Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Things warming up nicely on the South African sporting front

SOCCER-CONFEDERATIONS/The South African sporting public were a little underwhelmed by the early stages of the Confederations Cup and the British and Irish Lions tour but the last few days has seen a major turnaround and there is now something in the air.

Relatively high ticket prices combined with the Sprinboks’ decision to keep their players out of their Super 14 teams combined to ensure the early provincial games were played against a backdrop of empty seats.

Now, however, with the first test looming on Saturday, a ticket for King’s Park is like gold dust. The few thousand Lions fans who followed the team round the country over the first three weeks have been joined by a massive influx for the tests.

Estimates are that more than 30,000 will arrive for some part of the tour and they were out in force in Durban this week. Balmy seaside temperatures, good cheap food and, vitally, even cheaper beer, makes the coastal resort a dream destination for rugby tourists.

Cristiano Ronaldo and why art, not the artist, is what matters

SOCCER-ENGLAND/RONALDOCristiano Ronaldo’s obsession with scoring an unforgettable goal in the Champions League final makes perfect sense now the world knows he always intended to leave Manchester United afterwards for Real Madrid.

Reaction in England to his departure was captured in a Guardian headline: “United fans will miss outrageous talent but not a charmless man”. Ronaldo, it was said, possessed sumptuous talent coupled with obnoxious self-regard.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

In defence of Giuseppe Rossi

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American soccer fans aren't noted for their nastiness but the reaction to Giuseppe Rossi, New Jersey native, scoring twice for Italy against the U.S in their 3-1 Confederations Cup defeat on Monday has been surprisingly vitriolic.

What has upset U.S fans is that Rossi was born and bred in the U.S. but chose to play for another country and then -- to add insult to injury -- celebrated when he scored twice against his country of birth.

Bowled in the USA

If you think soccer is a hard sell in the United States then what about cricket? As we reported today, an American Premier League Twenty20 tournament is to be held in October on Staten Island, New York, with a cast made up largely of players from the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

 

Usually whenever the words ‘cricket’ and ‘America’ are in the same sentence, it prompts laughter -– if the world’s most popular team sport, soccer, can’t breakthrough into the U.S. mainstream, what chance is there for cricket with rules and vocabulary that are unfathomable to most who haven’t grown up with the game?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

British Olympic soccer team becomes right royal farce

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There has not been one since 1960, the Scottish don’t want its return, neither do the Welsh, nor the Northern Irish and yet the prospect of a British soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics remains.

The English Football Association is refusing to relinquish an idea that nobody else seems to care about.

The least enviable job in sport?

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Ratomir Dujkovic reacts during a team training session at Chelsea Football Club's training ground in Cobham The four short-listed candidates to be coach of the China national soccer team have had to undergo a three-day interview at a closed training camp, Liu Zhen reported from Beijing yesterday.

Given the troubled state of Chinese football, this could be viewed as a straightforward three-day contest to decide who will next hold the title of least popular man in China.

Sports picture of the day

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Split seconds count in sports photography. Reuters Sports Pictures editor Greg Bos thinks London-based photographer Eddie Keogh captured the moment perfectly when former Arsenal captain William Gallas went head over heels to the ground during an FA Cup match.

CAPTION: Arsenal’s William Gallas (top) challenges Cardiff City’s Jay Bothroyd during their FA Cup fourth round replay soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London February 16, 2009. REUTERS/ Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN)

Sports picture of the day

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SOCCER-LATAM/

We’re back with another picture of the day, and this time Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos has chosen a frame from the Copa Libertadores, South American soccer’s version of the Champions League. Greg writes:

I like this picture because of its colour and shape – a simple, but eye-catching, illustration of football fans in Argentina sandwiched between two giant colourful flags.

Sports picture of the day: David Beckham

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SOCCER-SPAIN/

To celebrate the launch of the new sports blog we’re reviving a feature from View from the Bird’s Nest and posting a picture of the day from the Reuters file.

Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos has chosen the first pic, a shot of David Beckham from Spanish photographer Marcelo del Pozo. Over to Greg…

Bankers can’t seem to kick the sporting habit

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northernrockPeople are up in arms about bankers receiving bonuses when the banks they worked for have gone down the pan. But isn’t it just as shocking that so many state-backed financial firms still subsidise the eye-popping wages of sporting superstars through rich sponsorship deals?

It’s the same story on both sides of the Atlantic. Citigroup , which received $45 billion from the U.S. government, is sticking with a $400 million deal marketing deal from 2006 which includes the naming rights for the new home of the New York Mets baseball team, which will be called Citi Field.

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