Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s value is his values

SOCCER-MLS/Harry Redknapp does not need a right-sided midfield player and, with the depth of talent regularly available on his bench, he hardly needs to bolster his squad with a three-month loan signing.

Yet he, and several other Premier League managers, are trying to secure the services of 35-year-old David Beckham.

Many observers are scratching their heads and wondering just what is the enduring appeal of a player clearly several years past his peak.

They point to the unavoidable media frenzy that will come as part of any loan deal arranged with LA Galaxy, if the American club agree to let their number one asset go again after he suffered a serious injury on his last sojourn, to AC Milan last year.

Replays don’t always give the answer

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NFL/Sunday’s controversial video review decision in the Steelers-Dolphins game should be a reminder to those who support replays that cameras can’t see everything.

The incident and an explanation can be watched in this video here (or you can read about the controversy here )

from Photographers' Blog:

Yes, my job really is this glamorous

When people ask me what I do for a living, or they hear tales from my wife about me being away at the Olympics or shooting football or golf or a Papal visit somewhere, the usual response is to tell me how glamorous my job is, rubbing shoulders with all these famous sporting and political icons and how lucky I am to get to attend all these events and call it work!

Granted, I am incredibly lucky to have an office that regularly includes Premier League football grounds and other major sporting events, but glamorous......not a word I would often use, and last night was a perfect case in point.

from Photographers' Blog:

Samurais in South Africa

I arrived in South Africa with the Japan team filled with excitement and an acute feeling of anxiety. Never mind that I would be on the scene to cover the world's biggest sporting event, and never mind that I would be competing against the top sports photographers from around the globe to get the best pictures. For a Reuters photographer like myself dedicated to a single team, when your team drops out of the competition, you're finished. Like the defeated team, you go back to the hotel, pack your bags and spend the long flight home wondering what went wrong. Based on Japan's lackluster showing in the East Asia Soccer Championship my expectation for Japan was three defeats in a row and no victories. Mine would be a short stay in South Africa.

A Japanese boy living in South Africa reacts as he watches Japan's national soccer team depart from South Africa at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg June 30, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

But during Japan's first match against Cameroon the Samurai Blue seemed to transform themselves in front of my eyes with Keisuke Honda’s goal being the catalyst. Japan was defeated by the Netherlands in their second match but the Samurais demonstrated the unity of the team in their performance and they were victorious against Denmark in their third match. In doing so they completely wiped out the image that I held of the Japan team before going into the competition. I was covering the world's biggest sporting event, and I was going up against the top sports photographers, but in this World Cup Japan's victory meant that the formidable teams of France and Italy and the even more formidable photographers accompanying them were going home. Not me.

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.

from Shop Talk:

World Cup is no March Madness in sapping productivity

cup1It may be the World Cup, but when it comes to sapping productivity in the United States the global soccer tournament still has a thing or two to learn from March Madness and the National Football League.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which often measures lost workplace productivity, said many U.S. fans will tune in for the quadrennial soccer tournament, which kicks off Friday in South Africa, but the event still trails the NCAA men's basketball tournament, dubbed March Madness, and other events.

Who will rise to the occasion and become a worthy replacement for Beckham?

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SOCCER-ITALY/BECKHAMFabio Capello has plenty of options for the right midfield slot, even if David Beckham’s snapped Achilles rules him out of the World Cup.

Between Shaun Wright-Phillips, Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon (if fit) and James Milner there is a wealth of talent at the Italian’s disposal.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Does Angola attack really endanger the World Cup or just Africa’s image?

The bloody attack on Togo's team bus in Angola is a huge tragedy for African football and like it or not, has cast a shadow over the World Cup in South Africa in five months time -- the biggest sports event ever staged on the continent.

It is highly debatable whether the attack, which killed two members of the Togolese delegation as they arrived for the African Nations Cup and forced the squad's evacuation on Sunday, really increases the risk to teams and spectators in South Africa.

from Photographers' Blog:

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…?

Snow. Looks good on those Christmas cards, doesn’t it? Fun for small children. Even nice for penguins in the zoo. But photographers covering soccer? Brrrrrrrrrr. Not really.

Let’s get one thing straight. We Brits go on about the weather like a stuck record, but when it comes to it, we can’t cope with it. That’s why we live in Britain.

Five defining moments from a decade of sport

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As the decade draws to a close, we pick five sporting moments which have defined the last 10 years.

1. Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic flame at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a Games set in a country which embraces the outdoor life and punches well above its weight in most sports.

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