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Section 1: Ronaldinho takes heat

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America

Ronaldinho, the reigning World and European Player of the Year, came in for heavy criticism in the aftermath of Brazil's shocking exit from the World Cup.

O Globo and Estado de Sao Paulo, two of Brazil's biggest newspapers, ran identical headlines: "Ronaldinho was the big ...

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MAHONEY: Portugal wins banal battle

By Ridge Mahoney
in Gelsenkirchen
 
It is sometimes said of a match decided on penalties that neither team deserved to lose.

In the case of Saturday's quarterfinal between Portugal and England, neither team really deserved to win, and the team less deserving to lose, did.

Despite playing a man up for ...

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Section 1: Toni answers critics

By Paul Kennedy
Managing Editor
Soccer America

Luca Toni came into the 2006 World Cup as one of the tournament's most hyped players. having scored 31 goals for Fiorentina in the 2005-06 season, the most goals by a player in Serie A since 1957.

But Toni didn't score in Italy's first four games at the World ...
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MAHONEY: The party rolls on

By Ridge Mahoney
in Berlin

For a few more days at least, "PartyZone Deutschland" will stay on the air.

A show by that title is running regularly on German television, portraying the activities and adventures of fans attending games as well as gathering at "FanFests" to party in front of big-screen TVs. After the round of 16, FIFA ...

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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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