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Fifa World Cup 2006 Latest News
Italy win World Cup 2006 on penalties
July 10, 2006Italy win the World Cup after beating France 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
Zinedine Zidane gave France the lead from the penalty spot on 7 minutes after Marco Materazzi was adjudged to have brought down Malouda, but the Inter defender made amends in the 19th minute, heading in a Pirlo cross to bring the teams level. Materazzi was on the receiving end of a Zidane headbutt in extra time which saw the France captain receive a straight red card in his last international game. Ten-man France held on for penalties, but Marco made his mark again, firing in his spot kick to give Italy a 2-1 lead before Trezeguet struck against the bar.
Germany 3 - 1 Portugal
July 09, 2006Germany shrugged off the disappointment of their semi-defeat by Italy to claim third place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup by beating Portugal 3-1 in Stuttgart.
Bastian Schweinsteiger enjoyed a night to remember in the hosts' farewell match at these finals, scoring twice in the second half as Germany finished the tournament with the bronze medal - and 14 goals to their name, three more than any other team with just Sunday's Final to play. Schweinsteiger opened the scoring with a swerving shot from distance after 56 minutes and five minutes later the same player's low free-kick was diverted into his own goal by Portugal's Petit. With 12 minutes remaining Schweinsteiger struck Germany's third goal with a fine effort into the top corner before two Portugal substitutes conjured up a late consolation for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side. Luis Figo, on his final appearance for his country, sent over a perfectly placed cross for Nuno Gomes to head past Oliver Kahn, denying the German goalkeeper one last clean sheet before he too bowed out of the international arena.
Germany aim to finish it in style
July 08, 2006Germany wants to give its fans another World Cup celebration when it plays Portugal for third place on Saturday.
Michael Ballack has an inflamed left knee and will miss the third-place match in Stuttgart. And goalkeeper Oliver Kahn will replace Jens Lehmann in goal, coach Juergen Klinsmann said on Friday. Defenders Per Mertesacker and Arne Friedrich also will miss the match because of injuries. Mertesacker had surgery on his left heel and Friedrich twisted his knee. Midfielder Tim Borowski broke off Friday's practice after 20 minutes with a foot injury and is doubtful. Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is also making changes, partly to help motivate his team for a match no one really wants to play.
Klose and Portuguese midfielder Maniche also are being consider for the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament. Portugal, which lost 1-0 to France on Wednesday for its first defeat of the tournament, has one day less than Germany to prepare for Stuttgart. But Germany played for two hours when it lost to Italy in extra time. Portugal is trying to shrug off the agony of its semifinal defeat.
France beat Portugal 1-0
July 05, 2006Zinedine Zidane will finish his career on the greatest stage of all after his first-half penalty proved enough to take France past Portugal and into the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final as 1-0 semi-final winners in Munich.
Zidane scored two headers to help France beat Brazil in the 1998 Final and eight years later, in his final match before retiring, he has the chance to bow out with a second winner's medal in Sunday's Final against Italy in Berlin. France's winning goal came when Thierry Henry went to ground under a Ricardo Carvalho challenge after 33 minutes and Zidane struck his spot-kick low to Ricardo's right. They defended their lead comfortably save for one heart-in-mouth moment in the second half when Fabien Barthez spilled Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick and Luis Figo headed the rebound over. Portugal, semi-final losers here just as they were in 1966, will contest the play-off for third place with Germany in Stuttgart on Saturday.
Italy Beats Germany 2-0
July 04, 2006German dreams of reaching the FIFA World Cup Final on home soil died in Dortmund as two goals in the final moments of extra time carried Italy into the Final as 2-0 semi-final winners.
With a penalty shoot-out looming, Fabio Grosso broke the deadlock in the 119th minute as he curled a left-footed shot past the despairing dive of Jens Lehmann from the right side of the penalty box. Substitute Alessandro Del Piero made sure of Italy's place in the Final when he beat Lehmann from close range in added time at the end of the extra period. Italy now advance to their first FIFA World Cup Final since 1994 and their sixth overall. They will face the winners of Wednesday's Portugal-France semi-final in Berlin's Olympiastadion on Sunday, 24 hours after Germany have contested third place with the losers of that match in Stuttgart.
German Key Player Suspended for World Cup Semi-Final
July 03, 2006German midfielder Torsten Frings has been suspended for the World Cup semi-final against Italy in Dortmund on Wednesday morning (AEST).
FIFA launched an investigation after television executives from Italy said they had found evidence that Frings threw a punch at Argentinian forward Julio Ricardo Cruz in the fracas that followed Germany's quarter-final win on Saturday morning (AEST). The 29-year-old would be suspended initially for only one match, making him eligible for the World Cup final on Monday morning (AEST) if Germany defeat Italy in his absence. Frings will also be on probation for the next six months and will face at least another one-match ban if he re-offends during that period. He was also fined $5,500. German team manager Oliver Bierhoff was informed of the suspension soon after the side arrived in Dortmund to prepare for the Italian clash. Frings has started every match of Germany's World Cup campaign so far and would have been certain to be in the line-up against Italy in Dortmund. Klinsmann could call on Tim Borowski or Sebastian Kehl to replace him. Frings had protested his innocence, saying he simply put out his hands to protect himself during the fracas.
France beats Brazil in Fourth Quarter Final
July 01, 2006France have booked their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals at the expense of holders Brazil, this after a Zinedine Zidane-inspired 1-0 win for Les Bleus in Frankfurt set up a last-four clash with Portugal.
Thierry Henry’s 57th-minute volley was the game’s solitary, all-important goal, and with Raymond Domenech’s side inspired by a vintage showing from Zidane, Brazil could have few complaints at the final whistle. France now complete an all-European line-up in the tournament’s semi-finals, with their clash against England’s conquerors Portugal scheduled for 5 July in Munich, a day after Germany and Italy do battle in Dortmund.
Portugal beats England in Third Quarter Final
July 01, 2006Portugal march on to a semi-final date with either Brazil or France after defeating England 3-1 on penalties following a last eight clash that ended goalless in Gelsenkirchen.
Neither of these sides could find a way through during 120 minutes of entertaining and closely-contested action, with Portugal unable to translate into goals a numerical advantage they had held for almost an hour thanks to Wayne Rooney’s 62nd-minute dismissal. The match therefore became the second 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-final to be settled on penalty kicks and, just as Jens Lehmann was Germany’s hero yesterday, so Ricardo was Portugal’s today, saving from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to leave Cristiano Ronaldo to stroke home the decisive kick.
Italy beats Ukraine in Second Quarter Final
Jun 30, 2006Italy cruised into the semi-finals of Germany 2006 with a convincing 3-0 victory over Ukraine in Dortmund.
A sixth minute strike from Gianluca Zambrotta set the tone for the evening and a second half brace from Luca Toni merely compounded the misery for Oleg Blokhin’s side. Oleg Gusev, Andriy Gusin and Maksym Kalinichenko all went close for Ukraine, but were denied by a combination of the woodwork and some excellent goalkeeping by Gianluigi Buffon. Italy now turn their attentions to a semi-final tie with the hosts in Dortmund on Tuesday, 4 July, while FIFA World Cup debutants Ukraine will return home justifiably proud of their efforts.
