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World Cup (Read 4233 times)
solodka
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World Cup
Jun 27th, 2006 at 7:58pm
 
Ukraine Advances to Soccer Quarterfinals
By ERICA BULMAN


COLOGNE, Germany (AP) - The idea is to put the ball in the net, not just keep it out. Ukraine figured that out a lot quicker than Switzerland in the shootout Monday night. And the World Cup newcomers are headed to the quarterfinals because of it.

After 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyi didn't have to work very hard in the shootout, either. The Swiss misses came right at him, and another shot clanged off the crossbar.

The Swiss, who did not yield a goal in the entire tournament, stood stunned at their lack of marksmanship from the penalty spot in the first shootout of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev hit the net after Ukraine star Andriy Shevchenko's weak, low shot was stopped by Switzerland goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler.

The Ukrainians mobbed each other in a pile after the 3-0 shootout win, which put them in a match Friday against Italy at Hamburg.

Shevchenko said it was a ``great victory.''

``We suffered a lot and we're happy to have won for all Ukrainians,'' Shevchenko said. ``We do not have the greatest players, but we make up for that by making sacrifices for each other, by playing with a lot of heart.''

The Ukrainian capital of Kiev erupted in celebration Tuesday, with fans spilling out of bars shouting ``Ukrania!'' and drivers leaning on their horns in the early morning hours.

But Ukraine, like the Swiss, was considered an outsider at the World Cup, and if Ukraine can't find a semblance of offense in the quarterfinals, it's unlikely to stick around.

It was a tame game, particularly in comparison to the other quarterfinals. There was only one yellow card, the calmest match in a tournament that has set a record for yellows and for ejections.

Mexican referee Benito Archundia gave the yellow to Tranquillo Barnetta in the 59th minute for a push from behind.

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin chose to start the shootout with his top scorer, but Shevchenko's shot was poor.

Marco Streller's effort for Switzerland was worse - low and directly at Shovkovskyi.

And after Milevskiy scored, Barnetta hit the crossbar. Rebrov made it 2-0 and Ricardo Cabanas looked almost amateurish on his shot directly into the middle of the goal - and again, right at the Ukranian goalkeeper.

Then Gusev powered his winner into the left side of the net.

``We put in a good performance and I hope all of Switzerland is still behind us. Football is sometimes hard, but we gained a lot of experience for Euro 2008 in our own country,'' defender Ludovic Magnin said.

Each team came close to scoring in the first half, hitting the crossbar.

In the 21st minute, Shevchenko dived to head the ball from 8 yards. The ball bounced down to the ground and up onto the crossbar before being cleared.

Three minutes later, Switzerland's Alexander Frei shot from 20 yards and the ball bounced off the bar.

In the 34th, Switzerland's Johan Djourou, who started for injured defender Philippe Senderos, was himself taken off. Djourou was replaced by Stephane Grichting.

Shevchenko also got close in the 68th, chesting the ball, then dribbling to get through the Swiss defense before discharging a powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the area. It narrowly missed the right post.

In another close call, Swiss Ludovic Magnin sent a free kick onto the roof of the net in the 73rd minute.

``It's not that we play defensive football, we played how we've always played,'' Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn said. ``But it's also true we have high-quality young defenders, which is why we allowed no goals throughout the tournament. Of course, that doesn't help us now.''


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Re: World Cup
Reply #1 - Jun 27th, 2006 at 8:05pm
 
Italy Advances on Late Totti Penalty Kick

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (AP) - The Socceroos were tough on Italy. The referee was tougher on Australia. Another questionable call in this World Cup showed Italy the way to the quarterfinal Monday, giving the Italians a penalty kick that Francesco Totti converted for the 1-0 win as time expired.

Moments earlier, Italy's Fabio Grosso was dribbling a few strides from the goalmouth when Lucas Neill slid in front of him. The Italian cut in Neill's direction and tried to leap clear, but tripped over the defender's back. To the amazement of the Socceroos, Spanish referee Luis Medina immediately ruled it a penalty with 12 seconds remaining in extra time.

Totti, a second-half substitute, sent his penalty kick high and to the right of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who guessed correctly but couldn't stretch far enough to stop it. With no time left to restart, the Italians started celebrating. ``We suffered but we gave them no chances,'' said Italy coach Marcello Lippi, whose team plays Friday in the quarterfinals against Ukraine. ``This is an incredible joy.''

There was no joy for the Socceroos, whose howls of protest over the call gave way to head-shaking and resignment. ``I just can't believe it, mate,'' Australian forward Tim Cahill said. ``We play all our lives to be honest on the pitch and to work hard and I suppose these days you fall over on the pitch and get a penalty, free kick whatever. It's disappointing.

