Iran was eliminated

Portugal 2 : 0 Iran
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Portugal waited 40 years to once again get beyond the first round of the World Cup.

Deco scored with a powerful first-time shot from outside the penalty area in the 63rd minute and Cristiano Ronaldo made a penalty kick 10 minutes from the end to give the Portuguese a 2-0 win over Iran on Saturday. That guaranteed advancement for Portugal, which last got so far in 1966 behind its greatest player, Eusebio.

Portugal finished third that year, but has struggled in soccer's premier event ever since - including four years ago, when an opening loss to the United States led to a first-round elimination.
Portugal has six points in Group D; it beat Angola 1-0 in its opening match.
"This is a historic moment for Portugal, the first time in 40 years it has come so far. We're elated," Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "We played better than against Angola. We showed some of our skill today."
Iran remained winless, having lost its opener against Mexico 3-1, and was eliminated.
Scolari said his team wouldn't sit back for its final group game against Mexico.
"We still want to beat Mexico to ensure first place in the group," Scolari said.
Just as against Angola, the Portuguese failed to keep their usual spark after a bright start, allowing an opponent to stay close. Then came the two second-half goals - and a spot in the second round.
Luis Figo set up both goals.

In an otherwise disappointing display in his 122nd international appearance, the Portuguese captain broke down the left flank and passed inside for an unmarked Deco to fire home. Deco had missed the opener with a strained leg muscle.
On another break down the left, he was brought down in the area by Yahya Golmohammadi for the penalty kick. Ronaldo stepped up to the spot and fired in a hard shot.
Deco's goal came just as the Portuguese were looking ragged. It also revived their ambition and led to the penalty kick.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari made three midfield changes after his team failed to impress against Angola. Francisco Costinha, Maniche and Deco came in for Armando Petit, Tiago and Simao Sabrosa.

Ronaldo was also included, even though he skipped two training sessions last week with muscle fatigue.
Iran left top striker Ali Daei out of his starting lineup due to a back strain.
The match featured a raft of close misses for the Portuguese and occasional goalmouth threats from Iran.
Deco forced Ebrahim Mirzapour into a superb reflex save from close range after 12 minutes, the goalie palming the ball away with his outstretched right hand.
Then Ricardo Carvalho's header from Figo's corner kick spun just wide.
Ronaldo started slowly, but threatened the Iranian defense twice in two minutes. The winger had a header chested off the line by Hossein Kaabi and then cut past three defenders from the right and hit a powerful shot just wide of the post.
But the Portuguese weren't firing on all pistons as Iran successfully closed down chief playmakers Deco and Figo for long periods. Still, Iran's attacking efforts often fell short because of sloppy ball control.

In conclusion:
Despite battling bravely all the way and showing much to be proud of, Iran's hopes are crushed with one group game still to go. Portugal, while sure of a spot in the Round of 16, are not yet guaranteed first place in the group with a tough final test against second-placed Mexico still to come. Only pride will be at stake for Iran in their final match against Angola.

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Brave Performance

A brave performance from ten-man Angola saw them hold Mexico to a goalless draw in their Group D meeting in Hanover on Friday, 16 June 2006.
Angola, who lie 53 places below El Tri in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, frustrated the Mexicans due to a combination of some resolute defending and some superb goalkeeping from Joao Ricardo.
The Palancas Negras' task was made even harder when they had Andre sent off in the 79th minute, but the African side held firm to register their first ever point in the FIFA World Cup™ finals.

In conclusion:Angola collected their first ever FIFA World Cup point with a courageous display and still have a chance of making the second round. Despite creating few clear chances, Mexico, on four points, are nevertheless well positioned to qualify with the fixture against Portugal still to play.

The Netherlands booked their place in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup™ as goals from Robin van Persie and Ruud van Nistelrooij earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Côte d'Ivoire in Stuttgart on Friday, 16 June 2006.
Their second win in Group C means the Dutch advanced with a game to spare, along with Argentina who also have six points after beating Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 earlier in the day. Côte d'Ivoire, like the Serbo-Montenegrins, can go no further in this tournament but they certainly pushed the Dutch all the way.
After Van Persie's 23rd-minute free-kick opener, Van Nistelrooij doubled the Dutch lead four minutes later but the Ivorians hit back through a spectacular Bakary Kone effort and threatened an equaliser on more than one occasion.

