Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

“Boring” Spain set new standards

Photo

Chastised and lambasted in the early stages of Euro 2012 for passing the ball sideways and backwards too often for the liking of goal-hungry fans and journalists, who had thrived in the feast of a wildly entertaining tournament, Spain silenced all their critics with a ruthless of display of flamboyant flair and lethal finishing in a one-sided final which made Italy look like a bunch of schoolboys.

Vicente Del Bosque’s “boring” strategy, based on deploying a strikerless formation to draw out opponents who park the proverbial bus in their own half, in fact proved to be a masterstroke which none of Spain’s rivals could cope with.

Not only have the Spaniards set new standards by winning their third successive major trophy, but their plethora of ways to break down the opposition has also given the other title contenders at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil a serious headache, with apparently no prescription available.

This Spanish outfit can seemingly knock the ball around with their eyes closed all night in any formation required.

Quick quizzes reveal Spain players’ secrets

Photo

If you wanted to find out some intimate details about the Spain team competing at Euro 2012 you could do a lot worse than read the series of quickfire interviews published over the past few weeks in El Pais daily.

 Bombarded with questions like how much do you spend each month on petrol, who is Lech Walesa, how often does coach Vicente del Bosque trim his moustache and how much did goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas weigh when he was born, Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and their team mates come up with some interesting and revealing answers.

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

Photo

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?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Friday

Photo

SOCCER-WORLDThe first day of the fourth month means April fools day, so we would really love to hear from you if there are any dubious stories doing the rounds.

Here are some. Frank Lampard’s ‘goal that never was’ at the World Cup is to be finally given. Ronaldo will start playing for Spain. And here is a list of five other classics from the past.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Wednesday

Photo

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:

FIFA’s World Cup decision day — live

We'll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA's executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

4-2-3-1…4-5-1…4-4-2…that’ll be four midfielders and two forwards then?

Photo

So Fabio Capello's masterstroke in revitalising Wayne Rooney and turning England from World Cup no-hopers to instant Euro 2012 favourites was....to tell the Manchester United striker to hang back a bit.

That sage advice, if most of the English press is to be believed, transformed England's formation from a prehistoric 4-4-2 to the liquid 4-5-1 that all the modern young bucks were using in South Africa.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

What’s behind Spain’s run of sporting success?

Photo

CYCLING-TOUR/

Spanish sports fans have never had it so good.

The Iberian nation is celebrating its latest triumphs after a month of success that local media have called a golden age.

On Sunday, Alberto Contador sealed his third Tour de France title, Fernando Alonso won the German Formula One Grand Prix, and Jorge Lorenzo roared to MotoGP victory in the U.S.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup final live — Spain 1 Dutch 0 – how it happened

We've followed every World Cup match live here and it's now time for the final --- the Netherlands v Spain. Join us here for commentary, discussion of the game and the best photos in the world.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Losing team’s national stock markets at risk

Photo

SOCCER-WORLD/By Ross Kerber

Two national market indexes that may not shine on Monday are those of Spain and the Netherlands, whose soccer teams are scheduled to meet in the World Cup's championship game on Sunday.

Whichever country's team loses can expect a drag on its market index of 49 basis points, said Wharton business school professor Alex Edmans. That is the amount that national stock indexes tend to be held back on average on the day after their country is eliminated from the World Cup, according to a paper he published in 2007 with two co-authors, Diego Garcia of the University of North Carolina and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management.

  •