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World Cup 2006

2006 WORLD CUP




































July 15, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
It was a World Cup to forget

The World Cup was supposed to be soccer's great showpiece? You've got to be kidding me.


July 12, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Mikey Awards honor the dubious and unusual, and even some of the best of the World Cup

After a month of end-to-end games and even some non-stop soccer action once in awhile, here's a special edition of the Mikey Awards, which honors the dubious, unusual and the good, bad and ugly of a rather unremarkable World Cup:


July 9, 2006
CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS
Italy's 3 other World Cup titles



July 9, 2006
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Zidane has seen red before

French captain Zinedine Zidane has been there before, getting red-carded at the most inopportune times in an otherwise star-studded career.


July 9, 2006
NO FAIRY TALE ENDING FOR ZIDANE, FRANCE
Italy wins World Cup in pks

Italy outlasted France in penalty kicks to win its fourth World Cup title Sunday night. The Italians captured the penalty-kick shootout, 5-3, after playing to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes of regulation and extra time in front of a sellout crowd of 69,000 at Olympic Stadium.


July 9, 2006
FORZA ITALIA
Italy outlasts France, captures 4th World Cup

Italy outlasted France in penalty kicks to win its fourth World Cup title Sunday night. The Italians captured the penalty-kick shootout, 5-3, after playing to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes of regulation and extra time in front of a sellout crowd of 69,000 at Olympic Stadium.


July 9, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- SUNDAY
Going full circle and making it an even 100

As this writer reaches a milestone, he looks back on how his World Cup experience started in Mexico some 20 years ago.


July 9, 2006
THE AZZURRI'S EDGE
Ex-Metro Matthaeus likes Italy in finale

He has played in more games (25) and world Cups (five) than any field player and in the 76-year history of the tournament. So, when former Germany World Cup champion captain Lothar Matthaeus speaks, people isten. On Friday, the former MetroStar reminded reporters that he had picked Italy and Argentina to meet in the final.


July 9, 2006
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
Foes bring pair of disparate styles to the final

For the musically inclined, this year's World Cup final pits the golden oldies fanatics against the opera buffs. On one end of Olympic Stadium field tonight will stand aging, but talented French team, playfully dubbed "The Rolling Stones," by their most ardent fans because they are old, but keep coming back for more. On the other side will stand the cunning Italians, whose World Cup is playing out like a classic opera. The management has been caught in an embarrassing match-fixing scandal that threatens to relegate those clubs of which most of the players belong. In an classic opera timing, a decision could come as early as Monday.


July 9, 2006
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
On France, Italy in the final

Here’s a quick overview on what to expect from both finalists in the World Cup championship game on Sunday


July 9, 2006
SOCCER'S HOLY GRAIL
World Cup trophy is the sport’s ultimate prize

Sometimes around 10 or 11 p.m. local time Sunday night at Olympic Stadium, France’s Zinedine Zidane or Italy‘s Fabio Cannavaro will take this 11-pound hunk of 18K gold, held it above his head to che cheers of the crowd and then parade the trophy with his teammates around the stadium. The FIFA World Cup trophy, the most sought after trophies in all of sport, the Holy Grail of soccer, has enjoyed a well-traveled and sometimes fascinating existence -- both of them.


July 9, 2006
PROBABLE LINEUPS
Here's how they might lineup

Here's how Italy and France might lineup up for Sunday's World Cup championship game at Olympic Stadium.


July 9, 2006
HOW THEY GOT THERE
Italy, France take different paths

Italy and France took different paths to the World Cup championship game. Italy had a solid first round, while the French struggled to reach the knockout stage.


July 9, 2006
PREVIOUS MEETINGS
It's neck and neck between France, Italy

If history holds up, the France-Italy World Cup championship game should be a very close encounter.


July 9, 2006
MEET THE COACHES
Italy's Lippi win away from yet another medal



July 9, 2006
MEET THE COACHES
France's Domenech messes old and new

French coach Raymond Domenech, who succeeded Jacques Santini after Euro 2004, found a way to mesh the old and new generation of players..


July 9, 2006
THE REFEREE
Argentine Elizondo will work the middle

Argentine Horacio Elizondo will become the first game official to work a World Cup opener and final and the second ref to handle five matches at a championship.


July 9, 2006
WEATHER FORECAST
Rain, thunderstorms in the afternoon

Despite thunderstorms here the past two days, World Cup officials were confident the championship game will go on.


July 8, 2006
FOURTH FOR FIGO, PORTUGAL
Veteran sets up lone goal in 3-1 loss

Luis Figo came off the bench to set up Nuno Gomes's 88th-minute goal, but it was not enough to secure a victory for Portugal in Saturday's third-place match against Germany.


July 8, 2006
BASTIAN’S BRONZE
Schweinsteiger scores twice as Germany wins 3rd place match

Youngster Bastian Schweinsteiger scored two goals and had another shot deflected into the net by a defender to give Germany a 3-1 win over Portugal in Saturday’s third-place game at Gottleib-Daimler Stadium.