Germany beats Argentina in first Quarter Final
Jun 30, 2006Germany advance to the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals after triumphing 4-2 over Argentina in a penalty shoot-out following a tight, tense match in Berlin’s Olympiastadion that had ended locked at 1-1.
It proved impossible to separate these sides during normal time, with 120 minutes only able to conjure up a couple of goals, Miroslav Klose’s 80th-minute equaliser cancelling out a 49th-minute opening goal from Roberto Ayala. That left the match to be settled by penalties, and it was Jens Lehmann who proved the hosts’ hero, saving from both Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso, while Oliver Neuville, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski and Tim Borowski all successfully dispatched their spot kicks past Argentina’s substitute goalkeeper Leo Franco.
Shevchenko under spotlight for Ukraine against Italy
Jun 30, 2006Italy and Ukraine meet in Hamburg with a place in the last four of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany at stake. Ukrainian target man Andriy Shevchenko’s close ties with Italy mean a night of close scrutiny for the lethal forward.
Italy, one of the powerhouses of European and world football, have failed to live up to expectations at big tournaments in recent years. The Azzurri are keen to give a good account of themselves this time around to cement what they feel is their rightful place at the top of the international football pecking order. Ukraine, on the other hand, are participating at their first ever major international event. That is not to say the eastern Europeans are without pedigree. Ukrainians often formed the backbone of the former Soviet Union teams and Dynamo Kiev are an ever-present fixture in the UEFA Champions League. The canny tactical know-how of coach Oleg Blokhin and the goal-scoring exploits of Andriy Shevchenko have been the springboard for success at Germany 2006.
Argentina-Germany 1st Quarter final today
Jun 30, 2006Star-studded Argentina will take on hosts Germany today in the first quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup 2006 at Berlin.
Earlier, three times champions Germany faced two times champions Argentina for 16 times in the international arena. Argentina won seven times, Germany won five times while rest of the four clashes ended in draws. Before taking part in the quarter-final, Argentina emerged as the champions of Group C with seven points on their account. The South Americans made a good start as they beat Ivory Coast by 2-1 goals in their opening match. Later, Argentina blanked Serbia & Montenegro 6-0 in their second clash. Argentina finished their Group C clash with a goalless draw with mighty Netherlands. Argentina moved into the quarter finals beating Mexico by 2-1 goals in the Super 16 Round clash. On the other hand, Germany became Group A champions with all-three wins. Germany made an auspicious start as the hosts defeated Costa Rica by 4-2 goals in the inaugural match. Later, Germany beat Poland by a solitary goal in their second encounter. Mighty Germany finished their Group A campaign a happy note as the hosts thrashing on Ecuador 3-0. In the Super 16 Round, Germany defeated Sweden by two goals to nil and entered the quarter-finals.
Spain 1-3 France
Jun 28, 2006Late goals from Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane booked France a quarter-final tie with Brazil as they came from behind to beat Spain 3-1 in Hanover.
A 28th minute penalty from David Villa had given Luis Aragones’ side the lead, but Frank Ribery’s equaliser four minutes before half-time restored parity for Les Bleus. With the match heading for extra time, Vieira’s header from a Zidane free-kick took a deflection off Sergio Ramos and ended up in the back of Iker Casillas’ net. As Spain pushed for an equaliser, ‘Zizou’ took advantage of a misplaced pass from Cesc Fabregas, before turning past Carles Puyol and steering a shot beyond Iker Casillas. France will now meet Brazil in Frankfurt in the quarter-finals on Saturday 1 July.
Brazil 3-0 Ghana
Jun 28, 2006It is four wins and counting for holders Brazil at the 2006 FIFA World Cup after they beat Ghana 3-0 in Dortmund to book their place in the quarter-finals.
While Brazil advanced to a quarter-final against Spain or France in Frankfurt on Saturday, the talking point of this Round of 16 tie was the opening goal by Ronaldo with which the Brazil marksman wrote his name in the record books. Ronaldo's fifth-minute strike was his 15th in the FIFA World Cup, taking him past Germany's Gerd Muller as the most prolific scorer in the 76-year history of the tournament. Ghana, the only African side to advance to the knockout rounds, pushed Brazil all the way in the opening period but after missing several chances to score, they conceded a second goal right on the stroke of half-time from Adriano. After losing Asamoah Gyan to a red card following a second bookable offence in the 81st minute, their fate was sealed when Ze Roberto added a third for Brazil three minutes later.
Switzerland 0-0 (Pen : 0-3) Ukraine
Jun 27, 2006Ukraine won through to a FIFA World Cup quarter-final against Italy after beating Switzerland on penalties after a goalless draw in Cologne.
None of Switzerland's three penalty-takers - Marco Streller, Tranquillo Barnetta and Ricardo Cabanas - were able to convert their kicks meaning that despite Andriy Shevchenko's miss for Ukraine, Oleg Blokhin's side won the shootout 3-0. Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev all put the ball past Pascal Zuberbuehle to leave the Ukrainians looking forward to a tie with Italy in Hamburg on Friday. Chances were at a premium during the opening 90 minutes, but both teams at least managed to hit the woodwork. Andriy Shevchenko's low header bounced off the ground and onto the crossbar from a Maxim Kalinichenko free-kick. Four minutes later, it was Switzerland's turn to go close as Alexander Frei's right-footed free-kick curled on to the crossbar. In extra time both Johann Vogel and Philipp Degen went close for the Swiss, but as the 120 minutes ended scoreless, penalties were required for the first time in this edition of the FIFA World Cup
Italy 1-0 Australia
Jun 27, 2006An injury-time penalty from substitute Francesco Totti took ten-man Italy past Australia and into the last eight of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Kaiserslautern.
Totti, a 75th-minute replacement for Alessandro Del Piero, drove the spot-kick high into the net after Fabio Grosso had gone down under a Lucas Neill challenge just seconds before the final whistle. Italy had been reduced to ten men following Marco Materazzi's red card five minutes into the second half and at that stage their followers might have feared a repeat of their loss to Guus Hiddink's Korea Republic at this stage four years ago. Instead, Totti's strike leaves the Azzurri looking forward to a quarter-final tie against either Switzerland or Ukraine in Hamburg on Friday. As for Hiddink's Australia team, they can head for home proud of their performance in Germany, having reached the Round of 16 on their first outing on the world stage in 32 years.
Portugal 1-0 Netherlands
Jun 26, 2006Portugal progressed to a quarter-final against England after eliminating the Netherlands through a first-half goal from Maniche in Nuremberg.
Maniche's fine 23rd-minute goal was the high point of a match tarnished by four red cards. After Portugal's Costinha was dismissed on the stroke of half-time, three other players followed him off the field in the second period: Khalid Boulahrouz after 63 minutes, Deco after 78, and Giovanni van Bronckhorst five minutes into injury time. Portugal, who beat England in the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2004, will try to repeat that performance when the teams meet again in Gelsenkirchen next Saturday, 1 July.
England 1-0 Ecuador
Jun 26, 2006England advanced to the last eight of the 2006 FIFA World Cup as a second-half free-kick from captain David Beckham proved enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Ecuador.
