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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup draw: live blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

10 good reasons to love Raymond Domenech

Overseeing qualification for the World Cup via a blatant handball is unlikely to do much for the popularity of French coach Raymond Domenech, either at home or abroad (his Wikipedia page is currently saying some very nasty things about him, but it will doubtless be put back to its less offensive version soon).

The 57-year-old former defender, whose name is booed at every match, has never made any effort to make himself popular, but here are 10 reasons (or nearly 10) why football fans may want to reconsider their view:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

France break Irish hearts to seal World Cup slot

France ensured the likes of Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry will be at the World Cup in South Africa next year after winning through with a goal that has left Irish fans seething.

There was nothing wrong with the finish from William Gallas, but Thierry Henry admitted using his hand to keep the ball in play and commentators and Irish supporters are already talking of "The Hand of God II" and "The Hand of Henry" in reference to Diego Maradona in 1986.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup live blog

From 1730 GMT.************

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.

All Blacks arrive without the aura

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allblacksRoughly once a decade throughout the 20th century, a group of South Seas islanders in the guise of the New Zealand All Blacks would invade Europe to teach the old world the ways of the new.

There were reverses, notably at the hands of Wales in 1905, 1935 and 1953, three of the first four games between the two small rugby-mad nations. But the win-loss ratio remained overwhelmingly in favour of the All Blacks, whose distinctive all-black uniform and pre-match haka (Maori war dance) enhanced their special aura.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s return to AC Milan confirmed

David Beckham will tread a familiar path once the MLS season is over, joining AC Milan on loan again for a five-month loan spell from January.

Milan have just announced the deal on their website (just in Italian for now), meaning any lingering hopes Premier League clubs had of changing the England midfielder's mind have finally been dashed.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Forget the World Cup, the predictions league is back (UPDATE)

TUESDAY UPDATE:

The scores are in and it hasn't been quite as bad a week as usual for most of the Reuters Panel. Still, we're not tearing up any trees, as the big man would have said, so still plenty of chance to make us look like fools. Here's the updated table:

Reuters Soccer Blog panel: Patrick Johnston 89, Paul Radford 77, Simon Evans 71 (shocker), Kevin Fylan 65, Mike Collett 64 (outstanding performance), Mitch Phillips 62 (another shocker), Miles Evans 60, Julien Pretot 57, Neil Maidment 43, Mark Meadows 42, Justin Palmer 36, Asia Sports Desk 35, Martyn Herman 7

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup playoff draw – your views

Draw for the European World Cup playoffs:

Republic of Ireland v France
Portugal v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Greece v Ukraine
Russia v Slovenia

Two-legged ties to be played on Nov 14 and 18.

Is that the sound of a World Cup playoff shock I hear? France, 2006 runners-up, will have to beat Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland over two legs to reach South Africa next year and that is no easy feat.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Decision day for Argentina: Live blogging the World Cup qualifiers

Unusually, the final night of European World Cup qualifying is a bit of a damp affair. Most of the groups have been decided, with by and large just the second-places, and play-off berths, up for grabs.

Undeterred, we shall keep you up to date with what's going on in Europe as a prelude to the really serious business of the night ... the decisive match in Montevideo, where Argentina are playing for their lives against Uruguay.

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