Germany stroll into the last 8

Germany stroll into the last 8
Germany advanced to the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals after two early goals from Lukas Podolski secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden on Saturday, 24 June 2006.
Jurgen Klinsmann's team did not look back once Podolski had fired them in front in the fourth minute and after the same player doubled their lead eight minutes later, only the excellence of Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson denied Germany further goals.
Sweden lost defender Teddy Lucic to a second yellow card after 35 minutes and their faint hopes of a comeback all but evaporated when Henrik Larsson blazed a penalty over the crossbar eight minutes into the second half.
Germany can now look forward to a quarter-final tie in Berlin next Friday against the winners of the Argentina-Mexico game...

Easy win pleases Klinsmann

Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann hailed the performance of his side after the host nation cruised into the quarter-finals following a 2-0 victory over Sweden.
"It could not be better," said Klinsmann. "We went in highly concentrated but strangely enough the red card (for Sweden defender Teddy Lucic) took our rhythm away.
"The penalty could also have been a turning point but we are excited by the team and how they played.
"We were very prepared and we respected them, especially the attacking trio. We did not want to concede a goal. We did not want to give them any breathing space."
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback praised the performance of his side despite their elimination from the tournament.
He said: "It is difficult to beat anyone with 10 men, especially a team like Germany but my players showed a lot of character.
"I'm very proud of the way they played in the second half but we let in two easy goals at the beginning."


Germany: Lehmann, Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Frings, Ballack, Schneider, Podolski, Klose.

Subs used: Borowski 72 (for Schweinsteiger), Neuville 74 (for Podolski), Kehl 85 (for Frings). Bookings: Frings 27

Sweden: Isaksson, Alexandersson, Mellberg, Lucic, Edman, Ljungberg, Linderoth, Kallstrom, Jonson, Ibrahimovic, Larsson.

Subs used: Hansson 39 (for Kallstrom), Wilhelmsson 52 (for Jonson), Allback 72 (for Ibrahimovic).

Bookings: Lucic 28, Jonson 48, Allback 78

Sent-off: Lucic 35

Referee: Carlos Eugenio Simon (Brazil).

In conclusion:

Helped by a lightning start, the hosts produced a magnificent display of attacking football to brush past a disappointing Sweden team. After conceding those early goals to Podolski, the Scandinavians' cause was not helped by a first-half sending off and Larsson's missed penalty and the two-goal margin could have been greater.
Man of the Match: Miroslav KLOSE (GER):

Miroslav Klose showed that he is more than just a pure goalscorer on Saturday, as his outstanding creative work led to two goals for strike partner Lukas Podolski in Germany’s 2-0 win over Sweden in the Round of 16.
Klose’s five goals at Korea/Japan 2002 were second only to adidas Golden Shoe winner Ronaldo, and after leading the Bundesliga scoring charts last season and finishing the group stage of Germany 2006 as the tournament's leading scorer, the big centre-forward showed that he is more than a great target for high balls in the box, as his skill and vision were critical elements of the build-ups to both goals against Sweden.
With the match in only four minutes old, the Werder Breman man played a wonderful touch to split two defenders and burst into the box. Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson did well to come off his line and break up Klose’s attempt to shoot, but the ball spilled out perfectly for Podolski, who finished with the keeper still on the ground and the net exposed.
Klose needed just eight more minutes to create Germany’s second goal. This time he dribbled along the edge of the penalty area and drew a crowd of Swedish defenders before cleverly playing a reverse ball for Podolski, who found himself in acres of space to fire a shot past Isaksson.
"Klose did a great job and had the assists for the goals,” said FIFA Technical Study Group member Rodrigo Kenton. “He played well with Podolski and he was always positive in his efforts. He was offensively very important throughout the game."

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Group G Final Games

Group G Final Games
Friday night's all right for France in World cup: Every Frenchman remembers where they were on 11 June 2002 and the sick feeling they felt in the pit of their stomach. The FIFA World Cup™ holders had just limped out of the tournament in Korea/Japan, their second defeat in three games hammering them to the basement of their group. They did not even have a goal to show for 12 days in purgatory.
A similar scenario haunted them again today as the spectre of another first-round exit loomed. For 50-odd minutes they struggled to exert their authority over Togo who were motivated by the promise of their first FIFA World Cup points. A 2-0 win eventually saw France safely through but they had to work extremely hard for it.
In the Round of 16 they will face Spain in what promises to be a fascinating all-European confrontation. It was Switzerland who had the honour of winning Group H after easing to a
2-0 victory over Korea Republic which put them in the last 16 for the first time since 1994. That result, coupled with France's win, sends the 2002 semi-finalists home. The Swiss will now face Ukraine who beat Tunisia 1-0.
France had to win - something they had not managed in five FIFA World Cup games since that memorable summer's night in Paris at the climax of their own 1998 tournament when they put three goals into Brazil's net. And if the Koreans and the Swiss drew they would have to win by at least two.
The action, in both arenas, was fast and furious. There were three sets of players desperate to win to continue their stay in Germany and one more wanting their first visit to a FIFA World Cup to be remembered for a first victory and not three defeats.
France laboured in the first half to find a way through. Franck Ribery - in for the suspended Zinedine Zidane, whose retirement will now be postponed for a few more days - was a menace to Togo with his darting runs and close control. And a menace to his own team with his wayward finishing.
He skied one opening midway through the first half and when he did the same again – only worse – in the 53rd minute it was fair to ask if this was going to be another French nadir. Up high in the Alps before the tournament – down low in a pit of despair once the serious business began.