I'm furious. It's unbelievable. The luck we've had with refereeing decisions this World Cup. Everything's been against us.''

About the only people in the Fritz-Walter-Stadion who thought Grosso was fouled were the Italians - and Medina. With a match-fixing scandal rumbling along back home, only Italy could come up with this scenario - though there was no suggestion of any skullduggery here. Only more suggestions of a bad decision by the referee.

``It's cruel, very cruel,'' Australian striker Mark Viduka said. ``This was a game where we really dominated. We had the feeling that if the game went into extra time we were going to beat them.''

It was another match filled with yellow cards and one ejection - a growing trend at this World Cup. The red card against Marco Materazzi was the 24th in this tournament, already a record with 11 matches left.

The ejection gave the Australians a man advantage for the last 40 minutes of the game, but Australia couldn't capitalize. Not that Lippi seemed concerned for Italy.

``I never feared being eliminated,'' Lippi said. ``We still had the extra time, the penalties. We had had scoring chances, four or five, and even when we were down to ten players, we remained well organized. Italy has shown a great heart.''

It was the Australians who showed that a team ranked just 42nd in the world - in just its second World Cup, its first since 1974 - could compete with traditional soccer powers. In Germany, the Australians scored their first World Cup goals (five total), their first victory (3-1 over Japan) and riveted a nation that stayed up late and partied later when the Socceroos played.

Winger Harry Kewell, man of the match in the 2-2 draw with Croatia that earned Australia a place in the final 16, missed the game with what turned out to be gout in his foot. He supported himself with crutches as he watched from the bench.

Although the Australians pressured from the start, three-time champion Italy created the better chances with the tall Luca Toni coming close to scoring four times before the interval.

He headed narrowly wide from eight yards in the third minute from Alessandro Del Piero's left wing cross, forced Schwarzer to save his shot with his legs, had another shot blocked by defender Craig Moore and also sent another header past the post.

Strike partner Alberto Gilardino had a shot pushed over the bar by Schwarzer and Australia's Scott Chipperfield blocked a goalbound drive by Simone Perrotta.

At the other end, Mark Viduka's powerful header went straight at Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who also smothered a low drive from Chipperfield. Later, the Aussie defender lamented that referees always seem to favor the powerhouse teams. ``They look after the big nations,'' Chipperfield said. ``They want the big nations through to the semis and finals. It's always the way.'' He pointed to other refereeing controversies at the tournament. ``A lot of the games, everyone's talking about the referee, which shouldn't be the way. They should be talking about how good the game is. Not the refereeing. It's something that needs to be looked at.''

Australia coach Guus Hiddink said his players were sure there was no foul on the final play, and described Neill as despondent in the locker room, quietly sitting in one corner. ``You feel guilty if you cause a penalty,'' Hiddink said. ``But, in this case, it was so bitter and that makes it doubly sad for him not committing a foul.
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Re: World Cup
Reply #2 - Jun 27th, 2006 at 8:07pm
 
Looking forward to Friday's game between Italy and the Ukraine. Smiley  Anyone watching?  3pm
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Re: World Cup
Reply #3 - Jun 27th, 2006 at 10:35pm
 
my ex-husband is from brazil so of course we ALWAYS root for them to win the cup!

i think italy's goalie might be better than the ukraine goalie but of course i will be rooting for the ukraine!!!
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Re: World Cup
Reply #4 - Jun 27th, 2006 at 11:05pm
 
Since I'm Italian, I have to be on the Italian's side of course!
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Re: World Cup
Reply #5 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 2:31am
 
I'm part Italian, but I'm just not watching.   Lips Sealed
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Reply #6 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 2:40am
 
But who do you want to win? Wink
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Reply #7 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 6:16pm
 
 
DORTMUND, Germany (June 27) - On a team of famous one-namers, there is only one you need to know: Ronaldo.

He's not to be confused with Ronaldinho, Robinho, Ze Roberto or any other brilliant Brazilian "o." He may have lost a step or two, and no one will ever describe him as svelte. Ronaldinho has surpassed him on many levels.

When it comes to the World Cup, though, not even Pele, the trendsetter for soccer's single-name elite, is Ronaldo's equal.

"He is a player that records belong to him," Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Tuesday. "He is again on top of every player in the world. He's scored more goals than any player at the World Cup. His name is on top."

And it will take a very special player to knock him off.