Beckham had not scored a goal for England for more than three years but his superb strike on the hour in Stuttgart took his team through to a quarter-final date with either Portugal or the Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen on 1 July. It also made him the first England player to score in three separate FIFA World Cup tournaments. Ecuador, playing in the second round for the first time, missed a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the game when Carlos Tenorio broke through on goal only to see his deflected shot strike the woodwork.
Japan 1-4 Brazil
Jun 23, 2006Brazil made sure of first place in Group F as they came from behind to beat Japan 4-1 through goals from Ronaldo (2), Juninho Pernambucano and Gilberto in Dortmund.
The world champions can now look forward to a Round of 16 meeting with Ghana in Kaiserslautern on 26 June following their third straight victory at Germany 2006. For Japan, this was their second defeat in three matches and left them bottom of the section with one point. The star of the show was Ronaldo, who scored his 13th and 14th FIFA World Cup goals to move level with German legend Gerd Muller as the tournament's all-time leading scorer. He headed Brazil level in first-half injury time to cancel out Keiji Tamada's fine 34th-minute opener for Japan. Then, after Juninho Pernambucano (53 minutes) and Gilberto (59’) had struck superb goals to seize control of the match for Brazil, Ronaldo had the final word as he made it 4-1 nine minutes before the end.
Croatia 2-2 Australia
Jun 23, 2006Australia made history by twice coming from behind against Croatia to earn the point they needed to claim a place in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup.
The Socceroos lost all three games in their one previous appearance on the world stage in 1974 but a 2-2 draw with Croatia in Stuttgart was enough to secure second place in Group F and a second-round tie against Italy in Kaiserslautern on 26 June. Australia finished with four points from three matches, two clear of third-placed Croatia. On a nervy night, Croatia opened the scoring through Darijo Srna’s second-minute free-kick. Craig Moore drew Australia level from the penalty spot on 38 minutes but the balance swung back Croatia’s way when Niko Kovac’s shot was fumbled by Zeljko Zalac in the 56th minute. However, Harry Kewell struck the decisive second Australian goal 11 minutes from time.
Italy 2-0 Czech Republic
Jun 23, 2006Italy secured their qualification for the Round of 16 as Group E winners after beating the Czech Republic 2-0 in Hamburg.
Marcello Lippi's side will face the second-placed team from Group F in Kaiserslautern on 26 June. The Czechs, who head home early after finishing third in the group, played the whole second half with ten men after the dismissal of Jan Polak moments before the break following a second yellow card. Marco Materazzi, an early replacement for the injured Alessandro Nesta, put the Azzurri on course for victory when he headed past Petr Cech in the 26th minute and his fellow substitute Filippo Inzaghi sealed the three points three minutes from the end.
Ghana 2-1 USA
Jun 23, 2006Ghana's 2-1 victory over the USA in Nuremberg booked their place in the Round of 16 and left Bruce Arena's men facing an earlier than expected flight home from the FIFA World Cup finals.
The Africans took the lead in the 22nd minute when Haminu Draman robbed Claudio Reyna of possession on the edge of the area and cooly slotted the ball past Kasey Keller. Clint Dempsey's powerful finish two minutes before half-time gave the US hope of winning the match, but they were soon behind again through Stephen Appiah's penalty, scored in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half. Try as they might after the interval, the US could not find a way past a stubborn Ghana rearguard and leave the tournament after claiming just one point from their three group games. For Ratomir Dujkovic's Black Stars, however, a match with the winners of Group F in Dortmund awaits.
Netherlands 0-0 Argentina
Jun 22, 2006Argentina secured first place in Group C and a Round of 16 meeting with Mexico after a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands in Frankfurt.
The stalemate between two sides already assured of qualification left them tied on seven points at the top of the group, with Argentina finishing first virtue of their better goal difference. While Jose Pekerman's team move on to face Mexico in Leipzig on Saturday, the Dutch will play Portugal in Nuremberg.
Ivory Cost 3-2 Serbia and Montenegro
Jun 22, 2006Ivory Cost produced a stirring finale to their first-ever FIFA World Cup adventure, coming from two goals down to clinch a stunning 3-2 win over Serbia and Montenegro.
The FIFA World Cup Stadium Munich witnessed a terrific match, one of Germany 2006's best to date, and the Ivorian Elephants thoroughly deserved the victory secured by goals from Aruna Dindane (2) and Bonaventure Kalou, after earlier strikes from Nikola Zigic and Sasa Ilic had put the Serbo-Montenegrins 2-0 in front. As if that drama was not enough, there were also a couple of red cards in this match, with Albert Nadj's 46th-minute dismissal a key factor in tipping the balance in favour of a Ivory Cost side who lost captain Cyrille Domoraud in added time. Despite their first FIFA World Cup victory, Ivory Cost finish third in Group C with three points while Serbia and Montenegro go home without a point, having conceded ten goals.
Portugal 2-1 Mexico
Jun 22, 2006Portugal made it three wins out of three in Group D as they defeated Mexico 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen through goals from Maniche and Simao Sabrosa.
While Portugal advanced as group winners to face the second-placed team in Group C - either Argentina or the Netherlands - in a Round of 16 tie in Nuremberg on Sunday, Mexico joined them in the knockout stage after finishing second with four points. El Tri will take on the Group C winners on Saturday in Leipzig. The Mexicans trailed 2-0 inside 24 minutes in Gelsenkirchen after Maniche shot Portugal into a sixth-minute lead and Simao Sabrosa doubled the advantage from the penalty spot. Jose Fonseca made it 2-1 in the 29th minute but Omar Bravo's missed spot-kick in the second half ensured a defeat for Ricardo La Volpe's team. Mexico also suffered the loss of Luis Perez to a red card, which means he will miss the Round of 16 match through suspension.
Iran 1-1 Angola
Jun 22, 2006Iran ended Angola's slim hopes of qualifying from Group D, as they held the African side to a 1-1 draw in Leipzig.
Angola scored their first-ever goal at a FIFA World Cup finals when Flavio headed home Ze Kalanga's cross on the hour mark. However, their hopes of catching Mexico on goal difference were ended when Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh rose unmarked to convert Mehdi Mahdavikia's corner 15 minutes from time. The result left Angola in third place behind Portugal and Mexico with two points, while Iran propped up the table with this, their solitary point of the tournament.
Germany 3-0 Ecuador
Jun 21, 2006Germany sealed top spot in Group A in impressive style, with a Miroslav Klose brace and Lukas Podolski's first goal of the 2006 FIFA World Cup sealing an emphatic 3-0 win over Ecuador.
Both these sides had already qualified for the Round of 16 prior to this match, but it is Jurgen Klinsmann's side who will march on to the next phase in more confident mood after a performance that simply oozed self-assurance. The sell-out crowd of 72,000 at Berlin's Olympiastadion were certainly treated to a terrific showing from their side, for whom Klose - now tournament top scorer - was particularly impressive up front. Ecuador, meanwhile, opted to rest a number of the players who had helped secure victories over Poland and Costa Rica in the South Americans' previous two matches, and did not look as potent without the likes of key striker Agustin Delgado. Germany will now face the second-placed side from Group B in Munich on 24 June, while Ecuador will go head-to-head against the winner of that section in Stuttgart the following day.
Poland 2-1 Costa Rica
Jun 21, 2006Poland rescued some pride with a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica as both sides said goodbye to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Hannover.
