• 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 letdown of the Cup." "He played badly, he didn't dribble, he didn't have a shot at goal, he misplaced passes and did not, at any moment, take responsibility," wrote Estado. "It was a portrait of his participation ...
  • 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 nearly an hour after the dismissal of English firebrand Wayne Rooney for assaulting an opponent, Portugal could only sporadically dictate the tempo and survived several English near misses before prevailing on penalties, 3-1. Goalkeeper Ricardo ...
  • 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 Cup, drawing criticism from the hypercritical Italian media. Finally, in the Azzurri's quarterfinal match against Ukraine, Toni broke out, setting up Gianluca Zambrotta for Italy's first goal before scoring two himself as the Azzurri cruised into the semifinals ...
  • 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 estimated that 11 million fans had watched matches at the 15 sites around the country. Just about every game has been ausverkauft (a sellout). But every party needs a gregarious host, preferably one that sticks around, and the host ...