Alexander FREI (SUI), Budweiser Man of the Match

(On winning the award a second time) Well, the first thing I'm going to do is fill them up tonight and empty them in celebration. Kidding aside, it's a tremendous honour and achievement to have won these two Man of the Match awards, but it's not just me out there, it's the whole team playing together. I’m proud to be part of one of the best 16 teams in the world. The Swiss fans can be proud tonight as well. As a team we can show the world what ambition we have and what we can do. We’re not little Switzerland any more. There have been times when the Swiss national team hasn’t been that good. It’s very important that the national team leads the nation’s teams and we’re taking the first steps in doing that. We are proud of the way we got here, proud of the fact we are unbeaten and first in the group. The goal we had was to reach the Round of 16, from now on we need luck.

It’s a dream that we are allowed to get where we have and we’ll do anything to make sure it can go on. It was our goal to qualify. Ukraine will be dangerous, but we’re confident we can win and I just feel fantastic. I was happy for the victory, but we’re already thinking about the next game

LEE Chun-Soo (KOR)

We worked really hard to be successful. I thought we had a lot of chances and I think we wanted win too much maybe. I cried a lot after the game. I think we played very well, but in the future we have to be more prepared. I would like to play in Europe, I think it will make me a better player. I know the fans are disappointed, but the fans were excellent. We had a very short time to prepare, the coaches say the time was too short, next time we will be better prepared. We must improve, we showed we had a good team.

LEE Young-Pyo (KOR)

I’m very upset about the game and I think the second goal was very strange. We all stopped playing because we thought the linesman had flagged. We have to go and prepare for the 2010 World Cup.

TOGO-FRANCE: Coaches' Quotes


You have to remember we were playing against the former world champions. There are players with a lot of class in that side, like Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry. It was the immense talent of those players that made the difference.
We defended our goal well and even created two great chances, but it got tougher as time went on. In the second half, we kept going forward and I made an attacking substitution as well. We came here to win, but the French were highly motivated and, after a lot of criticism, had a few things to prove.
The French aren't at their best yet, but they were still able to raise their game a lot in the second half. Franck Ribery was very good and a real pain for us. You never know what will happen in the Round of 16, but little by little, their play is steadily improving.


We were able to create a lot of openings in the first half and Kossi Agassa was kept very busy. We were just a little bit more successful after the break, because we played to a consistent level from start to finish. At half-time, we told ourselves one thing: push forward, keep pushing and push even more. We couldn't afford to relax.
We knew it wouldn't be easy and they made it hard for us, as they did for the Swiss and the Koreans. It must have been hard for them following their elimination, so we decided to get right in amongst them.
No one stood out in particular. I have a list of 23 players who need to feel involved in every match. Everyone has to be at their best. For now, we'll savour this win, but it'll soon be time to think about our next game. I'm happy for the players. They never gave up and fought hard in adversity. We had to get past this obstacle, and now we've done that we can afford to breathe a little. That doesn't mean the pressure has gone away though. Every single World Cup game brings its own pressure.
We played without Zinedine Zidane, we won and that's all. You can go back and reflect on what might have been, but what's the point? We had to win 2-0 with the players that were available and we did that. I don't like talking about individuals but I'll make an exception: I've always said Patrick Vieira would be one of the stars of this World Cup and he confirmed that tonight.

TOGO-FRANCE: Players' Quotes

Patrick VIEIRA (FRA), Budweiser Man of the Match

There will be no celebrations because we need to focus on the next game. We won an important game and I’m happy but the team will first rest and we’ll think about Spain tomorrow. It’s a great evening for France. I’m satisfied with the way I played especially as it’s my birthday but the team performance is more important and we’re getting better match by match. We kept calm and stayed focused today - it’s been a long time since France scored two goals. I hope we’ve liberated ourselves now. We have huge potential though we still have a lot of work to do. I’m confident we can now beat Spain.There is an excellent atmosphere in the camp but what we do on the pitch is all that counts. It made no difference playing without (Zinedine) Zidane. Of course he is important but we won deservedly tonight and that is what counts.

Thierry HENRY (FRA)

We tried everything to get ahead before half-time. We created good chances but didn’t drop our heads when they didn’t go in. Vieira was huge. It’s been a long time since France have played as well as this. We took risks, played down the wings but the Togo goalkeeper played a blinder and I despaired that the ball would never go in. We didn’t want to know the score in the Switzerland-Korea game. I think it will be an exciting match against Spain as they won’t just defend.

Moustapha SALIFOU (TOG)

There was chaos in the camp at times and maybe we could have done better without these problems, but it was a special match tonight. Togo was a French colony. We played like brothers, so the atmosphere was a bit different.


We didn’t get overrun though we had few chances tonight. We played well but it just wasn’t enough. Looking back on the tournament, we learned a lot of things.

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Group H Final Games

Group H Final Games

Saudi Arabia 0 : 1 Spain: Spain fielded a team of reserves Friday and still beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 to top Group H at the World Cup...