July 8, 2006
DOGGED DETERMINATION
Never-say-die Ribery key to French success

At first glance, you would swear he belonged on the docks of Marseille doing hard labor instead of with the Marseille soccer team or French National Team, for that matter. Frank Ribery has a red scar that runs down the right side of his face that makes him look older and more weathered than the 23 years he has logged on this planet.


July 7, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- THURSDAY, FRIDAY
Berlin's in, even with a tacky souvenir

I love Berlin. There is something special about this city, which once was divided, but now united since the wall fell in 1989. There is an energy that emanates from this cosmopolitan city that you don't see in many other cities worldwide. Berlin is in a league with the likes of New York, London, Paris, Rome and Tokyo, among others.


July 7, 2006
SOME YOUNG IDEAS
Germany's Podolski named best young player

German striker Lukas Podolski was named the best young player of the World Cup Friday. Podolski, 21, scored three goals as Germany reached the semifinals before it was beaten by Italy in extratime, 2-0.


July 7, 2006
STARS OF STARS
Italians dominate WC all-star team

Not surprisingly, World Cup finalists Italy and France dominated the competition's all-star team, which was announced Friday.


July 6, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- WEDNESDAY
Escaping Dortmund and Munich

Every World Cup there is a city that makes my must miss list and this time it is Dortmund, hands down.


July 6, 2006
THE MAN BEHIND ZIDANE
Vieira convinced captain to return to National Team, helps fortify French defense

The most important assist France midfielder Patrick Vieira made in his soccer career did not happen on the field, but rather off it. It occurred about a year ago when he convinced Zinedine Zidane to return to international soccer.


July 5, 2006
'HE IS A REAL STAR'
French coach praises Zidane

French coach Raymond Domenech gave Zinedine Zidane the highest praise: "He is a world champion. He is a real star."


July 5, 2006
ZIDANE”S PK KOs PORTUGAL
Loss sets up 3rd place showdown against Germany

France survived a second-half surge by Portugal and the goalkeeping antics of Fabien Barthez to book its second spot in a World Cup final Wednesday night. Captain and midfielder Zinedine Zidane converted a first-half penalty kick to lift the French to a 1-0 semifinal victory over Portugal.


July 4, 2006
BITTER ENDING
11th-hour goals lift Italy over Germany, 2-0

Dortmund, Germany -- Like an assassin knowing the exact time to strike, the Italians pulled out their knife and plunged it into the heart of Germany, not once, but twice Tuesday night.


July 5, 2006
THE PENALTY PHASE
Zidane's PK lifts France over Portugal into final

France survived a second-half surge by Portugal and the goalkeeping antics of Fabien Barthez to book its second spot in a World Cup final Wednesday night. Captain and midfielder Zinedine Zidane converted a first-half penalty kick to lift the French to a 1-0 semifinal victory over Portugal.


July 4, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- TUESDAY
The train to nowhere

I'm scheduled to leave Berlin for Dortmund on the ICE 2701, but I can't find any information about it at the main train station in the capital. It makes me wonder if I have booked myself on a ghost train.


July 4, 2006
THE LATE SHOW
11th-hour goals lift Italy over Germany, 2-0

Italy scored two late goals in the second extra time to stun host Germany to record a 2-0 semifinal win Tuesday night.


July 4, 2006
COACH JUERGEN?
Report: U.S. Soccer talking with Klinsmann

U.S. Soccer is talking to Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann as Bruce Arena's successor, The Daily Telegraph in England reported Tuesday.


July 4, 2006
WHEN THE U.S. HIT THE WALL
Germans pounded U.S., 4-1, in March

If Germany manages to reach the final four or even win the World Cup, German coach Juergen Klinsmann might want to send his friend, U.S. coach Bruce Arena, and U.S. Soccer a bottle of champagne or two for helping to restore his team's confidence and his countrymen's faith in the team.


July 4, 2006
ARE THEY SEMI TOUGH?
It's Germany-Italy, France-Portugal

In the first all-European semifinals confrontation since 1982, Germany takes on Italy Tuesday and France meets Portugal on Wednesday.


July 4, 2006
HITTING THE WALL
Germany is virtually invincible in Dortmund

Whether it was pre-planned assuming Germany was going to run the table or just plain luck, the hosts take on their nemesis Italy Tuesday in a stadium where they don't know how to lose.


July 3, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- MONDAY
After surviving a cliffhanger, our hero strikes it rich in more ways than one

Sometimes these diaries or blogs come off as those old-fashioned cliffhangers the movies and even TV once featured. If you ready Sunday's version of Dear Diary, you will know that we left off the hero close to dire financial straits because none of the cash machines at the Dortmund main train station was refusing to cough up any Euros to him.


July 3, 2006
FROM TOAST TO TOAST OF TOWN
Klinsi’s winning ways wows German critics

At one time or another, he has irked 2002 World Cup MVP goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, WC organizing committee boss Franz Beckenbauer, the German government and probably a good portion of this country's population. These days, however, Juergen Klinsmann is feted by the prime minister and playfully called Klinsi in the newspapers.