In conclusion:With this second win by the narrowest of margins, the Netherlands advance to the last 16 alongside Argentina. Debutants Côte d'Ivoire put on another fine show but when they travel home after their final match against Serbia and Montenegro they will reflect on the costly goals conceded early in their first two games.

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Fearsome Show

Argentina gave a fearsome show of attacking strength as they swept aside Group C rivals Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Friday, 16 June 2006.
Jose Pekerman's team equalled their record FIFA World Cup™ win against Peru from 1978 against opponents they had, coincidentally, dismantled by the same score at the 2004 Olympic Football Tournament. More importantly, the victory took them a big step closer to the second round, while leaving Serbia and Montenegro’s hopes hanging by a thread.

The flow of goals began in the sixth minute with Maxi Rodriguez and after Esteban Cambiasso had doubled the lead in the 31st minute, Rodriguez struck again to make it 3-0 ten minutes later. There was no respite for Serbia and Montenegro after the break as, following the dismissal of Mateja Kezman, Hernan Crespo hit Argentina's fourth in the 78th minute. Substitutes Carlos Tevez (84') and Lionel Messi (88') completed the scoring in the final ten minutes.

Three first-half strikes, two by Maxi Rodriguez and another by substitute Esteban Cambiasso, led Argentina to a 6-0 victory Friday over Serbia-Montenegro in Group C. Hernan Crespo made it 4-0 in the 78th, and youngsters Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi finished off the rout.
Two-time champion Argentina, which opened the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast, will reach the round of 16 if the Netherlands wins or draws later Friday against the Ivorians.
The loss eliminated the Serbs.
The first two goals were masterpieces.

With former star Diego Maradona cheering in the stands, Argentina got a perfect start with Rodriguez scoring in the sixth minute. He finished off his shot at the end of perfect passes down the left side from captain Juan Pablo Sorin and Javier Saviola. Argentina made it 2-0 in the 31st, a classic goal by Cambiasso, who entered in the 17th minute for injured Luis Gonzalez. Argentina held possession with a string of two dozen passes. At the finish, Saviola found Cambiasso, who passed to Hernan Crespo, who back-heeled the ball for Cambiasso's left-footed finish.

Rodriquez's second involved more grit than guile. Saviola stole the ball in the right corner, then took a shot breaking for the net. Serb keeper Dragoslav Jevric made a sprawling save. The ball rebounded off the goalpost to his right, with Rodriguez slipping the shot home in the 41st. To celebrate, he did a flying somersault. With Serbia down to 10 men after Mateja Kezman was sent off in the 65th for a harsh tackle on Javier Mascherano, Crespo broke through in the 78th off a pass from Messi. It was the 18-year-old Messi's first action of the tournament and he punctuated it with the final goal.

Tevez scored in the 84th, curling the ball into a wide open net as the Serb defense remained leaky. On a clear day, the game was played under a closed roof at FC Schalke's stadium - a move to give TV a shadow-free field.

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Ecuador go forward as Rooney comes back

Ecuador go forward as Rooney comes back
THE DAY REPLAYED: He’s a player once more and no longer the sporting world’s most famous patient. And the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ is all the better for his presence. Wayne Rooney’s first touches as a FIFA World Cup footballer helped shake England out of a fitful performance and the two goals that followed his arrival as a second-half substitute in Nuremberg broke the brave hearts of Trinidad and Tobago to install Sven-Goran Eriksson's team in the Round of 16.

England already know two of the other 15 teams who will progress with them with ambitions sharpened. The qualification of the host nation and Ecuador from Group A was confirmed by the South Americans' 3-0 defeat of Costa Rica. Back in Quito they will be celebrating loudly the sight of their team stepping into the last 16 for the first time but for Poland and Costa Rica it will be a case of catching the earliest plane home.