With both sides already eliminated after two defeats, they went into this Group A match aiming to end on a high at least, and it was Costa Rica who started the better as they took a 25th-minute lead through Ronald Gomez's free-kick. However, Batosz Bosacki drew the Poles level eight minutes later and same player headed the winning goal in the 66th minute. Poland's victory means they finish third in Group A with one win and two defeats - the same record as four years ago in Korea/Japan. With three defeats, bottom-placed Costa Rica are left to dwell on their poorest return in three FIFA World Cups.
England 2-2 Sweden
Jun 21, 2006England and Sweden drew 2-2 in Cologne - a result that sends both teams through to the Round of 16 from Group B.
England's prize for topping the section is to play Ecuador in Stuttgart on 25 June, while Sweden must take on hosts Germany in Munich 24 hours earlier. Sven-Goran Eriksson's team had already secured qualification before this match and they were only denied a third successive win by a 90th-minute Henrik Larsson goal. England had gone in front on 34 minutes through a spectacular strike from Joe Cole. Marcus Allback headed the Swedes level at 1-1 six minutes into the second half but substitute Steven Gerrard restored England's advantage when he headed in their second on 81 minutes.
Paraguay 2-0 Trinidad
Jun 21, 2006Paraguay’s disappointing FIFA World Cup campaign finished on a high note as they beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Kaiserslautern's Fritz-Walter-Stadion.
The Soca Warriors, meanwhile, depart Germany without a win or goal to their name, and yet the pride of Leo Beenhakker’s team remains firmly intact, with tonight’s gallant defeat typical of their energetic, courageous performances throughout their debut tournament. Much of this match was, in fact, dominated by a T&T side who fell behind to the most unfortunate of opening goals, headed past his own, helpless goalkeeper by Brent Sancho in the 25th minute. The second half provided entertaining and competitive fare, and saw Paraguay weather a sustained Soca storm before securing their only points of the tournament with a coolly-taken 86th-minute winner from Nelson Cuevas.
Spain 3-1 Tunisia
Jun 20, 2006A second-half turnaround saw Spain come from behind to register a 3-1 over Tunisia in Stuttgart and consequently book their place in the Round of 16.
The African team got off to a great start when Jaouhar Mnari opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Roger Lemerre’s side held the lead until half-time when his counterpart Luis Aragones made a bold double substitution. Luis Garcia and Marcos Senna were replaced by Raul and Cesc Fabregas and the pair were extremely influential in Spain’s equalising goal. With 71 minutes gone, Fabregas’ shot was parried by Ali Boumnijel and into the path of Raul who gratefully slotted the ball home. A brace from Fernando Torres, taking his tally in the tournament to three, gave Spain the victory. It leaves them on top of Group H, three points clear of their nearest challengers Ukraine and five points clear of Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
Saudi Arabia 0-4 Ukraine
Jun 20, 2006Ukraine made amends for their disappointing start to Group H when they defeated Saudi Arabia 4-0 in Hanover.
Oleg Blokhin’s side, who had suffered defeat by the same scoreline to Spain in their opening match, look desperate to make amends in this match and began in the best possible manner. Andriy Rusol fired Ukraine ahead in the fourth minute, while a Serhiy Rebrov wonder strike double their advantage on 36. Andriy Shevchenko headed a third just seconds after the restart, while Budweiser Man of the Match Maksym Kalinichenko got the goal his performance deserved six minutes from time.
Togo 0-2 Switzerland
Jun 20, 2006Switzerland surged to top of Group G with a convincing 2-0 win over Togo in Dortmund on Monday, 19 June which leaves the Helvetians leading the section on goal difference.
Victory was secured by goals from Alexander Frei and Tranquillo Barnetta in the 16th and 88th minute respectively, the second of which took Kobi Kuhn's side clear of Korea Republic by a single goal. All the Swiss now need is a point against Dick Advocaat's Taeguk Warriors to guarantee their place in the last 16. Togo, though impressive in flashes, could have few complaints at surrendering all three points, and Otto Pfister's side remain without a point and anchored to the bottom of a group in which Switzerland and Korea both lead on four points from France, who have two.
France 1-1 Korea Republic
Jun 19, 2006Korea Republic fought back to earn a 1-1 draw with France as Park Ji-Sung cancelled out Thierry Henry's first-half opener in Leipzig.
The point salvaged here put the Koreans top of Group G, at least until the end of Monday's match between Togo and Switzerland in Dortmund. The evening began promisingly for Les Bleus when Thierry Henry scored their first FIFA World Cup goal since the 1998 Final with nine minutes on the clock. However, Korea Republic drew level when Park bundled the ball over the line in the 81st minute. To compound France's disappointment, Eric Abidal and Zinedine Zidane both collected bookings which rule them out of their final group game against Togo.
Brazil 2-0 Australia
Jun 19, 2006Brazil booked their place in the Round of 16 after overcoming a tough challenge from Australia with a 2-0 win in Munich.
The FIFA World Cup holders took the lead four minutes into the second half through Adriano but they had to survive one or two nervy moments before substitute Fred sealed the victory with a tap-in in the 90th minute. Brazil's second Group F win secured their advance to the second round with a game to spare, while Australia are well poised to join them, holding a two-point advantage of Japan and their next opponents Croatia.
Japan 0-0 Croatia
Jun 19, 2006It was a story of frustration for Japan and Croatia as they played out a goalless draw in Nuremberg.
The pivotal moment of the match came in the 22nd minute when Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi saved Darijo Srna's penalty, although Croatia were also breathing a sigh of relief when Atsushi Yanagisawa missed when it seemed easier to score early in the second half. The result left Japan rooted to the foot of Group F with one point and Croatia ahead only on goal difference in third place. It will hardly help the mood in either camp that both teams will be without key players for their third matches after Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto and Croatia's Robert Kovac collected their second yellow cards of the tournament.
Mexico 0-0 Angola
Jun 17, 2006A brave performance from ten-man Angola saw them hold Mexico to a goalless draw in their Group D meeting in Hanover.
Angola, who lie 53 places below El Tri in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, frustrated the Mexicans due to a combination of some resolute defending and some superb goalkeeping from Joao Ricardo. The Palancas Negras' task was made even harder when they had Andre sent off in the 79th minute, but the African side held firm to register their first ever point in the FIFA World Cup finals.
Netherlands 2-1 Ivory Coast
Jun 17, 2006The Netherlands booked their place in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup as goals from Robin van Persie and Ruud van Nistelrooij earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Côte d'Ivoire in Stuttgart.
Their second win in Group C means the Dutch advanced with a game to spare, along with Argentina who also have six points after beating Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 earlier in the day. Côte d'Ivoire, like the Serbo-Montenegrins, can go no further in this tournament but they certainly pushed the Dutch all the way. After Van Persie's 23rd-minute free-kick opener, Van Nistelrooij doubled the Dutch lead four minutes later but the Ivorians hit back through a spectacular Bakary Kone effort and threatened an equaliser on more than one occasion.
Argentina 6-0 Serbia and Montenegro
Jun 17, 2006Argentina gave a fearsome show of attacking strength as they swept aside Group C rivals Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 in Gelsenkirchen.