Ukraine 1 : 0 Tunisia : Ukraine made history at its first World Cup...

Saudi Arabia -Spain Match Report

Coach Luis Aragones told his fringe players to try and earn a spot on the team for the second round and several impressed.
Central defender Juanito Gutierrez headed in Spain's goal from a free-kick by Jose Antonio Reyes in the 36th minute.
Spain won the with a maximum nine points and extended its unbeaten streak under Aragones to 25 matches. It will play its second round game in Hanover on Tuesday against the runner-up from Group G, which contains 1998 champion France and 2002 semifinalist South Korea.
Saudi Arabia exited its fourth consecutive World Cup with only one point from its opening draw with Tunisia.
With Spain already through to the knockout stage after wins against Ukraine and Tunisia, Aragones decided to rest his regular starters against the Saudis and give his backup players a chance. Seven had never played a World Cup match before.

Spain got its goal when Reyes sent a curling free kick from the left and Juanito, outsmarting his marker, connected with a perfectly timed header past goalkeeper Mabrouk Zayed. It was the Real Betis defender's second goal for Spain.
Zayed stopped Spain from taking a bigger lead before halftime, saving a barrage of shots from Reyes, David Albelda, and Joaquin Sanchez.

Spain's all-time leading scorer Raul Gonzalez had a fairly uneventful first half and was replaced by Valencia striker David Villa after the break.
The "Red Fury" nearly found their second goal when Villa, inside the penalty box, dropped the ball back to fullback Antonio Lopez, who angled a dangerous shot to the far post. Zayed tipped the ball to corner.
But Saudi Arabia came out with more ambition in the second half and broke Spain's dominance.

Spanish keeper Santiago Canizares, filling in for Iker Casillas, was tested for the first time 12 minutes into the second half when he saved Hussein Abdul-Ghani's outside shot.
Striker Saad al-Harthi had Saudi Arabia's best chance to equalize when he was set up in the penalty box in the 89th by Mohammed Noor, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Spain's top scorer in the tournament, Fernando Torres came on with 25 minutes to go, and managed a few dangerous runs but couldn't get past Zayed.
Spain crushed Ukraine 4-0 in its opener and then rallied to beat Tunisia 3-1.
Winning the group boosted Spain's hopes of shaking off its tag as an international underachiever. Despite being a powerhouse at the club level, Spain has never gotten past a World Cup quarterfinal since finishing fourth in 1950.
Saudi Arabia looked strong in its 2-2 opener against Tunisia, but then slumped 4-0 against Ukraine.
Ukraine - Tunisia Match Report

Andriy Shevchenko scored on a penalty kick in the 70th minute to lead the Eastern Europeans to a 1-0 victory over Tunisia on Friday, making Ukraine the first former-Soviet republic to advance past the tournament's group stage.
Ukraine needed only a draw to advance, barring a freakishly large victory by Saudi Arabia over Spain in the other Group H match. Tunisia needed to win to reach the second round, but had its hopes dented when its only fit striker, Ziad Jaziri, was sent off in the last minute of a scoreless first half with his second yellow card.
Shevchenko scored his second goal of the tournament after going down on light contact as he ran between Tunisia goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel and defender Karim Hagui. He had called for and received a long ball then sprinted toward the goal.
Ukraine joins Ghana as the only two of six newcomers in Germany to reach the second round. The Ukrainians will play their second-round match on Monday in Cologne against the Group G winner, which will be decided later Friday.

Ukraine, which bounced back with two wins after losing its opener 4-0 to Spain, became just the third team since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1998 to make it to the second round after losing its first game. Ghana also did it this year and Turkey went all the way to the semifinals after losing its opener in 2002.
Tunisia's best scoring chance came in the 19th minute, when Hamed Namouchi curled a shot in but Ukraine goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy caught it comfortably under his crossbar.
Jaziri received his second yellow of the match for a sliding tackle on Tymoschuk in injury time. Blokhin and several Ukraine players clapped when referee Carlos Amarilla pulled out the yellow card. And as the match went into halftime, Tunisian officials went onto the field to usher their furious players away from Amarilla and his assistants.

Ukraine kept control, especially in the second half, but was not as convincing as it was in its 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Ukraine, which gained its independence in 1991, was the second former-Soviet republic to qualify for the tournament. Russia was knocked out in the group stage in 1994 and 2002.
Ukraine had already proved it was a threat to challenge for the title when it became the first European team to qualify for the final tournament, losing only once in the preliminaries.
Ukraine is home to 1999 Champions League semifinalist Dynamo Kiev, but the country has been slow to make its mark internationally. Many of the key players in the Soviet national team hailed from Ukraine, but with the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, they chose to play for Russia.
Since its independence, Ukraine had its hopes of entering the World Cup dashed twice at the last stage.

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Group F Final Games

Group F Final Games
Japan 1 : 4 Brazil : A truly professional performance in world cup.Ronaldo found his goal-scoring touch to finally give Brazil the kind of convincing victory many expected to be routine in this World Cup...
Croatia 2 : 2 Australia : It took the Socceroos 32 years to get back to the World Cup. No wonder they wanted to prolong their stay...