Moment of the Day

Wayne Rooney comes on and sparks England into life
How England needed some inspiration. They were toiling to knock over Trinidad and Tobago, the surprise packet of the tournament so far, a Caribbean ensemble who will fight to the bitter end while displaying the assurance and poise of seasoned FIFA World Cup campaigners rather than the debutants they are. Indeed there were times when T&T were not so much hanging on as looking in danger of creating one of the biggest shocks of all time.
Enter young Rooney, at 20 already an instantly recognisable figure on the world stage and on whose broad shoulders rest an entire nation's hopes of ending 40 years of hurt. He will obviously need more involvement than these 32 minutes to rediscover his full fitness after a broken metatarsal but crucially for England’s chances, there seemed no inhibition in his movement. His touch, moreover, was as instant and clean as always.
No one should underestimate, though, the contribution of fellow substitute Aaron Lennon whose pace exposed the tiring limbs of those doughty West Indian defenders. They had reached one lofty peak with the 0-0 draw achieved with ten men on their FIFA World Cup debut against Sweden and now they looked to go one step higher.
Lennon constantly had the beating of his man and widened England’s options significantly. Leo Beenhakker’s men tried to take advantage on the counter as England’s desperation grew. But there was more purpose to their play now and with seven minutes remaining David Beckham hit a diagonal cross to tempt Peter Crouch and a firm header gave them the lead.
Goal of the Day br Steven Gerrard – never a scorer of routine goals

In added time Steven Gerrard cut back onto his left foot and let fly. The ball thundered past Shaka Hislop, just as did another bullet from that same player in the FA Cup final last month, and England were home and dry. If they avoid defeat in Cologne against Sweden in five days' time England will finish as Group B winners.

Player of the Day br Agustin Delgado – goals and the Man of the Match award at the double

Ecuador impressed with their speedy fluency in beating Poland 2-0 on Day One and today they went one better, putting three goals without reply past a Costa Rica side who have conceded seven in their two games. Once again it was the lethal combination of Carlos Tenorio and Agustin Delgado that did the trick. Both men scoring for the second game running, with the first goal arriving from the head of Tenorio. Then Delgado exploded a shot off his right boot between goalkeeper and his near post to seal his Man of the Match award for the second time. Ivan Kaviedes added a third for the happy Ecuadorians who have gone further than four years ago when they were FIFA World Cup newcomers.
Sweden had some pride to restore after their failure to break T&T's resistance. This time they had to negotiate another awkward customer in a Paraguay team desperate for points themselves having lost to a soft own goal against England. There were chances for both teams, principally for Sweden who had the backing of a noisy and colourful following in the magnificent FIFA World Cup Stadium Berlin.
It didn’t look as if it was going to come and then with two minutes remaining Marcus Allback knocked the ball across and Freddie Ljungberg stayed calm to steer his header into the far corner. It will be an interesting twist if his fellow countrymen now deny Eriksson the chance to finish as winners of the section but that's of no interest to Paraguay who exit having suffered two 1-0 defeats.

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Neuville breaks Poland's hearts

Neuville breaks Poland's hearts
A last-gasp goal from substitute Oliver Neuville gave Germany their second successive Group A victory against Poland in Dortmund on Wednesday, 14 June 2006.
Germany, who had been frustrated for the vast majority of the match through a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Artur Boruc, were grateful when the Borussia Monchengladbach man side-footed home in the first minute of added time.
The result does not guarantee the hosts qualification for the Round of 16, but it leaves them with one foot in the knockout stages.

German supersub Neuville breaks Poland's hearts in stoppage time as he slid in to convert Odonkor's killer cross for a late winner to spark relief-charged celebrations in Dortmund and right across the host nation.

Germany left it as late as possible to claim the three points and Poland can count themselves unlucky after holding them at bay for so long as the result matched the score when the teams met in the 1974 FIFA World Cup™ semi-final.

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Spanish Fly & Islamic Draw

'Spain could go a long way'
We saw Spain put in a wonderful performance today. Their players showed superb technical skills, excellent ball control and a lot of pace. They fully deserved the win because they made the most of their opportunities.
The game was largely settled by set-piece plays and Spain's first three goals came from dead-ball situations. There was also a deflection on the second and the third was a penalty. That's why I enjoyed the fourth so much, an absolutely excellent goal that came from open play. It would have been shame if all the goals had been scored from set-pieces.

The match took shape very early on with Spain's first two goals. The Spanish were in complete control, particularly in terms of possession and they scored almost at will. Oleg Blokhin made a few tactical changes at the break but we'll never know if they would have worked because the penalty and the sending-off came right at the start of the second half.
That gave Ukraine a huge mountain to climb, and with only ten men and playing in that heat it was well beyond them. I feel a little sorry for them to be honest, because they're obviously a much better side than such an emphatic scoreline suggests. But Spain were tremendous - all you need to do is take a look at their bench, with the likes of Raul and Cesc Fabregas and you can see them going a long way. Mind you, they always promise great things, so we'd better wait and see.