Jose Pekerman's team equalled their record FIFA World Cup win against Peru from 1978 against opponents they had, coincidentally, dismantled by the same score at the 2004 Olympic Football Tournament. More importantly, the victory took them a big step closer to the second round, while leaving Serbia and Montenegro’s hopes hanging by a thread. The flow of goals began in the sixth minute with Maxi Rodriguez and after Esteban Cambiasso had doubled the lead in the 31st minute, Rodriguez struck again to make it 3-0 ten minutes later. There was no respite for Serbia and Montenegro after the break as, following the dismissal of Mateja Kezman, Hernan Crespo hit Argentina's fourth in the 78th minute. Substitutes Carlos Tevez (84') and Lionel Messi (88') completed the scoring in the final ten minutes.
Sweeden 1-0 Paraguay
Jun 16, 2006Freddie Ljungberg's 88th-minute header earned Sweden a 1-0 victory over Paraguay in Berlin.
Ljungberg's strike leaves the Scandinavians strongly positioned to take second place in Group B, three points above Trinidad and Tobago going into their game against leaders England. For Paraguay, however, the late goal spelt heartbreak, ending their hopes of progressing to the second round.
England 2-0 Trinidad
Jun 16, 2006England secured their place in the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago but they left it late before striking through Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard.
Crouch broke the deadlock in Nuremberg with a headed goal in the 83rd minute and his Liverpool team-mate Gerrard added a superb second in the 91st minute. England, who welcomed back Wayne Rooney as a second-half substitute, have taken six points from their two Group B matches while Trinidad and Tobago remain on one point.
Ecuador 3-0 Costa Rica
Jun 16, 2006Ecuador made history by beating Costa Rica 3-0 in Hamburg to qualify for the knockout rounds of the FIFA World Cup for the first time.
Carlos Tenorio, Agustin Delgado and Ivan Kaviedes scored the goals that secured the South Americans' progress from Group A. Their victory means that they and hosts Germany become the first two teams to book their places in the last 16 - and ends Costa Rica and Poland's hopes of advancing. Luis Suarez's men did not look back after taking an eight-minute lead through Carlos Tenorio's header. Agustin Delgado doubled the advantage with a fine near-post finish on 54 minutes and Ivan Kaviedes volleyed the third goal two minutes into added time.
Germany 1-0 Poland
Jun 15, 2006A last-gasp goal from substitute Oliver Neuville gave Germany their second successive Group A victory against Poland in Dortmund.
Germany, who had been frustrated for the vast majority of the match through a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Artur Boruc, were grateful when the Borussia Monchengladbach man side-footed home in the first minute of added time. The result does not guarantee the hosts qualification for the Round of 16, but it leaves them with one foot in the knockout stages.
Saudi Arabia 2-2 Tunisia
Jun 15, 2006An injury-time header from Radhi Jaidi rescued a point for Tunisia as they drew 2-2 with Group H rivals Saudi Arabia in Munich.
Jaidi struck two minutes into added time just as Saudi Arabia were contemplating a fine comeback victory. Trailing to Zied Jaziri's 23rd-minute goal, the Saudis drew level through Yasser Al Kahtani's fine near-post finish in the 57th minute and then thought they had taken all three points with substitute Sami Al Jaber completed a sweeping move with a cool finish six minutes from time.
Spain 4-0 Ukraine
Jun 15, 2006Spain made a dream start to their 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign with a 4-0 victory over Group H rivals Ukraine in Leipzig.
Having waited as long as any team to get their campaign under way, Spain raced out of the starting blocks and were two goals in front inside 17 minutes as Xabi Alonso headed a 13th-minute opener before David Villa doubled the advantage. If Ukraine thought things could not get any worse they were wrong as they lost Vladyslav Vashchuk to a red card just two minutes into the second half after conceding a penalty for a challenge on Fernando Torres. Villa tucked away the spot-kick and Torres completed the scoring with a spectacular half-volley with nine minutes remaining.
Brazil 1-0 Croatia
Jun 14, 2006Brazil defeated European challengers Croatia 1-0 in an enthralling Group F encounter in Berlin.
The current holders of the FIFA World Cup Trophy and their legions of colourful fans provided entertainment both on and off the pitch but they were made to work hard for their victory by a well-organised Croatia side. After both sides enjoyed a series of half-chances, the goal which proved to be decisive was of the highest order. A minute before the interval, AC Milan midfielder Kaka curled a left-footed shot past Stipe Pletikosa and into the top left-hand corner of the net. The win gave Brazil their eighth consecutive success in FIFA World Cup matches.
France 0-0 Switzerland
Jun 14, 2006There was once again no separating France and Switzerland as they played out a goalless draw in their opening 2006 FIFA World Cup match in Stuttgart.
The Group G rivals drew both their meetings in the European qualifying round and recent history repeated itself here in a match of few clear-cut scoring opportunities. The closest either side came was when Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta's free-kick bounced back off a post and Alexander Frei failed to convert the rebound. The Stuttgart stalemate leaves the European neighbours two points beneath the early group leaders Korea Republic, 2-1 winners over Togo earlier in the day. It also leaves France without a FIFA World Cup goal in the four finals matches they have contested since winning the Trophy in 1998.
Korea Republic 2-1 Togo
Jun 14, 2006Ahn Jung-Hwan turned back the clock four years with a spectacular winning goal as Korea Republic came from behind for a 2-1 victory over ten-man Togo in their opening Group G match in Frankfurt.
Surprise semi-finalists in 2002, the South Koreans looked like they might suffer a taste of their own medicine when Togo, on their FIFA World Cup debut, took a 31st-minute lead through Mohamed Kader. But after Jean-Paul Abalo's 53rd-minute dismissal, Lee Chun-Soo swept home the ensuing free-kick 60 seconds later before Ahn revived memories of his extra-time winner against Italy in 2002 with Korea Republic's second goal 18 minutes from time.
Italy defeated Ghana
Jun 13, 2006Italy defeated African first-timers Ghana 2-0 in an exciting Group E fixture in Hanover.
A Ghana team making their FIFA World Cup debut contributed richly to the spectacle but Italy's greater know-how told as they won through goals from Andrea Pirlo and substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta. After both sides had missed a succession of chances, Pirlo broke the deadlock with a shot through a crowded penalty area after 40 minutes. Iaquinta sealed the win after latching onto Samuel Kuffour's underhit back-pass with seven minutes remaining.
Czech Republic defeated USA
Jun 13, 2006The Czech Republic started their Germany 2006 campaign in style with a 3-0 win over the USA in Gelsenkirchen.
Jan Koller gave the Czechs a dream start in the opening match in Group E by heading them in front after five minutes and Tomas Rosicky doubled their advantage with a superb swerving strike in nine minutes before the break. Despite the setback of losing Koller to a hamstring injury, Karel Bruckner's men retained their grip on the game and Rosicky sealed the three points with his second goal on 76 minutes.
Portugal defeated Angola
Jun 13, 2006Pauleta's fourth-minute goal proved enough for Portugal to overcome the challenge of Angola in the Africans' first ever FIFA World Cup match in Cologne.
Portugal's record goalscorer struck early to secure the three points for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, who now sit second in Group D after the first round of matches, behind Mexico on goal difference.
Germany v Costa Rica
Jun 09, 2006World Cup hosts Germany open the tournament in Munich - and are without talismanic captain Michael Ballack.