July 2, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- SUNDAY
Taking a walk or two on the wild side

A bizarre train ride home, followed by a midnight walk trying to find my hotel in Dortmund. All in the day at the World Cup.


July 2, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Why Germany 2006 doesn’t measure up

One thing is for certain. This certainly isn’t your grandfather’s World Cup. Or your father’s. Sometimes I wonder if this is the World Cup we all love, cherish and remember. With four games remaining, Germany 2006 doesn't measure up to the World Cups of the past. How sad.


July 2, 2006
CAPTAIN NO MORE
Beckham quits as England skipper

David Beckham stepped down as England captain Sunday, only hours after the National Team was eliminated from the World Cup.


July 2, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Djorkaeff would rather be with his old friends in transit than with the transient Red Bulls

When I first heard that Youri Djorkaeff was leaving the New York Red Bulls for personal reasons, the first thought that popped into my head was Frankfurt. As in Frankfurt, where underdog France would be taking on defending World Cup champion Brazil in Saturday's World Cup quarterfinals. His reason to bolt the team was probably two-fold: Djorkaeff had had it up to here with the the chaos that rules the Red Bulls these days and he wanted to watch his friends, and one of his best friends, Zinedine Zidane, try one last chance at glory.


July 1, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- SATURDAY
Watching out for mad dogs and Englishmen (which could be the same)

Michael Lewis, amateur and pop sociologist, always had a theory that when you put too many rats together in one place they will go crazy or crazier. Ditto for home sapiens, although that could get exponentially worse because we allegedly are of higher intelligence.


July 1, 2006
SEEING RED
Rooney ejection, Portuguese ‘keeper end England’s World Cup

Goalkeeper Ricardo made three saves in the penalty-kick shootout and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the game-winner to lift Portugal to a 3-1 tie-breaker victory over England in the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Saturday.


July 1, 2006
BRAZIL BOUNCED
Defending champs lose to France, 1-0

The Zinedine Zidane farewell tour will continue for at least one more game, as the ageless midfielder led France to a 1-0 quarterfinal upset of defending champions Brazil in Saturday’s quarterfinal at Commerzbank Arena.


July 1, 2006
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR…
Zidane, France stun Brazil 1-0 to complete semifinal field

The Zinedine Zidane farewell tour will continue for at least one more game, as the ageless midfielder led France to a 1-0 quarterfinal upset of defending champions Brazil in Saturday’s quarterfinal at Commerzbank Arena.


July 1, 2006
SAVING GRACE
Portugal GK stands out in shootout, ousts Brits

Goalkeeper Ricardo made three saves in the penalty-kick shootout and Cristiano Ronaldo converted the game-winner to lift Portugal to a 3-1 tie-breaker victory over England in the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Saturday.


June 30, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- FRIDAY
World Cup's enduring dynamic duo

Through the years there have been many great duos. Ruth and Gehrig. Martin and Lewis. Simon and Garfunkel. Bogart and Bacall.We now can add this venerable dynamic duo to the list: Lewis and Bondy.


June 30, 2006
AGONY, BUT ECSTASY
Despite scandal, Italy rolls past Ukraine, 3-0

No team suffers adversity in the World Cup like Italy, which has advanced to the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 12 years despite a club match-rigging scandal that could affect several players after the competition. Despite this cloud hovering over the team, the Italians produced their best game of the tournament Friday, trouncing Ukraine,


June 30, 2006
A TALE OF TWO 'KEEPERS
Abbondanziero watches from bench as Lehmann's pk saves oust Argentina

Two of World Cup 2006’s most dynamic offenses put on a lackluster show through the first 45 minutes of Friday’s quarterfinal at the Olympiastadion, but made up for it after the intermission. When the dust finally settled, netminder Jens Lehmann had saved two penalty kicks and Germany had advanced to the semifinals over Argentina, 1-1 (4-2).


June 30, 2006
GERMANY PREVAILS IN PKs
Lehmann saves two to oust Argentina

Two of World Cup 2006’s most dynamic offenses put on a lackluster show through the first 45 minutes of Friday’s quarterfinal at the Olympiastadion, but made up for it after the intermission. When the dust finally settled, netminder Jens Lehmann had saved two penalty kicks and Germany had advanced to the semifinals over Argentina, 1-1 (4-2).


June 29, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Semifinals could have a Latin and samba beat

Here's an intriguing thought: if Argentina, Italy, Portugal and Brazil prevail in the World Cup quarterfinals, it will make it the first all-Latin final ever with a samba beat coming from Brazil.


June 29, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- THURSDAY
Dead Weight and other weighty problems

Four years older and wiser than when I covered my last big international event, the Athens Summer Olympics, I promised myself that I wouldn't bring as much stuff with me as in the past.


June 28, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Blatter lets ref situation get out of hand

It's certainly easy to have a certain deja vu feeling about this World Cup's officiating. This is what one writer wrote: "FIFA president Sepp Blatter, like a little boy with a game in which he can change the rules any time he wanted, did exactly that, admonishing referees for not awarding enough red cards one day and publicly criticizing them the next. It confused the hell out of the men in the middle, action that should have been taken many months before the opening kickoff." Yours truly penned that after France '98.