Ronaldo scored his 15th goal in 18 World Cup matches in Brazil's 3-0 victory over Ghana on Tuesday, making him the tournament's all-time scoring leader. Pele, Diego Maradona, Lothar Matthaeus, Berti Vogts, Bebeto - none of them did what Ronaldo has done.

"It was never my goal" to break the record, he said. "It just happened match after match."

He may not be done yet, either. Ronaldo has three goals in the last two games. If Brazil wins a sixth title, and it's the favorite, Ronaldo will have three more games to add to his goal haul.

"I want to continue to increase the record," he said, "but without forgetting that the main goal in the World Cup is winning the title."

There are plenty who will argue that Pele is the best the game has ever seen. A three-time world champion, he played with a joy and grace that enchanted the world. People who never cared about soccer watched simply to see him, and he remains an icon to those who only know him from the stories.

He is still the youngest player to score at a World Cup, and finished with 12 goals in four World Cup appearances. He is Brazil's career scoring leader with 95 goals in 114 matches.

But when it comes to the biggest stage, Ronaldo has him beat. He has bumped Pele to fourth on the list of all-time goals, and he could equal Pele's three World Cup titles in the July 9 final in Berlin.

"Ronaldo is a special player," Parreira said. "He's a player for the big and good moments."

A player for the tough moments, too.

Already a two-time FIFA player of the year, Ronaldo missed four months in 1999 when he tore up his knee while with Inter Milan and needed surgery. His first match back was the 2000 Italian Cup final - and it almost ended his career. Six minutes after coming into the game, he twisted his knee and had to be carried, weeping, off the field on a stretcher.

He would miss almost 17 months, and his appearance at the 2002 World Cup was hardly a given. Even when he made the team, few expected him to be anything close to the old Ronaldo.

But there is something about the World Cup that brings out Ronaldo's best. He scored a tournament-best eight goals in seven games in 2002, helping Brazil to an unbeaten record and its fifth World Cup title, scoring both goals in the championship game. He was world player of the year for a third time.

His challenge this time around might have been even greater. At 29, he's no longer the quick, dazzling player he once was. Those extra kilos he's packed on over the years don't help. His personal life makes him the stuff of tabloid fodder.

He played sparingly - and quietly - for Real Madrid last season because of a series of injuries, and it was clear his aura was gone. Former French star Michel Platini said Ronaldo "has too many years" and was "carrying too many kilos." Even Pele knocked him.

When he showed up for training camp, he wasn't allowed to play with his friends because he was overweight and out of shape. Brazil's president touched off a spat that spanned the Atlantic Ocean when he asked if Ronaldo was fat.

And after uninspiring performances in Brazil's first two games, against Croatia and Australia, some even suggested he be dropped from the starting lineup. Pele would never have gotten dissed like that.

"Ronaldo is important for what he represents to the national team," Parreira said then. "He still deserves to be trusted."

As if to remind everyone why, Ronaldo scored twice in Brazil's final group game against Japan. On Tuesday, he scored one of the most dazzling goals of the World Cup.

In the fifth minute, he bolted past three defenders to get a perfect through pass from Kaka. Going one-on-one with Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson, Ronaldo gave the ball a tap and then used a stepover move that sent Kingson flailing to the ground. Looking as if he was going to fake right, Ronaldo danced his foot back over and around the ball as Kingson fell over.

As the ball settled into the net Ronaldo scr Ronaldo screamed for joy. Kaka and Adriano bear-hugged him, and the rest quickly piled on, turning him into a human mosh pit.

It was," teammate Roberto Carlos said, "perfect."

At the World Cup, there is still no one who does it better.
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Re: World Cup
Reply #8 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 6:28pm
 


...
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Re: World Cup
Reply #9 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 7:58pm
 
Don't care.  It's about as compelling to me as the intercollegiate women's shot put championship.

Or poker on tv.
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solodka
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Re: World Cup
Reply #10 - Jun 28th, 2006 at 9:51pm
 
Oh, see now, I am addicted to watching poker on tv!  I don't know what it is but I am drawn to watching it as I channel surf!
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Re: World Cup
Reply #11 - Jun 29th, 2006 at 3:48am
 
Do you also like to look outside to watch the grass grow?

Or, do you prefer to watch paint dry?
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Re: World Cup
Reply #12 - Jun 29th, 2006 at 10:22am
 
On the contrary, I find it "very interesting" watching healthy women throw balls around!  It just depends on whose they are! Wink
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Re: World Cup
Reply #13 - Jul 1st, 2006 at 9:45am
 
And Italy advances!!!!!!!!!!!! Smiley
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Re: World Cup
Reply #14 - Jul 1st, 2006 at 5:56pm
 
in more ways than one i suspect! Wink
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