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The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

A different approach to Euro 2012

By Kai Pfaffenbach


Being a Reuters photographer means you travel a lot. War zones, disasters or political visits are on your list. By far the most exiting events - for me - are still the big sports events. 2012 offers a nice variety and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament will be an excellent warm up for the Olympic games to follow shortly in London.

Although I've followed the German team in previous tournaments this time it's a different approach for me to cover the tournament. With my colleagues Pascal Lauener from Switzerland, Austria's chief photographer Leo Foeger and our technician Gilles de Queiros from France I'm covering the games in Warsaw and Gdansk. With the complicated history of Poland's and Germany's relationship in mind I started this trip with different expectations and was wondering if our Polish hosts had any prejudices against Germans. Let's not forget the first shots of World War II were fired at Gdansk (then Danzig) in September, 1939.

After five days of work in both cities my first resume is very clear: it is a great pleasure to be here! Beside some serious security officers at the Gdansk stadium (they decided to trade their smile in for the uniform) all the people we met were incredibly nice, friendly and gave us a very warm welcome. Volunteers in the stadium, young soccer fans in and around the stadiums or the sales people at the local supermarket seem to like especially the German soccer team. Obviously it helps that two of Germany's best players are born in Poland. Lukas Podolski and Miroslav "Mirek" Klose are as popular as Poland's own soccer heroes Kuba Blasczikowski and Robert Lewandowski who play for German soccer champion Borussia Dortmund. It especially helps when they train in tops saying "I like it!" in Polish.

After Poland's 1-1 draw jn the opening game against Greece they have to play a strong team from Russia who defeated Czech Republic unexpectedly by 4-1! The relationship between Poland and Russia doesn't seem to be the best at the moment. The violent attacks by Russian hooligans against stewards in the stadium during their first game didn't really help to garner sympathy.

Who will win Euro 2012? It is anyone’s guess

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The bookmakers might say Spain again and people who think they are in the know might say Germany, but really no one is sure who will triumph in the finals in Ukraine and Poland.

Netherlands reached the World Cup final but with Germany in their group, could they become a cropper early doors? France are on a good run but have they got the firepower and defensive stability needed?

I survived the Nuerburgring Nordschleife!

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The Nordschleife. Just the word sends shivers down the spine of even the best motor racing driver. Sir Jackie Stewart nicknamed the old track in western Germany the “Green Hell” and although it is extremely dangerous, they all loved racing it really.

Talks about exhilarating. I was lucky enough to be driven round the fearsome circuit by a specialist driver in a Mercedes two-seat sportscar ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the adjacent Nuerburgring.

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:

Paul the Octopus will predict no more…

GERMANY-OCTOPUS/SOCCERIt is with great sadness that we report the death of the world's foremost psychic cephalopod.

Paul the Octopus, the mystic mollusc himself, became a more significant World Cup figure than Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo or Franck Ribery with his extraordinarily accurate predictions from his tank at Sea Life in Germany.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Euro 2012 qualifiers – live

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:

Sorry Germany, the oracle octopus has spoken

SOCCER-WORLD/OCTOPUSThere are only three things that are certain in life -- death, taxes and the World Cup predictions of a British-born octopus in western Germany.

That being the case, there's hardly any point in playing Wednesday's semi-final between Germany and Spain -- the Spanish have got it won.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Reuters World Cup 2010 podcast — quarter-finals (II)

Listen!

Join us for a look back at the extraordinary first two quarter-finals at the World Cup and a look forward to Germany v Argentina and Spain v Paraguay. Paul Radford, Felix Bate, Jon Bramley and Kevin Fylan argue over the merits of penalty goals in soccer and consider Ghana's desperate misfortune.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup 2010 quarter-finals podcast

Welcome to our latest Reuters 2010 World Cup podcast, as we follow the lead of the world's most famous psychic octopus and try to predict what will happen in the quarter-finals. Kevin Fylan is joined by Paul Radford, Jon Bramley, Ken Ferris and Mr Mark Gleeson.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

England defence crumble in German masterclass

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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