Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The toughest job at the World Cup (part three)


SOCCER-WORLDChile have reached the last 16 at the World Cup for only the third time in 50 years and we're delighted to report that coach Marcelo Bielsa has hit form at the right time.

The tournament's most verbose coach was in at the top of his game in the run-up to the match against Brazil, baffling the world's media with his long-winded answers to the simplest of questions and brilliantly using the double negative on at least one occasion. Here are some excerpts from what was billed as a news conference but sounded more like a lecture in philosophy.

How important is the absence of your two central defenders? "I cannot not know the performance they have produced in the World Cup and, in addition to the way they are playing at the moment, they are valuable players but I believe we are capable of opting for their team mates who will resolve their absence with reliability and competence, you come to a World Cup with a number of options for each position, and the objective of this is that other options will appear and in the match against Brazil we will try to verify whether we have done this job correctly as this is one of the objectives of a team which competes in a tournament of this magnitude." (and, yes, that was all one sentence)

You've lost your last seven matches against Brazil. Does this worry you?

"The psychological aspect is always important in a championship but the fact which you are harbouring, from our point of view acts, acts as a stimulus, it's an opportunity to reverse a situation which is based on negative precedents.....it's not that, because you lost in the past, you enter the field in a depressed mood for having lost previous matches. Previous matches are precedents which you can never ignore, you value and you respect the achievements of your opponents, in the case of Brazil even more so because of the dimension of their footballing history, but, in a humble way, we aspire to finding a small space for ourselves."

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Clinton gets serious about soccer


SOCCER-WORLD/By Jon Herskovitz

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is serious about his soccer. He is a cheerleader for the US bid to host the World Cup; proud of the prowess on the pitch in South Africa for the red, white and blue; a fan of the noisemaking vuvuzela and a thinker who sees the beautiful game as a way to gain insight on disputes between ethnic groups and nations.

Clinton, still jubilant after attending a dramatic U.S. victory in stoppage time over Algeria a night ago, spoke to a roundtable of reporters for about an hour on Thursday. For him, the game is an intellectual pursuit and a passion. One book he cited was How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory on Globalization, by Franklin Foer. Foer offered some insight on his theories in an interview a few years ago with Mother Jones magazine.

from Summit Notebook:

Check Out Line: World Cup boost to Europe sales peetering out


SOCCERCheck out how European retailers are a little downcast now about the "World Cup" effect.

France had a spectacular flameout, and Germany, Spain and England have been struggling, leading experts to tell the Reuters Global Retail Summit that they were less optimistic about the boost sales could get from the World Cup mania sweeping the Old Continent.

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Drogba, Ferdinand…who next for the World Cup curse?


A top player seems to get injured on the eve of every major tournament and this year it looks like Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand have suffered the World Cup curse.

Ivory Coast captain Drogba is seriously doubtful for the extravaganza after injuring his elbow in a friendly against Japan on Friday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Tevez provides sweet headache for Maradona


SOCCER-WORLD/Carlos Tevez has quickly gained the love of supporters wherever he has played, first at Boca Juniors, then Corinthians, now in the Premier League, with his never-say-die attitude added to considerable ball skills.

On Monday in Buenos Aires, he played as if he were facing Brazil in the World Cup finals and not Canada in a friendly. He chased and harried for 70 minutes, laid on the second goal in a 5-0 win for Maxi Rodriguez, passed to Angel Di Maria for his celestial third goal of the night and got on the scoresheet himself.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Symbolic moment as rugby comes to black township of Soweto


SOCCER-FRIENDLY/South Africa’s long standing racist past means it still a country of great contrasts but with the change in power and social dynamics come great ironies too.

The latest will be played out on Saturday when the citadel of black South African football, the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, plays host to a Super 14 rugby match involving the Blue Bulls, the team so beloved by the white Afrikaners.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup squad news: Capello calls on Carragher, Ronaldinho left out

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Fabio Capello has announced his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup and the big news is that Jamie Carragher is back, while there is no place for Bobby Zamora or Owen Hargreaves.

Meanwhile Brazil have omitted Ronaldinho as expected and Italy coach Marcello Lippi has decided to leave Francesco Totti at home. Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas are in Spain's squad despite injuries.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup draw: live blog