June 28, 2006
FORGETTABLE
Some Cup games not worth remembering

In the wake of all the recent referee controversies at this World Cup, here's a short history of some of the more controversial and forgettable matches in the 76 years of the competition.


June 28, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- WEDNESDAY
No Bah, Hamburg -- it's finally a day of rest

Finally, after eight days on the road, a day of rest.


June 28, 2006
SOCCEROOS!!!
A Look Back at Australia's Quest



June 27, 2006
SPAIN EXITS
France wins 3-1

Hannover, Germany -- Midfielder Zinedine Zidane set up on goal and scored another in the waning minutes to help France pull off a 3-1 victory over Spain in the World Cup second-round on Tuesday night.


June 27, 2006
RONALDO STRIKES MUELLER MARK
Brazilian's 15th World Cup goal

When Ronaldo rounded goalkeeper Richard Kingston to score Brazil’s first goal in a 3-0 win over Ghana at the Westfalen Stadium, he broke one of sport’s most enduring records.


June 27, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- TUESDAY
A match ticket, a match ticket . . . my kingdom for a match ticket

So, now I know how a refugee feels waiting for that magical moment when his name is called out and he can get into the boat and come to America. OK, OK, maybe I am overdramatizing what it was like waiting for a match ticket for the Spain-France game here on Tuesday.


June 27, 2006
OLD GLORY
Zidane's old magic lifts France into quarters

So, there's still some magic left in the feet of Zinedine Zidane and some miles remaining in the aging legs of his teammates after all. The mastermind of the French's 1998 World Cup championship demonstrated in dramatic and spectacular fashion Tuesday night that he wasn't quite through with international soccer, at least not yet. The 34-year-old midfield maestro set up


June 27, 2006
GHANA TROUNCED BY BRAZIL
3-0 loss eliminates Africa's last team

The Brazilians of Africa were no match for the real deal as Brazil dominated Ghana 3-0 in a Round of 16 match on Tuesday.


June 27, 2006
IMITATORS OUTCLASSED
Brazilians of Africa no match for Brazil

DORTMUND, Germany – The Brazilians of Africa were no match for the real deal as Brazil dominated Ghana 3-0 in a Round of 16 match on Tuesday.


June 27, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Goal-scoring is down and that's not good

This bit of information might not make some people happy, but Germany 2006 isn't exactly turning into a classic World Cup. In fact, the 18th world championship is one of the lowest scoring of the World Cups. Through the second round and 56 games, teams are scoring at a paltry pace of 2.31 goals per match. That figure is only surpassed by the 2.21 goals per match at Italia '90, the most cynical of all World Cups.


June 26, 2006
QUARTERFINAL BOUND
Ukraine survives PKs, Swiss

In its first World Cup appearance, the Ukraine has reached the competition's quarterfinals, outlasting Switzerland in penalty kicks, 3-0, after playing to a scoreless tie after 120 minutes of tedious soccer in Cologne, Germany Monday night.


June 25, 2006
BITTER DEFEAT FOR SOCCEROOS
Stoppage time pk send Italy through

KAISERLSAUTERN, Germany---Second half substitute Francesco Totti scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time to give Italy a 1-0 win over Australia.


June 26, 2006
AZZURRI SURVIVE
Stoppage time pk sends Italy through

KAISERLSAUTERN, Germany---Second half substitute Francesco Totti scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time to give Italy a 1-0 win over Australia.


June 26, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
This writer likes Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and Spain to reach the quarters

OK, yours truly was 3-1 for the weekend second-round games. But I have to admit. Those picks were fairly predictable. You don't necessarily have to be a rocket scientist to predict the next batch of games on Monday and Tuesday, although the Ukraine-Switzerland confrontation looks like the most difficult one of the lot. You can make a case for either team winning and advancing.


June 25, 2006
BAD JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
Portugal survives ill-tempered affair vs. Dutch

Nuremberg, Germany -- There were moments in the 90-minute match during Portugal’s 1-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands they actually played a little soccer on Sunday night.


June 25, 2006
ENGLAND MARCHES ON
Beckham’s free kick defeats Ecuador 1-0

STUTTGART, Germany – Playing in sweltering heat, David Beckham’s brilliant free kick goal was all England needed to defeat Ecuador and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup. With just one kick of the ball, Beckham showed why he is commonly regarded as the best dead-ball specialist in the world.


June 25, 2006
BAD JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
Portugal survives ref, ill-tempered affair

There were moments in the 90-minute match during Portugal’s 1-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands they actually played a little soccer in Nuremberg, Germany on Sunday night. Inbetween the fouls, 16 yellow cards and a Cup record four red cards handed out by Russian referee Valentin Ivanov, the teams managed to kick the ball instead of each other in one of the most ill-tempered and nasty matches in the 76-year history of the competition.


June 25, 2006
ENGLAND MARCHES ON
Beckham’s free kick defeats Ecuador 1-0

STUTTGART, Germany – Playing in sweltering heat, David Beckham’s brilliant free kick goal was all England needed to defeat Ecuador and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup. With just one kick of the ball, Beckham showed why he is commonly regarded as the best dead-ball specialist in the world.