Chelsea's new signing picked up a calf strain in the 3-0 friendly win over Colombia on 2 June and the injury has prevented him from training. Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann is likely to use Tim Borowski as Ballack's replacement in central midfield with Bastian Schweinsteiger on the left. Former Derby striker Paulo Wanchope is set to lead the Costa Rica attack.
Germany (Team): Lehmann, Lahm, Nowotny, Mertesacker, Friedrich, Schweinsteiger, Frings, Borowski, Schneider, Podolski, Klose.
Costa Rica (Team): Porras, Umana, Marin, Gonzalez, Sequeira, Martinez, Solis, Centeno, Fonseca, Gomez, Wanchope.
Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)
Fans prepare for World Cup 2006
Jun 09, 2006Football fans across the globe are ready for the opening of the 18th World Cup in Germany on Friday.
England join holders Brazil and 30 other teams in competing over the next month for the game's ultimate prize. Hosts Germany take on Costa Rica in the tournament's opening game, which kicks off at the 59,000-capacity Allianz Arena in Munich A further 63 games will take place before the winners are crowned after the final in Berlin on 9 July. The second game of the competition - Poland v Ecuador - will take place immediately after the Germany match on Friday
The first match will be preceded by an opening ceremony in which more than 150 players who have won the World Cup, including Pele and Diego Maradona, will be on display. Pele, a World Cup winner in 1958, 1962 and 1970, will carry the trophy on to the pitch of the futuristic Munich stadium, and he will be accompanied by German supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Organisers are expecting about one million people to visit Germany for the tournament, with as many as 100,000 of those from England.
Eriksson mulls gamble over Rooney
Jun 08, 2006England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is ready to risk the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson and plunge Wayne Rooney into the World Cup group stages.
The 20-year-old will play no part in Saturday's opener against Paraguay. But it is understood Eriksson has not ruled out Rooney playing against Trinidad and Tobago or Sweden if he feels he is fit. Such a move may infuriate Ferguson, with England and the Manchester United boss at odds over Rooney's recovery. Rooney returned to the team hotel on Wednesday after being given medical clearance to take his place in England's official World Cup squad.
Djibril Cisse out of cup with broken leg
Jun 07, 2006Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is out of the World Cup after breaking his right leg in France's friendly against China on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old was knocked off balance by a defender 10 minutes into the game and fell, his right leg twisting under him and buckling above the ankle. Cisse, who had been tipped to leave Liverpool this summer, had immediate surgery on a fractured tibia. Cisse, who broke his left leg while playing for Liverpool in October 2004, had been linked with a move to Marseille after the World Cup. He will now spend the closed-season recovering from his operation, with an eye on returning to action some time in 2006-2007.
In the game itself, Cisse was replaced by David Trezeguet, who went on to score France's opener. The French won the game 3-1. Ex-Arsenal and Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka, now of Fenerbahce, and Barcelona's Ludovic Giuly are in line to replace Cisse in the French squad.
Wayne Rooney gets World Cup green light
Jun 07, 2006Wayne Rooney has been included in Sven-Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad. Rooney appears to have won the race to prove his fitness after breaking a metatarsal in his right foot while playing for Manchester United in April.
He flew back to Germany to re-join the England squad landing at Karlsruhe near Baden-Baden He had earlier spent two hours at a Manchester clinic while doctors studied the results of Wednesday's scan. If Rooney is in the squad it will send the unfortunate Jermain Defoe of Tottenham, who had been on standby, back to England.
Steven Gerrard sits out England training
Jun 07, 2006England midfielder Steven Gerrard did not train with the squad on Wednesday because of the back problem that forced him out of Tuesday's session.
The 26-year-old has a stiff back, but officials are confident he will be fit for Saturday's opener against Paraguay. David Beckham, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Gary Neville all continued in full training after making their return from niggling injuries on Tuesday.
In stark contrast to Tuesday's session, which was watched by hundreds of German schoolchildren, England enjoyed a private session, with television cameras only allowed into the opening warm-up exercises. Terry, who caused a slight scare on Tuesday after going down heavily after a challenge from Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge, looked comfortable as he and the squad went through a series of stretching exercises.
Rooney poised for metatarsal scan
Jun 06, 2006England fans are braced for the outcome of a scan that will determine whether striker Wayne Rooney can play at the World Cup finals in Germany.
Rooney, 20, will return from England's base near Baden-Baden on Wednesday for a scan on his fractured metatarsal. The scan is scheduled to take place in Manchester early in the afternoon. If doctors from Manchester United and England are happy with the result then Rooney will return to Germany to continue his rehabilitation.
Ronaldo fit for Brazil Cup opener
Jun 06, 2006Ronaldo will be fit for Brazil's World Cup opener against Croatia on 13 June, despite a mystery foot problem.
Before the friendly with New Zealand, Real Madrid sent Ronaldo some old boots as it was thought new ones were causing blisters and pain, but they persisted. Japan and Australia are the other teams competing in Group F. The 29-year-old, who was the top scorer at the 2002 finals, with eight goals, missed the end of the Spanish domestic season because of injury.
Claudio Reyna passed fit for USA opener
Jun 06, 2006Claudio Reyna has been declared fit for the USA's first World Cup group game against the Czech Republic.
The Manchester City midfielder came through a behind-closed-doors friendly against Angola which the USA won 1-0. It was the 32-year-old captain's first outing since injuring his hamstring against Morocco on 23 May. Reyna, who sat out the opening game in 2002 with a quadriceps strain, has scored eight goals in 110 international appearances. And coach Bruce Arena was never in any doubt his on-field leader would be fit in time for the start of the tournament.
England squad arrive in Germany
Jun 05, 2006England's footballers have arrived at their luxurious hotel base in Germany for the World Cup finals.
British Airways flight BA9200C from Luton touched down at 1700 BST and the players were taken to the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe near Baden-Baden. Wayne Rooney travelled with the squad on the plane renamed Pride of the Nation, but he returns to Manchester on Wednesday for a scan on his metatarsal. England play their first game against Paraguay in Frankfurt on 10 June.
Michael Ballack missed training with a calf strain
Jun 05, 2006Germany's preparations for the opening game of the World Cup hit a glitch on Monday when captain Michael Ballack missed training with a calf strain.
A German Football Association spokesman said Ballack missed the team session and trained on his own, but played down the significance of the incident.
Failing World Cup refs face axe
Jun 05, 2006Referees chief Keith Hackett says officials who fail to implement Fifa's eight-point hit-list will be ruthlessly dealt with at this summer's World Cup.
Fifa has told referees to get tough on several high-profile areas of concern, including diving and time-wasting. The International Football Association Board - football's ultimate law-making body - met in early March and told referees to clamp down on elbowing, reckless tackling, shirt pulling, time-wasting and diving. It also urged referees to be vigilant over behaviour in the wall at free-kicks, players wearing jewellery and the attitude towards officials.
The need for consistency is vital. Fifa president Sepp Blatter said it is paramount there is better refereeing in 2006 than in the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea. With that in mind, the 23 World Cup referees have been meeting regularly in the build-up to ensure they are all of the same mindset. Fifa hopes the meticulous preparation will mean the usual cries of inconsistent refereeing and confusion over the application of laws do not plague Germany 2006.