Japan -Brazil Match Report

First of all, we have to acknowledge the effort of the Japanese team. They fought hard and played to the top of their ability for large portions of the match. In the end the Brazilians proved a little too powerful, but the Japanese team played with good attacking ability and strength throughout and showed great technical ability.
Early on, the Japanese had the better of the play, but Brazil began to uncoil their springs and press and press and by the time the second half rolled around they had worn the Japanese team out and taken control of the game.
Even though the Asians played a good game, the Brazilians played a superb game and gave a superlative performance. They were a wonderful combination of collective and individual ability and a true celebration of modern football at its best.
One of the things that impressed me most about Brazil’s performance was the fact that at the end of the game, when the score was 4-1 and the result settled, they played with the same discipline in defence as they did when the score was 0-0. This is a truly professional performance we have seen tonight.
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Ronaldo scored twice to tie the all-time record with 14 career World Cup goals and Brazil clinched Group F with a 4-1 victory that eliminated Japan from the tournament Thursday night.
With its second-round berth already secured, Brazil fielded five reserve players and got goals from two of them, Juninho and Gilberto. But it was Ronaldo who was the star in Brazil's record 10th straight World Cup win.
Ronaldo faced questions about his fitness and form after struggling in the first two games but once again showed off the talent that has made him one of the game's great players.
He tied the game at 1 with a header a minute into first-half injury time. He was set up by Real Madrid teammate Cicinho, who sent him the ball with a header across the area. Ronaldo scored his second goal in the 81st, with a right-footer from 20 yards after a set up by defender Juan.
The first goal moved him past Pele as Brazil's all-time scoring leader in the competition and the second tied the record held by Gerd Mueller of Germany.
Brazil will play Ghana in the second round on Tuesday back in Dortmund.

Japan is headed back home after finishing last in the group with one point, failing to repeat its second-round appearance from when it co-hosted the 2002 tournament. The Japanese, coached by former Brazilian all-star Zico, needed to defeat the five-time champions to have any chance to advance.

Zico changed both his starting strikers to try to boost the attack, and it seemed to work when the Japanese surprisingly took the lead despite being outplayed by Brazil.
Keiji Tamada, one of the new forwards, put Japan ahead in the 34th minute with a powerful left-footer from inside the area, completing a through pass by Alessandro Santos. Tamada received the ball unmarked, then quickly fired into the left-upper corner of the net.
After Ronaldo tied it at the end of the half, Brazil took the game over in the second half. Juninho, replacing regular starter Ze Roberto, scored in the 53rd minute with a shot from about 25 yards that appeared to change directions at the last minute and fool Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.
Gilberto, replacing Roberto Carlos, got Brazil's third goal in the 59th after a neat through pass from Ronaldinho. Gilberto entered the area unmarked and sent a low left-footer past Kawaguchi.
The goal by Japan ended Brazil's string of four straight World Cup shutouts since beating England 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2002 tournament. Brazil could have equaled Italy's record of five straight shutouts in the 1990 World Cup.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's changes to the lineup - leaving out veteran wingers Cafu and Roberto Carlos, midfielders Emerson and Ze Roberto and striker Adriano - worked from the beginning.

Cicinho, Gilberto, Gilberto Silva, Juninho and Robinho all played well and contributed to Brazil's victory.
Robinho, who had substituted for Ronaldo in the first two matches, added speed to Brazil's attack from the start, creating several scoring opportunities and setting up his teammates in several occasions.
Despite the goal allowed, Brazil controlled possession and dominated most of the match, only failing to get more goals because of saves by Kawaguchi.
Brazil had struggled in its first victories over Croatia and Australia. The defending champions, who entered the tournament heavily favored to win a record sixth title, performed well below expectations, being heavily challenged and failing to impress.

Croatia - Australia Match Report

Australia made history by twice coming from behind against Croatia to earn the point they needed to claim a place in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup™.
The Socceroos lost all three games in their one previous appearance on the world stage in 1974 but a 2-2 draw with Croatia in Stuttgart was enough to secure second place in Group F and a second-round tie against Italy in Kaiserslautern on 26 June. Australia finished with four points from three matches, two clear of third-placed Croatia.
On a nervy night, Croatia opened the scoring through Darijo Srna’s second-minute free-kick. Craig Moore drew Australia level from the penalty spot on 38 minutes but the balance swung back Croatia’s way when Niko Kovac’s shot was fumbled by Zeljko Zalac in the 56th minute. However, Harry Kewell struck the decisive second Australian goal 11 minutes from time.

Harry Kewell scored from close range to give Australia a 2-2 draw with Croatia and send the Aussies into the second round alongside defending champion Brazil from Group F.
Croatia took the lead in the second minute on a dipping free kick by Dario Srna. Craig Moore equalized for Australia with a penalty kick in the 39th minute after Stjepan Tomas handled the ball in the box.
Croatia went up again in the 79th minute on a goalkeeping blunder by Zeljko Kalac, who started for regular goalie Mark Schwarzer. Croatia captain Niko Kovac shot from about 20 yards and the ball rolled over Kalac's hands.
But Kewell put home a short shot off a scramble in the area, and Australia was headed for a matchup with Italy in Kaiserslautern on Monday.
Instead of galvanizing the Croatians, Srna's goal awoke the Australians and prompted a series of attacks. The pressure was rewarded with the penalty kick, and Moore sent the goalkeeper one way, the ball the other.
The match was billed as a clash of loyalties. Seven players of Croatian descent play for Australia, while three of Croatia's grew up Down Under.
Dario Simic got sent off for Croatia and Brett Emerton also received a red card for Australia in the second half.
In conclusion:

Stuttgart played host to a night of unforgettable drama, where both sides could have progressed to the second round at different stages, but at the end it was Australia who were celebrating and heading to Kaiserslautern to face Italy on Monday.