June 25, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- SUNDAY
Much to do about nothing

Remember that run-in I had with English Sunday newspaper soccer writers about David Beckham in Cologne on Tuesday (please see Wednesday's diary)? Well, I decided to "embargo" the interview until today. I did not not to listen to it until Saturday and not print any of this, ahem, exclusive piece of journalism, until Sunday.


June 24, 2006
TO THE MAXI
Rodriguez lifts Argentina over Mexico, 2-1

Leipzig, Germany -- Argentina survived a tense, 120-minute marathon against a determined Mexican side last night to book a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.


June 24, 2006
TO THE MAXI
Rodriguez lifts Argentina over Mexico, 2-1

Argentina survived a tense, 120-minute marathon against a determined Mexican side last night to book a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals. Forward Maxi Rodriguez scored off a spectacular volley in the eighth minute of extra time to lift the Argentines to a 2-1 second-round victory.


June 24, 2006
ELIMINATED
Podolski lifts Germany over Sweden, 2-0

Lukas Podolski scored twice in the opening 12 minutes to send Germany into the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Sweden at Allianz-Arena Saturday.


June 24, 2006
BRACING FOR THE QUARTERFINALS
Podolski lifts Germany over Sweden, 2-0

Lukas Podolski scored twice in the opening 12 minutes to send Germany into the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Sweden at Allianz-Arena Saturday.


June 24, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- SATURDAY
I think it's Saturday, yeah, it's Saturday, right?

It's still 2006, isn't it? When you cover an event such as the World Cup, it is easy to lose track of time. Add the fact you're in a different city covering two different teams every day, it is a wonder we all can get from here to there.


June 24, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Germany, Argentina, England, Portugal should advance to the quarterfinals

They say the World Cup really begins in the second round. With the fittest teams surviving the jungle of the first round. Now, it really gets interesting because there is no help from any other teams.


June 23, 2006
TOGO TO GO
Drop final World Cup match to France, 2-0

It was only a matter of time before France's World Cup scoring drought ended. Togo was on the receiving in when it did, dropping a 2-0 decision in Friday's final day of Group competition.


June 23, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
There's plenty of blame to go around: Arena, Donovan, Beasley, among others

So what went wrong with the U.S. at the World Cup? Way too many things and plenty of blame to go around from Bruce Arena to Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, among others. Let's take a look,


June 23, 2006
SOUTH KOREA OUSTED
2002 Semifinalists fail to advance

Needing just a draw to advance to the knockout rounds, Switzerland instead picked up a victory against 2002 semifinalists South Korea on Thursday, beating the Asian side 2-0 and knocking them out of the World Cup.


June 23, 2006
SWISS MOVE ON
Switzerland wins 2-0, face Ukraine

Needing just a draw to advance to the knockout rounds, Switzerland instead picked up a victory against 2002 semifinalists South Korea on Thursday, beating the Asian side 2-0 and knocking them out of the World Cup.


June 23, 2006
LESS IS MORE
France plays better, wins, scores more, moves on without Zidane in its 2-0 victory over Togo

There has been much speculation made that the French National Team can score and play better without its aging superstar, Zinedine Zidane in the lineup. Les Bleus left little doubt about that on Friday night, breaking out of a goal-scoring slump that spanned two World Cups. The French, who had but one goal in their past five Cup matches scored twice In the second half en route to a 2-0 triumph over Togo.


June 23, 2006
SECOND-PLACE SNOOZER
Tunisia loses on Shevchenko’s PK

Andrei Shevchenko scored on a penalty kick in the 70th minute to give the Ukraine a 1-0 win over Tunisia, and assure their place in the second round out of Group H.


June 23, 2006
SECOND-PLACE SNOOZER
Ukraine advances on Shevchenko’s PK

Andrei Shevchenko scored on a penalty kick in the 70th minute to give the Ukraine a 1-0 win over Tunisia, and assure their place in the second round out of Group H.


June 23, 2006
GAME EFFORT
Saudis hold high-scoring Spain to one goal in loss

Spain coach Luis Aragones emptied his bench for Friday’s meaningless Group H finale at Fritz-Walter Stadion, and his subs stepped up to defeat Saudi Arabia 1-0. It was far from a perfect effort, however, and a second-half letdown by Spain kept the outcome in suspense until the final minutes.


June 23, 2006
SUB-PERB
Spain’s second-string shines against Saudis

Spain coach Luis Aragones emptied his bench for Friday’s meaningless Group H finale at Fritz-Walter Stadion, and his subs stepped up to defeat Saudi Arabia 1-0. It was far from a perfect effort, however, and a second-half letdown by Spain kept the outcome in suspense until the final minutes.


June 23, 2006
COSTLY RED
3-match ban for Mastroeni

This may be a moot point because it is after the fact, but U.S. midfielder Pablo Mastroeni has been suspended three games for his red card in the 1-1 tie with Italy last week.


