Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

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.

Sportswrap’s Hollywood ending

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Join Owen Wyatt and myself for our look back at the week in sport. Our focus is on Diego Maradona and the 2010 World Cup qualifying situation in South America, with a quick detour to Celtic Manor to consider next year’s Ryder Cup golf.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why our predictions panel rates a less than perfect 10

People can be divided into 10 types: those who understand binary and those who don't.

I mention this only because a look down our scores for this week would reveal a great many ones and zeroes, and very few fives.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Back to the real world: league predictions

Now we've got that pesky international interlude behind us (it'll all end in tears, you know it will) we can get back to the serious business of predicting the scores in the Premier League.

Remember how it works: We, at Reuters Soccer Blog, publish our individual predictions for the weekend Premier League matches here on a Friday. You, laughing snidely at our pathetic efforts, send in yours in the comments section below the post.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting the score… you make us look good!

Are you a flip-flopper? A U-turner? A volte-facer? Are you the Brett Favre of football fans? If so, you're in good company, though it's not doing you much good in our predictions league.

Liverpool lost at Spurs and suddenly there were doubts about the strength of the squad, derision at the decision to sell Xabi Alonso and a general feeling the Reds were in decline. They then beat Stoke 4-0 and it was "madness to write them off". Last night, they lost again, 3-1 at home to Aston Villa, and Sky Sports News have been asking if their title challenge is over... And it's still only August 25! Phew!

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Premier League season needs a grand finale

The English Premier League has always reminded me of eating out at McDonalds. I always hope for something new but then end up getting the same as last time.

The new season hasn't even kicked off yet, but if the experts are right, it's already as good as over for nearly all the teams.

from FaithWorld:

Muslims angry at German soccer club over song

German Muslims have inundated one of the country's top soccer teams, Schalke 04, with complaints about a verse in the club's anthem which, they say, is disparaging towards the Prophet Mohammad.

The club has its home in Gelsenkirchen in Germany's industrial heartland and immigrants make up about a third of the town's population. Most of them have a Turkish background. Germany's biggest mosque was opened in nearby Duisburg last year and many Schalke supporters are Muslims, as chat rooms like this one point out.

Why do golf fans cheer tap-ins? And when is a fine not a fine?

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tigerA few thoughts from two weeks following the PGA Tour:

Just wondering why people clap like mad every time a golfer taps in a two-inch putt?  Are these the same people who break out in applause when a plane lands? Aren’t both these things suppose to happen?
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Best thing I heard on the golf course this week: “Instead of reading the greens you have to read the currents out there,” joked former U.S. Masters champion Mike Weir at the rain-hit Canadian Open.

Second best I heard on the golf course this week: “Let’s go watch someone who wants to play.” — A disgruntled spectator to a friend at the Buick Open after watching Rocco Mediate miss twice from three-feet at the par four 12th at Warwick.
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You have to love a tournament like the Buick Open where the trophy looks like a hood ornament.
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Best joke I heard: England midfielder David Beckham was fined $1,000 by Major League Soccer for confronting unhappy fans following his return to the LA Galaxy during AC Milan. That works out to 1/250,000th of Beckham’s reported five-year $250 million deal that brought him to the United States to spread the soccer gospel.

from Changing China:

China’s infertile ground for (some) Western sports

Soccer is in a tight spot in China -- literally. Huge crowds roar for Manchester United but the national team is a laughing stock at 108th in FIFA world rankings. Poor coaching, lack of grassroots development, even corruption and violence are variously cited as reasons for the sport's demise. But the real reason may be more basic: the fact of physical space, or the lack thereof, in China.

If geography is a determinant of economic development, then it is fair to extrapolate that urban geography underpins the development of sports. And here's the rub for soccer, not to mention American football and baseball. With few parks, small concrete schoolyards and a dearth of quiet streets, urban China offers little of the space needed for the sprawling play that defines those sports. Soccer has deep roots in China, but playing space has been squeezed as cities sprawl and swallow land in big gulps.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Nakamura’s Japan snub a no-brainer

Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura's decision to snub a return to Yokohama and join Spain's Espanyol left his boyhood club devastated.

 

Yokohama's club president slapped himself with a 50 percent pay cut by way of apology to furious F-Marinos fans, but arguably the most surprising aspect of the protracted saga was Yokohama's "shock" that Nakamura opted for Espanyol instead of them after leaving Celtic, where he won three Scottish Premier League titles.

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