In previous tournaments many games have finished with 10 against 11, or worse, but Hackett is confident the powers-that-be have done all they can to get their message across. However, he warned coaches that they still have a big responsibility to make sure their players know exactly what to expect. Hackett is also convinced that England players - and English-based players - have an advantage because Premiership referees have been following the guidelines all season.
Brazil beat New Zealand
Jun 04, 2006Brazil convincingly won their only international World Cup warm-up match against New Zealand in Geneva.
Real Madrid striker Ronaldo struck just before the break to set the world champions on their way against inexperienced opponents in Switzerland. And the gap in class told in the second half as the All Whites fell away.
Inter Milan striker Adriano doubled the advantage on 51 minutes before AC Milan playmaker Kaka and Juninho Pernambucano of Lyon added late goals. It was the fourth match of a European tour for coach Ricki Herbert's team and followed a loss to Hungary, a draw against Estonia and victory over Georgia.
Park doubtful for South Korea warm-up
May 31, 2006Ji-sung Park is a doubt for South Korea's World Cup warm-up match against Norway in Oslo on Friday after spraining an ankle in training.
The Manchester United midfielder picked up the injury in a collision with Tottenham's Lee Young-pyo at Rangers' training ground, Murray Park.
"At the moment, it looks like he has sprained his left ankle," team doctor Kim Hyun-chul said.
Dick Advocaat's side complete their warm-up against Ghana on 4 June.
Eriksson optimistic after victory
May 30, 2006England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said there was more to come from his team after they beat Hungary 3-1 in their World Cup warm-up on Tuesday.
"Hungary were even better than I thought, a good side and technically very good," Eriksson told
Captain David Beckham said his England team-mates did well to overcome a stubborn Hungary side.
"I felt good, that's my job to set goals up and I was lucky to have a few chances. We finished them off well," said the Real Madrid star.
"We needed to get this game under our belts because after 20 minutes it was more difficult than we thought.
"They stayed back off us and gave us more time on the ball at the back but in the last minutes of the first half we started to break them down well.
"We knew if we pushed them hard in the second half we would break them down.
"The manager and Steve McClaren said at half-time we need to press them higher - if we push them higher we can break them down."
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard said he enjoyed playing an attacking role in midfield, scoring the opening goal two minutes into the second half.
Brazil coach defends preparations
May 29, 2006Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has defended his side's decision to play just one warm-up match against New Zealand ahead of the World Cup finals.
The holders have not played a game since the beginning of March when they took on Russia in a friendly.
But Parreira has hit back at fears they will lack match practice ahead of their opener against Croatia on 13 June.
The Brazil coach used Colombia as an example of a side which headed into the finals in 1994 with high hopes only to crash out in the first round.
Parreira has so far used junior opponents to provide training opposition, and saw his team rattle up a 13-1 victory over the youth side of Brazilian club Fluminense on Sunday, with Robinho netting four times.
The only international friendly they are scheduled to play before the finals in Germany is against New Zealand in Geneva on 4 June.
Harry Kewell will be fit for World Cup
May 28, 2006Australia striker Harry Kewell expects to recover from his groin injury in time for the start of the World Cup.
Kewell, 27, has joined up with his team-mates at their training camp in Holland after missing the 1-0 win over Greece in Melbourne last Thursday.
Kewell was injured during Liverpool's win over West Ham in the FA Cup final and he is likely to miss Australia's warm-up games against Holland on 4 June and Liechtenstein on 7 June.
But he should be ready for the World Cup opener against Group F rivals Japan on 12 June before the Socceroos then face Group F rivals Brazil and Croatia.
Wayne Rooney waiting for scan verdict
May 26, 2006Wayne Rooney will discover whether he has a chance of playing in the World Cup finals when he learns the result of the scan on his broken foot on Friday.
The Manchester United striker underwent an MRI scan on the injury on Thursday.
Specialists will analyse the images with United doctor Tony Gill before informing England doctor Leif Sward.
Eriksson said he had not spoken to Rooney since he had the scan at the BUPA hospital in Whalley Range, Manchester.
Fifa has imposed a deadline of 30 May for England to indicate whether Rooney is likely to be fit to play.
However, if Rooney broke down with the foot injury between 30 May and 9 June coach Sven-Goran Eriksson would still be able to replace him in his squad.
Stone, who had been at Old Trafford for 10 years, has liaised with Sward and given him updates on the 20-year-old striker's condition over the past few weeks.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been playing down Rooney's hopes of playing in the World Cup while Sward has always remained positive following his consultations with United's medical staff.
USA defender Gibbs out of finals
May 26, 2006United States defender Cory Gibbs has been ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury.
The 26-year-old sustained the injury in his side's friendly against Morocco on Tuesday, and tests have suggested he will be out for a month.
Energie Cottbu defender Gregg Berhalter has been called up as a replacement for Charlton signing Gibbs.
Premiership side Charlton have signed Gibbs on a pre-contract basis from Dutch club Feyenoord and are seeking a work permit.
Injured Del Horno hit by Cup fear
May 25, 2006Spain defender Asier del Horno is in danger of missing the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in training.
The 22-year-old joined Chelsea for £8m from Basque club Athletic Bilbao in June 2005.
Borras had better news over the injury to Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado.
Spain play their first game at the World Cup finals in Germany against Ukraine on 14 June.
Ballack injured in practice game
May 25, 2006Germany captain Michael Ballack suffered a minor injury in his side's World Cup practice match against Servette Geneva's under-18 team.
Instead Chelsea's new signing may just miss a couple of days training.
Germany won the game 12-0 with coach Juergen Klinsmann able to use 20 of his 23-man World Cup squad.
Neville in for injured Reo-Coker
May 22, 2006Nigel Reo-Coker has withdrawn from England's World Cup stand-by list and will be replaced by Phil Neville.
Troubled by a persistent back problem, West Ham captain Reo-Coker was forced out of England training on Tuesday.
Everton utility player Neville will join Scott Carson, Michael Dawson, Jermain Defoe and Andrew Johnson on England's five-man standby list.
The stand-by list is in case any of the main squad are injured before England's first game against Paraguay on 10 June.
Ukraine's Fyodorov to miss finals
May 22, 2006Ukraine suffered a World Cup blow as versatile defender Sergiy Fedorov was forced to pull out with a hip injury.
Ukraine already have injury concerns over striker Andriy Shevchenko, who has a knee injury, and goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky, who has a neck problem.
But both have been named in the 23-man squad for Ukraine's World Cup debut.
Shevchenko damaged his knee earlier this month in Serie A action for AC Milan against Parma but is optimistic he will be fit to lead his country's line in Germany.
Ukraine, who are in the same group as Spain, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, have embarked on a training camp in Turkey.
They return to Kiev to play the first of four pre-tournament friendlies on Sunday 28 May against Costa Rica before heading to Switzerland to fine tune their preparations.
Schwarzer out for rest of season
April 24, 2006Middlesbrough keeper Mark Schwarzer is set to miss the rest of the season after fracturing his cheekbone.
The 33-year-old Australian was injured during Sunday's 1-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of West Ham.
Schwarzer was hurt in an aerial clash with Hammers striker Dean Ashton just before half-time and he will undergo corrective surgery on Monday.
