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Section 1: Seven Italy players picked to World Cup All-Star Team
July 7th, 2006 2:18PM


Seven Italians and four Frenchmen head the 23-man MasterCard All-Star Team, as selected by FIFA's Technical Study Group.

World Cup semifinalists Germany and Portugal also had four players apiece on the all-star game. Argentina had two, and Brazil and England one apiece.

The MasterCard All-Star Team:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jens Lehmann (Germany), Ricardo (Portugal).

Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Argentina), John Terry (England), Lilian Thuram (France), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy), Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal).

Midfielders: Ze Roberto (Brazil), Patrick Vieira (France), Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Luis Figo (Portugal), Maniche (Portugal).

Forwards: Hernan Crespo (Argentina), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Francesco Totti (Italy), Luca Toni (Italy).

Prince Poldi named top young player

Germany's Lukas Podolski won the Gillette Best Young Player award, a new World Cup award. Podolski, only 21, scored three goals at the World Cup to give him 15 goals in 31 international appearances.

Podolski, nicknamed "Prince Poldi," teamed with fellow Polish-born striker Miroslav Klose to form the best frontline partnership at the World Cup.

The six finalists for the award were Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Luis Valencia (Ecuador), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Tranquilo Barnetta (Switzerland), Cesc Fabregas (Spain) and Podolski. The award was open to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1985, and selected by FIFA's Technical Study Group.

The Kaiser: Stop the acting

Former German great Franz Beckenbauer, the president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, says something must be done to stop the acting and feigning injury that has plagued matches at the World Cup.

"I think it is time to get the players, the coaches and the referees around the table and try to find some sort of solution to this problem," he said. "None of us in the game wants these incidents. The players are seeking to gain an unfair advantage and attempt to exploit every situation. The referees are there to correct this kind of misconduct, but the players do not make it easy for the referees."

Beckenbauer, who captained the West Germany 1974 championship team and the 1990 championship team, added he would also show the yellow card to any player who signaled to the ref with an imaginary card to get an opponent booked.

"That is also cheating," he said.

FIFA and UEFA are planning a technical convention with coaches, referees and players in Berlin in September to discuss the World Cup with cheating and play-acting set to be on the agenda.

Beckenbauer was also disappointed with the number of shots at the World Cup.

"As the old German coach Sepp Herberger used to show," Beckenbauer added, "if you don't shoot, you won't score. Well, there have not been enough shots on goal as far as I am concerned."

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