June 23, 2006
BANNED IN GERMANY
De Rossi gets 4-match suspension

It may be small consolation to the U.S. now that it has been eliminated. But Italian defender Daniele De Rossi, who elbowed forward Brian McBride in the face, has been suspended for four World Cup matches.


June 23, 2006
IT'S OVER
Reyna quits international soccer

For Claudio Reyna, the timing was right. Realizing he would be 36 -- too old to be an impact player in the 2010 World Cup -- the U.S. captain decided to call it an international career Friday


June 23, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- FRIDAY
Second-class seat, first-class time

When you've covered as many World Cups as I have -- six -- you learn to deal with the unexpected curve balls that might be thrown your way at any second.


June 23, 2006
U.S. REPORT CARD
So-so grades for U.S. in Ghana loss

So, how did the U.S. rate in its 2-1 loss to Ghana on Thursday? Some of them aren’t pretty. But here they are (10 being the highest, five average and one the lowest.)


June 23, 2006
“A LITTLE DISAPPOINTING”
Donovan’s self-assessment of his WC

He was supposed to be the great American hope at the World Cup, the star and new leader of a U.S. team that was supposed to make an impact in the greatest show on earth. Instead, Landon Donovan returns home a major flop on the world's biggest stage.


June 22, 2006
NO LUCK WITH THE DRAW
Croatia bounced after tying Australia, 2-2

Australia fell behind in the opening minutes of the first half and again in the second half but rallied both times to earn a 2-2 draw with Croatia at Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion Thursday. The result pushes the Socceroos into the second round for the first time ever while the stunned Croats go home.


June 22, 2006
HOPPING INTO THE SECOND ROUND
Australia advances with 2-2 draw vs. Croatia

Australia fell behind in the opening minutes of the first half and again in the second half but rallied both times to earn a 2-2 draw with Croatia at Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion Thursday. The result pushes the Socceroos into the second round for the first time ever while the stunned Croats go home.


June 22, 2006
SWEET MUSIC
Brazil dances past Japan to win group F

It was Brazilian samba versus Tokyo technopop, and the result was one of the most entertaining matches of the 2006 World Cup. In the end, Brazil dominated 4-1 behind a two-goal performance by resurgent superstar Ronaldo, who is now tied with German icon Gerd Muller for the all-time World Cup scoring lead with 14 goals.


June 22, 2006
SWEET MUSIC
Brazil dances past Japan to win group F

It was Brazilian samba versus Tokyo technopop, and the result was one of the most entertaining matches of the 2006 World Cup. In the end, Brazil dominated 4-1 at Signal Iduna Park, behind a two-goal performance by resurgent superstar Ronaldo, who is now tied with German icon Gerd Muller for the all-time World Cup scoring lead with 14 goals.


June 22, 2006
RETIRING THOUGHTS
Arena, Reyna, McBride, Pope are considering calling it quits at the international level

U.S. national coach Bruce Arena and three veterans of the National Team are considering calling it an international career. Team captain and midfielder Claudio Reyna, forward Brian McBride and defender Eddie Pope said they probably have played their last international match -- Thursday's 2-1 World Cup loss to Ghana. The Group E defeat eliminated the U.S. from the competition.


June 22, 2006
COMING-OUT PARTY
Ghana nips U.S. to advance to second round

Ghana's World Cup debut will continue for at least one more game. The Black Stars defeated the United States 2-1 on Stephen Appiah's penalty kick to take second place in Group E and advance to the World Cup second round.


June 22, 2006
CZECH-ING OUT
Loss to Italy ends Czech Republic's World Cup

Italy completely dominated the Czech Republic for most of the game and came away with a 2-0 win Thursday at AOL-Arena to assure themselves of first place in group E.


June 22, 2006
FORZA AZZURRI!
Italy dumps Czechs 2-0 to win Group E

Italy completely dominated the Czech Republic for most of the game and came away with a 2-0 win Thursday at AOL-Arena to assure themselves of first place in group E.


June 22, 2006
GOING, GOING, GHANA
U.S. eliminated from World Cup in 2-1 loss

The second round was there for the Americans’ taking. Italy played its part, defeating the Czech Republic in its final Group E game, 2-0. But when push came to shove for the U.S. to hold up its end of the bargain, the Americans just didn’t have enough goals or weapons in their arsenal to make a difference against Ghana.


June 22, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- THURSDAY
Train spotting and other railings

Despite the United States' arrogance on many things, we, as Americans, have a lot to learn from the rest of the world. One is a train system, which when it works, it is a fabulous way to travel.


June 21, 2006
THE VIEW FROM THE STANDS
Chris Keem’s World Cup Blog



June 21, 2006
OUT OF AFRICA
U.S. has played teams only 9 times

The U.S. National Team's confrontation with Ghana on Thursday is certainly a rarity when it comes to playing teams from Africa. The U.S. has played African national sides only nine times in its history, registering a 3-4-2 record.


June 21, 2006
STOPPING THE BISON
Stifling Essien is key for the U.S. vs. Ghana

Soccer is a team sport, but if there are two players worry worries the U.S. more than any other on Ghana, it's midfielders Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah. The U.S. meets Ghana in a vital World Cup Group E match in Nuremberg on Thursday.