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Group E Final Games

Group E Final Games:
Italy 2 : 0 Czech :Italy wins, likely avoids date with Brazil in next Round of Worldcup.Italy took care of its own business this time and knocked the Czech Republic out of the World Cup...
Ghana 2: 1 U.S : Ghana eliminates U.S. from World Cup.There was no glory for the United States at this year's World Cup, only frustration and failure...

Italy,Czech Match report:

Substitute Marco Materazzi headed in a corner kick in the 26th minute to help Italy win Group E with a 2-0 victory over the Czechs on Thursday and likely avoid a second-round matchup with Brazil.
Materazzi scored his first goal in 29 appearances with the national team and Filippo Inzaghi added a score on a breakaway in the 87th minute for Italy, which won the group with seven points.
"We played some good games and then also with the Czech Republic, which is also a good team that did not want to go home," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.

The Czechs, ranked second in the world, were eliminated from the tournament, finishing with only the three points they earned in its opening 3-0 win over the United States. Ghana finished second with six points.
The Czechs fell behind early when the 6-foot-5 Materazzi outleaped Jan Polak and Radoslav Kovac to head in a corner kick by Francesco Totti less than 10 minutes after replacing an injured Alessandro Nesta.
They were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Jan Polak picked up his second yellow card in first-half injury time and were unable to penetrate Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who made several strong saves.
At the European Championship two years ago, Italy was eliminated despite winning its final group game after Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2.

Italy will face the second-place team from Group F on Monday in Kaiserslautern. Brazil leads the group with six points and can clinch first place with a draw Thursday night against Japan.
The Czechs pressed early on and Milan Baros, returning from a left foot injury, nearly connected on an excellent crossfield setup from Pavel Nedved in the ninth minute.
Buffon had to lunge to his left to stop an 18-yard shot by Nedved in the 12th. A few minutes later, Nedved intercepted a pass and sent the ball upfield to Baros, who earned a corner kick after a physical battle with Nesta, who rarely loses such duels.
Nedved sent another shot on goal from just outside the area in the 16th minute that Buffon stopped but couldn't quite gather, and the goalkeeper also had to block an attempt on the rebound from AC Milan's Marek Jankulovski.
Gennaro Gattuso's long header landed on top of the net for Italy's first shot in the 25th minute and Italy took the lead with its first shot on goal a minute later.
Polak received his first yellow for a foul on Mauro Camoranesi in the 35th minute, then fouled Totti from behind for his second card.
Italy took the initiative at the start of the second half, with two shots early by Totti. Nedved then got the ball on the counterattack and put a powerful shot on goal that Buffon punched away.
In the 56th minute, Italy showed off its skill on a free kick. Totti lofted the ball to Andrea Pirlo, who volleyed it to Fabio Cannavaro, who shot high.
Inzaghi got his first playing time of this World Cup when he replaced Alberto Gilardino in the 60th.
Buffon had to punch away another long attempt by Nedved in the 70th.

Ghana,USA Match report:
The Americans were eliminated in the first round, losing to Ghana 2-1 Thursday in a game they had to win to advance to the tournament's knockout phase.
With thousands of red, white and blue-clad fans cheering them on in Franken-Stadion, the Americans fell flat against a Black Stars team that was stronger and faster. Surprising Ghana advanced along with Italy from Group E.
It was a bitter ending for the United States, which carried high hopes - and a No. 5 world ranking from FIFA - onto soccer's biggest stage. Four years ago, the Americans made the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Haminu Draman put the Africans ahead in the 22nd minute, breaking in alone on goalkeeper Kasey Keller after colliding with Claudio Reyna, who crumpled to the ground in pain.

The United States, which has never won a World Cup game in which it trailed, tied it when Clint Dempsey scored in the 43rd minute with a smashing 10-yard shot off a perfect feed from DaMarcus Beasley. But Ghana captain Stephen Appiah converted a penalty kick in the second minute of first-half injury time after American defender Oguchi Onyewu was called for a foul in the penalty area.
The Black Stars outfouled the Americans 32-16.
Eddie Johnson entered in the 61st minute as the United States pressed, and Brian McBride nearly tied it again in the 66th, but his diving header inside the 6-yard box clanked off the near post. A minute later, Onyewu sent a header off Landon Donovan's corner kick just over the crossbar.
In order to advance, the Americans needed a victory and some help. They got the needed assistance when Italy defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 in a game played simultaneous in Hamburg. But the United States (0-2-1) didn't come through and finished the tournament with one point - its first in a World Cup played in Europe, but not enough to escape the basement in Group E.
Italy (2-0-1) won the group with seven points and Ghana (2-1), making its first World Cup appearance, advanced with six points.
Four years ago, the Americans became heroes with their best showing since 1930. But this time, in what probably marked the final World Cup appearances of Reyna, McBride and perhaps Keller, they reverted to their form of 1998 in France, when they finished last overall.

