators and Irish supporters are already talking of "The Hand of God II" and "The Hand of Henry" in reference to Diego Maradona in 1986.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup live blog

From 1730 GMT.************

Sportswrap: redemption special

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Click on the video above for our latest look at the week’s sporting highlights, including an interview with Andre Agassi (in full Edith Piaf mode), the thoughts of Michael Phelps on his trial by textile and the almighty scrap for the last nine World Cup places.

As always, Sportswrap is presented by Owen Wyatt, written by Kevin Fylan and produced from our Canary Wharf HQ.

Third time lucky for Pyeongchang?

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pyeongchangWith the race for the 2018 winter Games now officially underway, and with the surprise choice of Rio de Janeiro for 2016 fresh in the mind, bid cities will be asking themselves whether paying your Olympic dues is the key factor in getting the Games.

If so, Pyeongchang will have the advantage in the race with Munich and France’s Annecy, with a decision set for 2011.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup playoff draw – your views

Draw for the European World Cup playoffs:

Republic of Ireland v France
Portugal v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Greece v Ukraine
Russia v Slovenia

Two-legged ties to be played on Nov 14 and 18.

Is that the sound of a World Cup playoff shock I hear? France, 2006 runners-up, will have to beat Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland over two legs to reach South Africa next year and that is no easy feat.

UPDATE-Contador in yellow: does he have the Tour wrapped up?

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CYCLING-TOUR/

Alberto Contador made his break as the Tour de France entered the Alps on Sunday and he may well have decided the race in his favour.

Contador’s thrilling escape asked a question Lance Armstrong could not answer and earned the Spaniard the yellow jersey, with a lead of more than a minute and a half over Armstrong. That’s not decisive, but it is now hard to see the Texan coming back and taking victory.

Quiet day for April Fools

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I’ve been scouting around for some sporting April Fools but I’ve not spotted many good ones.

Maybe some websites and blogs have held off on the jokes given the state of the world economy is no laughing matter.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Vlog on the Pitch — Thierry Henry’s sparkling return to form

Thierry Henry did not enjoy the happiest of starts to his new life in Barcelona but it's clicked for the Frenchman this term.

He plays more as a winger than a striker under Pep Guardiola yet he's still managed 15 league goals this season and the Premier League certainly seems a poorer place without him.

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