June 21, 2006
MISSING THEIR MARK
U.S. has only one shot on goal in 2 games

If there is one number that defines the U.S.'s plight at this World Cup, it's the number one. As in the number of shots on goal the Americans have gotten in their first games. If they duplicate that against Ghana in its vital Group E finale in Nuremberg Thursday, the U.S. will be packing for home very quickly.


June 21, 2006
ARENA FUTBOL
A look at the U.S. national coach

So, what is U.S.national coach Bruce Arena like? Players past and present talk about Arena as a coach.


June 21, 2006
FLAT IN FRANKFURT
Argentina, Netherlands disappoint in 0-0 tie

Both Argentina and the Netherlands were on the field at Commerzbank Arena Wednesday, but neither team actually showed up in a 0-0 draw.


June 21, 2006
FLAT IN FRANKFURT
Argentina, Netherlands disappoint in 0-0 tie

Both Argentina and the Netherlands were on the field at Commerzbank Arena Wednesday, but neither team actually showed up in a 0-0 draw.


June 21, 2006
BLACK STARS HAVE SPECIAL STAR
Michael Essien the key to the team

AHERENSBURG, Germany. - One player that will be central to the U.S. team’s hopes is the one who plays for their opponent, Ghana. The Americans hope to neutralize the marvelous talent of Michael Essien, midfielder for the Black Stars and English Premier League champion Chelsea.


June 21, 2006
SERBIA BLOW LEAD, LOSE 3-2
Ivory Coast stuns Serbia with two second-half goals

Ivory Coast overcame an early two-goal deficit and won its first World Cup in a 3-2 win over Serbia and Montenegro on Wednesday.


June 21, 2006
IVORY COAST FINISHES IN STYLE
Elephants overcome deficit, win 3-2

Ivory Coast came back from an early two-goal deficit and beat Serbia and Montenegro 3-2 to win its first-ever World Cup game.


June 21, 2006
GROUP WINNERS
Portugal beats Mexico 2-1

Some teams just have all the luck, no matter what they do. Just ask Mexico, which qualified for the second round of the World Cup on Wednesday. The Mexicans missed a key penalty kick early in the second half, had a player red-carded and then dropped a 2-1 Group D decision to Portugal., 2-1. The Mexicans still managed to survive and play another day.


June 21, 2006
POINT TAKEN
Iran's World Cup ends with 1-1 draw against Angola

Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh scored on a far-post header to give Iran a 1-1 draw with Angola in Wednesday's Group D finale at the Zentralstadion.


June 21, 2006
AN-GOAL-A
Black Antelopes score 1st World Cup goal in draw with Iran

The beauty of soccer is that even the most mediocre of matches can be redeemed by one moment of sheer artistry. Ze Kalanga provided that moment Wednesday at the Zentralstadion, lofting a pinpoint cross to substitute striker Flavio in the 60th minute for Angola’s first-ever World Cup goal. However, Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh’s far-post header evened the score for Iran, and the 1-1 draw held through the final whistle, robbing the African side of any chance of advancing to the second round of World Cup 2006.


June 21, 2006
FORTUNATE ONES
Mexico loses, but reaches 2nd round

Some teams just have all the luck, no matter what they do. Just ask Mexico, which qualified for the second round of the World Cup on Wednesday. The Mexicans missed a key penalty kick early in the second half, had a player red-carded and then dropped a 2-1 Group D decision to Portugal., 2-1. The Mexicans still managed to survive and play another day.


June 21, 2006
NO MORE OWEN GOALS
England star striker to miss rest of Cup

England star striker Michael Owen will miss the rest of the World Cup due to a right knee injury.


June 21, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- WEDNESDAY
What comes around, goes around and around

Psst! Don't tell anyone, especially the British Sunday press corps, that I am hiding in Gelsenkirchen in western Germany. You see, I had another clash with my British brethren of the media on Tuesday night and I didn't realize it. Oh, you don't know about the first tussle, do you? Well, that occurred in Sapporo -- aka "The Battle of Sapporo" at the 2002 World Cup.


June 20, 2006
PARAGUAY FINDS LATE OFFENSE
2-0 win comes far too late

Paraguay found some offense when it mattered little as the South Americans scored their first two goals of the World Cup in a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in a Group B match on Tuesday.


June 20, 2006
TRINIDAD EXIT QUIETLY
Paraguay beats Soca Warriors, 2-0

Trinidad & Tobago’s first-ever World Cup came to a quiet end as the Caribbean nation lost to Paraguay 2-0 in the Group B finale on Tuesday.


June 20, 2006
TYING ONE ON
England draws Sweden, avoids Germany

A tie was good enough to be a victory for England on Tuesday as it played Sweden to a 2-2 draw to capture the Group B title and avoid playing Germany in the second round of the World Cup.


June 20, 2006
WOUNDED KNEE
England's Owen injured in opening minute

England's hopes and chances of winning the World Cup took a major hit on Tuesday when star striker Michael Owen went down with a knee injury in the opening minute of the Group B match with Sweden.