U.S. fans outnumbered the Ghanaians dressed in red, yellow and green, both in the cobblestone streets of Nuremberg's old town before the game and in the historic ballpark where Hitler Youth marched seven decades ago.
With Eddie Pope and Pablo Mastroeni suspended, the Americans used Jimmy Conrad to replace Pope at central defender and Reyna shifted back to Mastroeni's defensive midfield role. Beasley joined Donovan in the center of the midfield and Eddie Lewis, who started the opener at left back, took over in left midfield - his more familiar position - from Bobby Convey.
Draman scored after Dempsey played a back pass to Reyna, and the U.S. captain collided with the Ghanaian left knee to left knee. As Reyna fell, Draman took possession and rushed in one-on-one against Keller, putting the ball onto his right foot and sending it into the corner of the net beyond the diving goalkeeper from 10 yards.
Reyna was taken off the field on a stretcher, grimacing, but returned in the 26th minute, just about the time Italy went ahead of the Czechs. Still looking pained, he was replaced by Ben Olsen in the 40th minute and went to the bench, where the knee was wrapped.
Donovan, who failed to score after getting two World Cup goals as a 20 year old in 2002, had a great chance to tie it in the 35th. He had an open shot after Brian McBride dropped a header for him, but got under the ball and his volley attempt went way high - with U.S. coach Bruce Arena looking disgusted in front of the bench.
Dempsey then tied it.
Beasley, along the left flank just past midfield, battled Derek Boateng and John Pantsil and stole the ball. After a short run, Beasley sent a pinpoint left-footed cross in front of the goal. Racing ahead of Habib Mohamed, Dempsey one-timed the ball with his right foot from about 12 yards.
It was the first goal by a U.S. player in the World Cup in 338 minutes. Dempsey did his rap dance as Americans celebrated.
But moments later, the Americans fell behind again. For good.
Onyewu pushed down Razak Pimpong in the penalty area battling for a header, and Germany's Markus Merk - one of the world's top-rated officials - immediately pointed to the penalty spot as Arena buried his face in his hands. Keller dived left, but Appiah put the ball high to the goalkeeper's right.
Arena kept on talking in the referee's direction until an assistant coach pulled him away.

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Group C Final Games

Group C Final Games
Argentina secured first place in Group C and a Round of 16 meeting with Mexico after a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands in Frankfurt on Wednesday, 21 June 2006.
The stalemate between two sides already assured of qualification left them tied on seven points at the top of the group, with Argentina finishing first virtue of their better goal difference. While Jose Pekerman's team move on to face Mexico in Leipzig on Saturday, the Dutch will play Portugal in Nuremberg 24 hours later.

Players' Quotes
Carlos TEVEZ (ARG), Budweiser Man of the Match:
We’re happy with the result although it would have been nicer to take the three points. We were the better side, but we couldn’t quite take our chances. I felt comfortable out there but you could see we lacked a little co-ordination with (Lionel) Messi and (Juan) Riquelme. They left the odd gap in defence, but we couldn't make the most of it. Even so, it's great to finish top of such a difficult group.
We've just played a team capable of winning the World Cup, so we can be perfectly satisfied with the result. Both teams were already through to the second round, so the pattern of the match was hardly a surprise. We have two scores to settle with our next opponents Portugal, one from EURO 2004 and one from 2002 World Cup qualifying.


We were solid and secure, and played a great game against an excellent team. I thought we created clearer chances than they did and deserved to win. It was a useful night for us in terms of our next game. We know where we have to improve, but we’re in a relaxed frame of mind ahead of the big match against Mexico. They will be really difficult, but you expect that in the knockout stages.


We're running into form. We didn't create many chances today, but we played well as a team. It was a good result in that respect. Portugal beat us two years ago, but the next game is something completely different. This is a new, young team, and we have new ideas. We'll do what needs to be done to win. We're feeling great, because we've taken seven points from this extremely difficult group. We've had tough opponents already, and we know we only have tough opponents ahead. So we know we have to improve if we're to go a long way.

Lionel MESSI (ARG):

It was a difficult game. There wasn’t much space and you have to remember that Holland have a lot of skilful players. Next up are Mexico, who are a strong team and play good football. There are no easy opponents at this stage of the tournament, though. As for me, well I feel fit enough to get through 90 minutes, but I was tired at the end because I haven’t played for a while. Now is when the real World Cup begins.

Phillip COCU (NED):

A goalless draw against opponents of this quality is a good result. We were much better than we were against Côte d'Ivoire, when they bossed us for long spells. The new players all made a good start. They'll be confident now.

In conclusion:

The Netherlands have not lost in normal time to Argentina in four meetings in the FIFA World Cup™, but it is the South Americans who finish the group stage marginally happier having secured first place. The unbeaten records of both should ensure they look ahead to the Round of 16 with confidence.


