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Section 1: Return of the Galacticos

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America

When the World Cup began, Frenchman Zinedine Zidane looked tired, and his Real Madrid teammate, Brazilian Ronaldo, was overweight.

The two Galacticos were dismissed as past their prime, but they played key roles Tuesday in leading their teams into the quarterfinals, where they meet Saturday in Frankfurt.
...

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WOITALLA: The Kaiser's Cup

By Mike Woitalla
in Munich

The German media often report on the VIPs at World Cup games like this:

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German President Horst Koehler and Franz Beckenbauer attended last night's game."

They see no need to introduce Beckenbauer.

His campaigning is ...

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Section 1: Crespo shines in spotlight

Hernan Crespo can no longer say he's being overlooked.

With goals in each of his three 2006 World Cup games -- he swears he touched the ball Jared Borgetti appeared to head into his own goal during Argentina's 2-1 overtime victory over Mexico -- and the nifty backheel to teammate Esteban Cambiasso for the ...

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Section 1: Crespo shines in spotlight

Hernan Crespo can no longer say he's being overlooked.

With goals in each of his three 2006 World Cup games -- he swears he touched the ball Jared Borgetti appeared to head into his own goal during Argentina's 2-1 overtime victory over Mexico -- and the nifty backheel to teammate Esteban Cambiasso for the ...

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Section 1: Ronaldo's goal -- a third title

Now that Brazilian Ronaldo has the World Cup career scoring record, he says it's time to concentrate on his main goal: win another World Cup title.

Ronaldo's first goal in Brazil's 3-0 win over Ghana gave him 15 in his career, breaking the record he shared with German Gerd Mueller.

"That [the record] was ...

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WOITALLA: Expecting thrills from final eight

By Mike Woitalla
in Hanover

Predictably, German tabloid Bild provided in-depth coverage of David Beckman vomiting on the field during England's 1-0 win over Ecuador.

Under the headline, "David Barfman," Bild ran sequence photos of the incident accompanied by possible reasons why he lost his lunch.
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Section 1: Ivanov the Terrible fingers Dutch

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer Ameica

Russian Valentin Ivanov, the referee of Sunday's controversial Portugal-Netherlands match, said it was nastiest game he had ever called.

Speaking out for the first time since the match, the 45-year-old Ivanov, dubbed Ivanov the Terrible for his calls, told Russian daily Izvestia, "Probably, from the point of ...

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MAHONEY: Last beating of the U.S. dead horse

By Ridge Mahoney
in Hamburg

(This will the final installment regarding the U.S. performance in Germany, replete with references to criticisms, valid and otherwise.)

FORMATION. The 4-5-1 formation used primarily by Bruce Arena took a lot of abuse, of course, since a simplistic, knee-jerk ...

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WOITALLA: Why Spain may finally prevail

By Mike Woitalla
in Munich

With each World Cup, the Spaniards search for a reason why things will turn out different.

Spain entered the last seven World Cups as potential champion but never passed the quarterfinals. 2006 is the year, really, says the Spanish press.

It has been citing 16th century ...

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Section 1: France ready for high-flying Spaniards

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America

Averaging 2.67 goals per game, Spain enters Tuesday's match against France in Hanover with the highest-scoring team at the World Cup, but the Spaniards haven't faced a defense as experienced as the Bleus' backline.
All four starters won league championships in 2005-06: right back Willy Sagnol with Bayern Munich (Germany), center ...

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MAHONEY: Heroes on a night of high comedy

By Ridge Mahoney
in Nuremberg

The first few words of the Portuguese national anthem are, "Heroes of the Sea."

There isn't an ocean anywhere near the Frankenstadion where a fascinating round-of-16 match took place Sunday, yet those who wore the Portugal colors will be feted as such after they outlasted the Netherlands, ...

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Section 1: Hiddink aims to upset Italy again

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America


Can Guus Hiddink do it again?
Four years ago, World Cup 2002 co-host South Korea, coached by Hiddink, beat Italy, 2-1, in overtime in the round of 16.
This time, Hiddink leads Australia against Italy Monday in the round of 16 in Kaiserslautern.
"It's difficult to compare these two games," ...

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MAHONEY: El Pato stymies El Tri

By Ridge Mahoney
in Leipzig
 
The incredible dipping shot that Maxi Rodriguez drilled over Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez in extra time decided the tense round-of-16 match for Argentina, yet the match was truly won at the other end of the field.

Stuck in glide mode for much of ...

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WOITALLA: Grinsi and Grumpy

By Mike Woitalla
in Munich


He sure is a grump.

That's a sentiment about Bruce Arena I heard from U.S. fans here in Germany, ones who watched on TV in the USA, and members of the press.

And I saw that grumpiness frequently. The scowls, frowns and curses from the sidelines, and the ...

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Section 1: Van Basten apologizes for Ruud remarks

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America

Dutch coach Marco van Basten said he regrets publicly criticizing struggling star Ruud van Nistelrooy.
"Regret is a big word," van Basten said before the Oranje's match against Portugal, "but what I did was not correct to the player."
The Manchester United star had been substituted during all ...

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