June 20, 2006
BIG TIME
Merk, 'best referee,' to work U.S-Ghana game

FIFA is certainly taking the U.S.-Ghana match very seriously. Soccer's world governing body announced Tuesday that German Markus Merk, considered the best referee in the world in many quarters, will officiate Thursday's vital World Cup Group E match in Nuremberg.


June 20, 2006
TICO'S TEARS
Lose last game to Poland 2-1

HANOVER---Bartosz Bosacki scored his first two international goals to lead Poland to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica Tuesday.


June 20, 2006
PLAYING FOR PRIDE
Poles top Costa Rica 2-1

HANOVER---Bartosz Bosacki scored his first two international goals to lead Poland to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica Tuesday.


June 20, 2006
NOT EVEN KLOSE
Ecuador loses 3-0 to Germany in Group A finale

Stronger. Higher. Faster. That might be the motto of the Olympics, rather than the World Cup, but home team Germany took it to heart at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, toying with Ecuador for a 3-0 win in the final day of Group A competition.


June 20, 2006
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Germany beats Ecuador 3-0 to win Group A

Stronger. Higher. Faster. That might be the motto of the Olympics, rather than the World Cup, but home team Germany took it to heart at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, toying with Ecuador for a 3-0 win in the final day of Group A competition.


June 20, 2006
OFFSIDE REMARKS
Group E is the deadliest of them all

OK, it's time for some revisionist history here. The Group of Death of this World Cup is officially anointed as Group E, and not Group C, which virtually the rest of the world did at the draw in Leipzig last Dec. 9.


June 20, 2006
DEAR DIARY -- TUESDAY
Gearing up for one more grind

After taking a day off from the World Cup, I feel refreshed this morning. Oh, yeah, my definition of a day off from the greatest show on earth is when I don't have to travel. I still did stories. Compared to what we have to do to get from here to there, that is nothing.


June 19, 2006
HE’S GOT HIS MOJO BACK
Landon regains his confidence in nick of time

Let’s face it. As Landon Donovan goes, so does the U.S. team. If Donovan plays well, the Americans’ chances of winning is greater. A big difference between the U.S.'s first two World Cup games was Donovan, who turned in a standout performance in the 1-1 tie with Italy Saturday after doing his best rendition of an invisible man in the 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic last week


June 19, 2006
TUNISIA FELLED BY LATE-CHARGING SPAIN
Spain rallies for 3-1 win

Spain survived a scare from Tunisia on Monday as Raul and Fernando Torres saved the Spaniards with two second-half goals in Spain’s 3-1 victory over Tunisia in a Group H match.


June 19, 2006
SPAIN SURVIVE SCARE
Spain overcomes early deficit, win 3-1

Spain survived a scare from Tunisia on Monday as Raul and Fernando Torres saved the Spaniards with two second-half goals in Spain’s 3-1 victory over Tunisia in a Group H match.


June 19, 2006
SHEVCHENKO SHINES
Saudis suffer 4-0 loss

HAMBURG---After being stunned by Spain in the opening match 4-0, Ukraine came back and defeated Saudi Arabia by the same score Monday.


June 19, 2006
SHEVCHENKO SHINES
Ukraine dominates Saudis 4-0

HAMBURG---After being stunned by Spain in the opening match 4-0, Ukraine came back and defeated Saudi Arabia by the same score Monday.


June 19, 2006
NO GO FOR TOGO
Swiss eliminate Africans with 2-0 win

DORTMUND, GERMANY---Togo tumultuous first trip to the World Cup will ultimately be a short one, the result of a 2-0 loss to Switzerland on Monday.


June 19, 2006
NO GO FOR TOGO
Swiss eliminate African side with 2-0 win

DORTMUND, GERMANY---Togo tumultuous first trip to the World Cup will ultimately be a short one, the result of a 2-0 loss to Switzerland on Monday.


June 18, 2006
A SURPRISE GUEST
Maradona shows up for Brazil-Australia game

Diego Maradona shows up to watch Brazil take on Argentina as the crowd would rather watch him than the game.


June 17, 2006
MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Tie with US leaves Azurri vulnerable at the top of Group E

In a classic World Cup encounter that had many twists and turns, the U.S. managed to register a 1-1 draw with favored Italy and leave Group E wide open going into Thursday's final first round matches.


June 18, 2006
"A" FOR EFFORT
Socceroos go all-out in 2-0 loss to Brazil

Australia's World Cup effectively ended after Sunday's 2-0 loss to Brazil eliminated them from Group contention, but the Socceroos gave the reigning champions a run for their money at the Olympiastadion.


June 18, 2006
SINGING LES BLEUS
Koreans tie France 1-1

LEIPZIG, GERMANY---France ended the World Cup scoring drought, but still only came away with a 1-1 tie against South Korea on Sunday.


June 18, 2006
SINGING LES BLEUS
France struggle to tie Korea 1-1

LEIPZIG, GERMANY---France ended the World Cup scoring drought, but still only came away with a 1-1 tie against South Korea on Sunday.


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