Coaches' Quotes


I’m satisfied that we finally won our first match after all our efforts. Once again we were up against the same problems tonight as we had in previous matches, except that instead of conceding two goals within 20 minutes, this time it was within ten minutes. That makes things very complicated. Despite that, we tried to rebuild.
There is a weakness in this team. We need a lot of opportunities to get one or two goals and at this level that’s not good enough. If Côte d’Ivoire want to rise to the highest level, they will have to iron out these problems. I think they have a lot of potential, but that’s nothing new. Unfortunately, some our players were not in the best shape at this World Cup.
They have a good future ahead of them but they have to work hard and not listen to people who would have them believe that they are the best team in the world. They need to go back to work quickly to qualify for the next World Cup in 2010. If the team go on working hard, they can be there.
My contract stops tonight and my future destination is Qatar. I will be going to a club and that will be another interesting challenge. I haven't received a real proposal yet but we will see. This was the first time Côte d’Ivoire have played against major football nations and not only teams from Africa and that is precious experience for the team. I am proud and satisfied of my work, despite all the criticism I have had to stomach.


As national coach, I regret what happened to Mladen Krstajic. It was difficult for me to see one of my players sustain such an injury. It was quite a shock to us so early in the game. We think he has broken his left arm and he will require surgery.
Hopefully we will come back and leave a better impression than we have here. I will need more time to take stock. At this World Cup there has been considerable progress by all teams. Football keeps getting better and it will continue to improve until the last match. Everyone has a final match to play, big or small, but we played a small one. We need to reflect and prepare for the future. Everyone will remember this World Cup and so will we.
Côte d’Ivoire were outstanding, but they were also unfortunate because they could have finished second in this group. I'm very proud of my team for the way they qualified for this World Cup and also proud that they scored two goals. I'm pleased we have improved on the bad impression we left in the first two matches. We will come back and find new talent.

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Group D Final Games

Iran 1 : 1 Angola,Angola's first World Cup goal wasn't nearly enough to send the Black Antelopes into the second round of the tournament...
Portugal 2 : 1 Mexico,Portugal fielded its ''B" team and still won...
Iran-Angola Match Report:
Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scored the tying goal in the 75th minute Wednesday to give Iran a 1-1 draw and end Angola's hopes of advancing at its first World Cup ever.
Needing a win, a Mexico loss to Portugal and help on goal differential to move on, the Angolans couldn't deliver the one part they controlled. They finished in third place in Group D with two points, one ahead of Iran.
Substitute Flavio gave Angola its first goal of the tournament when he broke free from Kaabi Hossein in the penalty box to head a cross from Ze Kalanga over goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour and into the net.
Angola lost 1-0 to Portugal in its opener before playing Mexico to a 0-0 draw.
Iran tied it 15 minutes later when Bakhtiarizadeh jumped over Love and headed a corner kick from Mehdi Mahdavikia just inside the post with no defenders guarding the area. Goalkeeper Joao Ricardo yelled at his defenders after the score in apparent frustration.

With Mexico losing 2-1 to Portugal, Angola would have needed three goals in the closing minutes to advance. But the Black Antelopes showed little urgency, apparently satisfied with their second draw of the tournament.
"When we arrived with the team, the first idea that we would suffer many goals didn't happen," Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves said. "With two draws ... the people of Angola can be very, very proud."
It was an outcome that neither side had wished for.
The Iranians, who generated security headaches for the hosts because of protests against the government in Tehran, had already been eliminated after losing their two matches in the group. But they remained hopeful they could return home "honorably" by beating Angola.
"Today we tried to say goodbye to the World Cup with a win," Iran coach Branko Ivankovic said. "But this is soccer, and it is not possible always to score. We dominated during 90 minutes and we deserved to win."
After a scrappy beginning, Iran generally dominated the first half, mounting a series of ineffective attacks which tested Angola's solid defense.
Still, the Black Antelopes had the first real opportunity in the 12th minute with Mateus shooting over the crossbar from inside the penalty area.
Iran replied two minutes later when Ricardo smothered a low shot from Kaiserslautern's Ferydoon Zandi. Ricardo stopped a free kick by Ali Daei in the 24th from the edge of the area, whose return header from close in went over the bar.
Iran's best chance came in the 27th minute, when defender Mendonca stopped Zandi's header in the goalmouth.
Goncalves made only one change in the team that had displayed a strong and disciplined defense in its two previous Group D matches but had scored no goals. Still, the Africans played much more openly than in the first two games and mounted repeated forays toward Mirzapour's goal.
Ivankovic dropped the team's biggest star, Bayern Munich playmaker Ali Karimi, from the squad because of his poor form and erratic behavior. He was replaced by the 37-year old Daei, who had likely played his last match for the national team.
Ivankovic had hoped for a "home advantage" at the match, counting on the 200,000 Iranian residents in Germany to turn out in force. But Iran's fans appeared to be outnumbered by Angola's supporters waving their red-and-black banners.