There is a tremendous amount of quality in our midfield and we’re very strong physically too. The fact is we dominated as soon as we got possession, and their heads went down when we scored the second.
That said, we were a little slack at the back once or twice and could have conceded a couple of goals. I wasn’t happy with that because it’s very important to keep a clean sheet at the World Cup.
I didn’t expect such a convincing result, and I honestly thought they’d make it tougher for us. I have to say, though, we were a little lucky scoring from a corner and then a free-kick, and that hit them very hard psychologically.
We’ve got some very talented players and we’ve made an excellent start.


I’m extremely disappointed. We weren’t disciplined at all and the players failed to follow the instructions the coaching team gave them. We’ll have to analyse our mistakes very closely and lift the players for next game. We’ll also need to rebuild the defence completely. After all, though, this is our very first World Cup finals and we need to pick up some experience.
I’m not so much disappointed about the result as the attitude of the players. It’s embarrassing for all of us and I want to apologise to the Ukraine fans for the performance we put in. We can’t play like that again. We just crumbled.
Spain played a very complete game, they were solid and fully deserved to win. Xabi Alonso also had a terrific game. Sadly, we’ve been the worst European team in the competition so far.

Tunisia 2 : 2 Saudi Arabia

With a sudden burst, Saudi Arabia was on the verge of erasing recent World Cup embarrassment. Then Tunisia spoiled the Saudi's celebrations in the final seconds Wednesday.

Rahdi Jaidi's powerful header in injury time gave Tunisia a 2-2 tie with Saudi Arabia in the only all-Arab match of the tournament. Just a few minutes earlier, in the 84th, Sami al-Jaber gave the Saudis a lead.
Al-Jaber, who retired from the national team, then was brought back for qualifying, had entered the game moments before. He has played in four World Cups and now has scored in three after finishing off a 2-on-1 break. It was his first touch of the game.
Saudi Arabia coach Marcos Paqueta had left al-Jaber on the bench because the veteran was struggling with a thigh problem. But the 34-year-old showed his class at the first opportunity.
Tunisia pressed for the tie and got it on Jaidi's header from 6 yards off a feed from the end line by Ziad Jaziri, who scored earlier.
Four years after an 8-0 humiliation against Germany in their opening game, goals from Yasser al-Qahtani and the veteran al-Jaber put the Saudis in position for a victory - and a bonus of $27,000 per player.

Then Tunisia struck for the tie. Jaidi, a hulking defender, pushed up and was unmarked in front of the middle of the goal to head in Jaziri's pinpoint pass.
Each team has one point, behind Group H favorite Spain, which routed Ukraine 4-0 earlier Wednesday.
The Tunisians took the lead in the 23rd minute, when the Saudi defense failed to clear a corner kick and Jaziri thumped the ball hard and high into the top-left corner of the Saudi net.
But Saudi Arabia slowly recovered its poise, with midfielder Nawaf al-Temyat at the center of increasingly dangerous moves.
It earned a string of free kicks and corners, and Tunisia's 40-year-old goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel, the oldest player in the tournament, had to dive sharply to hold a dangerous free kick by Redha Takar in the 37th minute.
The pressure paid off in the 57th at the end of a smooth passing move. Noor Mohammed got behind Tunisia's David Jemmali down the right side and crossed low and hard for al-Qahtani to clip the ball past Boumnijel at the near post.

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Babes of the World Cup!!!

Brazil always brings in the biggest fans.

A Brazil fan in the stands at Berlin's Olympiastadion keeps the fans wondering whether they should be watching the game at all.
South Korean fans watch the public viewing of the World Cup in front of City Hall in Seoul, South Korea.
Supporters of the U.S. national team sit in the stands as they wait for the kickoff.
A Swiss soccer fan wears a funny hat and bikini top in the Swiss national colors.

Fans of the Mexican soccers team celebrate during the Group D match between Iran and Mexico at the 'Fan Mile,' a public viewing zone in Berlin on June 11.
An azzurri fan looking like a work of art.
Did she find that dress at Nordstrom's?
Japanese fans watch the public viewing of the FIFA World Cup at cafe in Tokyo, Japan.
A fan smiles prior to the beginning of the group B match of the soccer World Cup 2006 between England and Paraguay.

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