Portugal - Mexico Match Report:

Mexico also won, in a way. Its 2-1 loss to the Portuguese didn't hurt when Angola couldn't beat Iran on Wednesday, allowing the Mexicans to advance to the second round of the World Cup.
Portugal won all three first-round games in Group D. It got goals by Maniche and Simao Sabrosa in the first 25 minutes, and Mexico's Omar Bravo missed a chance to tie on a second-half penalty kick that soared over the net.
Kikin headed in a corner kick to put Mexico back in the game before halftime.
But Bravo's goof and a second yellow card for Luis Perez with 30 minutes to play stymied the Mexicans.
Portugal will play the second-place team from Group C, either the Netherlands or Argentina. Mexico gets the Group C winner; the Dutch and Argentines met Wednesday night.
Having already qualified for the knockout round, Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari spared five key players for this match. The absences included playmaker Deco, winger Cristiano Ronaldo, and all-time top scorer Pauleta.
Even so, the Portuguese extended their unbeaten run to 17 international games, during which they have allowed just six goals.
"Things couldn't be better," Scolari said. "This was as tough a game as we had expected, but I asked my players today to make it hard for me to pick my team for the next round, and they did that."
Mexico had lost just two of its last 12 games against European opposition in World Cup matches. It couldn't handle Portugal's water-down lineup, though.
"There are three games to go till the final, and they're the hardest," Scolari said. "We just have to keep working hard each day."
Ricardo Lavolpe's team, which needed just a draw to advance to the second phase, started out cautiously with six defenders. Even so, Mexico was full of spirit.
"We started very well," Lavolpe said. "We had control for long periods, but when you have the ball you have to score, and we even missed a penalty."
Kikin slalomed past three defenders to get into the Portuguese area before shooting straight at the goalkeeper in early action.

But Portugal replied with a clinical attack as Simao charged down the wing and pulled the ball back for Maniche to beat keeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
When Mexico captain Rafael Marquez used his hand to prevent Fernando Meira heading a shot toward goal, Sabrosa hit his spot kick just beyond the goalie's reach.
Scolari spent most of the match standing on the touchline shouting instructions to his makeshift team. Two players, defender Marco Caneira and striker Helder Postiga, were playing in their first World Cup.
Bravo, alone at the back post, fired a shot from close range that ricocheted off the goalie and then bounced against the crossbar. And just before halftime, Pavel Pardo forced a spectacular save from Ricardo Pereira with a thundering shot from outside the area.
Antonio Naelson (also known as Zinha) who assisted once and scored another in Mexico's win over Iran, came on at halftime as Mexico upped the pressure. He made an immediate difference with his slick dribbling and neat passes, and the lineup change paid off when Mexico was awarded the penalty kick.
A kick that didn't come close, but in the end was not damaging for Mexico.

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Group B Final Game

A result that sends both teams through to the Round of 16 from Group B in FIFA World Cup.
I feel fine from the injury. There were no problems and I was able to keep with the pace of the game. We had a good first half but didn't play so well after half-time. I’m not disappointed I didn't score and I wasn't angry when I was taken off – it's just that I wanted to play. A draw was enough to win the group so we have to be happy. Losing Michael is a blow, of course, as he is an important player who scores goals. I think we can beat Ecuador.

England and Sweden drew 2-2 in Cologne on Tuesday, 20 June 2006 - a result that sends both teams through to the Round of 16 from Group B.
England's prize for topping the section is to play Ecuador in Stuttgart on 25 June, while Sweden must take on hosts Germany in Munich 24 hours earlier. Sven-Goran Eriksson's team had already secured qualification before this match and they were only denied a third successive win by a 90th-minute Henrik Larsson goal.
England had gone in front on 34 minutes through a spectacular strike from Joe Cole. Marcus Allback headed the Swedes level at 1-1 six minutes into the second half but substitute Steven Gerrard restored England's advantage when he headed in their second on 81 minutes.

England have still not beaten Sweden since 1968 but, as group winners, they will be happier to be facing Ecuador and not Germany in the Round of 16. Sweden's performance in the second half here, however, should give them confidence ahead of their meeting with the hosts.


I'm happy about the result and the comeback. It's a good sign and will increase our morale. The last minutes of a game are very important for self-confidence. We scored from aerial positions which is normally England's strong point. I scored a goal today because I was wearing my golden boots. I don't want to think too much about the Germany game just yet. It's important to just enjoy our result. We have a good team and a good captain so I don't fear any opponent – not even the hosts.


At half-time, Lars Lagerback said we should control the ball more so that's what we tried to do and it worked pretty well. Today, we scored with just a few chances while in the other games we had plenty and only scored once, so we're improving our strike-rate. With a bit more luck, we could easily have won the game. I think Germany will be a tough opponent - (Jens) Lehmann is an exceptionally good keeper. The Germans are a tall, strong side but to be honest I haven't checked out many of their games so far. It will be a special match and a bit sad that we have to play them so early in the tournament.

Joe COLE (ENG), Budweiser Man of the Match

Michael Owen's injury is a big blow for us as a team. He's had a difficult 12 months and now it looks like he has another battle on his hands. But I've no doubt he’ll be back scoring goals for England sooner rather than later.
We played very well in the first half and we should have killed the game. Sweden played better after half-time but still didn't create any chances from open play. For my goal, the ball just sat up nicely – it was early on in the game and I thought I'd test the keeper. It was a great start for us.
Ecuador will be a tough game, they've produced two terrific performances in the group stage. Either Germany or Ecuador would have been a tough game. Now the real business starts and we can't afford any more mistakes from set-pieces. John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher are all brilliant in those situations – I'm sure it will be the last goal we concede from a set-piece.

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