Schwarzer, who is key to Australia's hopes of success at the World Cup in Germany, could be back in light training wearing a protective mask in two weeks.
In the meantime, Boro have recalled fellow keeper Ross Turnbull from his loan spell at Championship side Crewe.
Eriksson positive over injuries
April 22, 2006England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is confident four key players will recover from injury in time for the World Cup.
Michael Owen, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Ledley King have been sidelined, but Eriksson is happy with the progress they are making with their injuries.
Arsenal duo Cole and Campbell, plus Newcastle's Owen, will play before the end of the season.
Eriksson hinted Spurs defender King is the biggest doubt, but is refusing to rule him out of the finals.
Defender Cole had played just once in six months before a reserve team outing this week, but Eriksson is relieved to see him on the mend.
Owen included in Newcastle squad
April 21, 2006Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has been included in the Magpies' squad to face West Brom on Saturday.
Owen, 26, has been out since New Year's Eve when he fractured a metatarsal against Spurs at White Hart Lane.
His is a surprise inclusion but it is understood he is unlikely to figure and has only been included to get him involved with the first team again.
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will be keen to see Owen get games under his belt before the World Cup in June.
Eriksson must name his squad by 15 May, while his team's World Cup campaign begins against Paraguay on 10 June.
Roeder revealed on Friday that Owen was progressing well and, although he has named him in his squad for the match against the Baggies, he expects his playing return a week later at Birmingham.
Holland unveil preliminary squad
April 21, 2006Dutch coach Marco van Basten has named a preliminary 33-man World Cup squad - with no place for Roy Makaay.
Bayern Munich forward Makaay appears to have lost out to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
The 22-year-old has scored 33 goals in 34 matches this season for Heerenveen and Ajax, who paid more than £6m for the striker in January.
Van Basten, who has named eight English-based players in his squad, has until 15 May to name his final squad of 23 players.
Goalkeepers: Patrick Lodewijks (Feyenoord), Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Henk Timmer (AZ Alkmaar).
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (HSV Hamburg), Wilfred Bouma (Aston Villa), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Barcelona), Tim de Cler (AZ), Urby Emanuelson (Ajax), Kew Jaliens (AZ), Jan Kromkamp (Liverpool), Joris Mathijsen (AZ), André Ooijer (PSV), Barry Opdam (AZ), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord).
Midfielders: George Boateng (Middlesbrough), Mark van Bommel (Barcelona), Phillip Cocu (PSV), Edgar Davids (Tottenham Hotspur), Nigel de Jong (HSV Hamburg), Denny Landzaat (AZ), Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax), Rafael van der Vaart (HSV Hamburg).
Forwards: Ryan Babel (Ajax), Romeo Castelen (Feyenoord), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax), Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord), Martijn Meerdink (AZ), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Chelsea), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV).
Beckenbauer hits out at Klinsmann
Mar 6, 2006Germany boss Jurgen Klinsmann has been criticised by Franz Beckenbauer for snubbing a World Cup coaches workshop.
Beckenbauer, head of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, claimed Klinsmann should spend more time in Germany rather than at home in California. Other leading managers such as England's Sven-Goran Eriksson and Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira attended the workshop, while Klinsmann chose to remain in the United States. Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with West Germany in 1990, has long been criticised for his decision to continue flying back to his Californian base and recent poor results have not helped.
Last Wednesday, Germany lost 4-1 to Italy in Florence and the German media ridiculed Klinsmann's ambition to win the World Cup this summer.
"After the 4-1 in Italy it was necessary for him to be here to pick up the pieces," Beckenbauer said. "If he sees it differently then he must live with the criticism." Despite Germany's indifferent results Beckenbauer believes home advantage could be the key for the hosts.
"There are technically better teams, but we can compensate for that," said Beckenbauer. "We are not in the position to compete in Italy or other places but it is different at home."
Beckenbauer was in charge the last time Germany, then in the guise of West Germany, won the World Cup in 1990.
Andrade is ruled out of World Cup
Mar 6, 2006Deportivo La Coruna's Portugal international defender Jorge Andrade will miss the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery.
Andrade severed a tendon in his knee in colliding with Depor keeper Jose Molina in the 3-2 defeat at Barcelona.
The 27-year-old is expected to be out for six months and Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said: "His injury is terrible news for us." Portugal have been drawn in Group D alongside Mexico, Iran and Angola.
Scolari will make the gesture of allowing Andrade to be part of the competition by inviting the defender to travel to Germany with the squad. Portugal's Brazilian coach said: "If he wants, he can still accompany us in Germany because he is still part of our team."
Eriksson drops hint over Carrick
Mar 5, 2006England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said Michael Carrick may start in midfield but it would depend on the opposition.
"Maybe in some games I would pick Carrick ahead of Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard in order to have a real sitting midfielder," revealed Eriksson. Carrick, 24, started against Uruguay on Wednesday in the absence of Lampard.
Tottenham midfielder Carrick was used in a holding role against the Uruguayans, allowing Gerrard more opportunity to push forward. Ledley King has also been used in the holding midfield position, while Newcastle's Scott Parker is another player who specialises in that role.
But Eriksson believes that eventually Lampard, 27, or Gerrard, 25, will fulfil the holding midfield role for England. Meanwhile, Eriksson is not concerned that his skipper David Beckham's club concerns will effect his World Cup preparations.
The resignation of Florentino Perez as president of Real Madrid has raised doubts about Beckham's future in Spain. "David Beckham can handle all sorts of problems and pressure," said Eriksson. "I don't think he will be worried about that playing in the World Cup."
Beckham, 30, has one more season left on his current contract at Real. And Eriksson added that he felt it would be better for the player if his situation was resolved before the World Cup finals in Germany this summer. "In general, it's better that these things are solved before a World Cup, whether a player moves between clubs or stays at the same club," said the England boss.
Blatter slams World Cup ticketing
Mar 5, 2006Fifa president Sepp Blatter has criticised the ticketing arrangements for this summer's World Cup in Germany.
The handling of sales by the German Football Association has frustrated Blatter, who wants Fifa to take control for the 2010 finals in South Africa.
"The Germans have chosen a system that I don't understand at all," he told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag. "I don't know how many meetings we've had about it. We're just not making any progress with the German FA."
He added: "I don't understand it. I distanced myself from it from the start but in the end I'm guilty anyway. In South Africa 2010 we'll take over the ticketing again." The 3.3 million tickets are embedded with microchips and issued to individuals, who will face recognition scanners at the stadiums' turnstiles. And, while Blatter thinks the system is too intricate, organisers say it is for security reasons.
The idea is to eliminate stolen or counterfeit tickets as well as keeping ticket brokers or others from inflating the price. "In Germany they have to really try if they want to recreate what happened in 2002 in South Korea or in 1998 in France," said Blatter. "They have to prove that the World Cup will be as good as the expectations."
FA moves to secure deadline delay
Mar 4, 2006England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will step up his efforts to get Fifa to delay the deadline for World Cup squad selection at talks in Dusseldorf.
Eriksson will raise the matter at a meeting of World Cup coaches taking place on Monday and Tuesday.
The present 15 May deadline falls before England's final warm-up games. And Football Association executive director David Davies said: "We have some confidence there is considerable support among the nations taking part."
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has hinted the deadline could be extended and he told a news conference in Lucerne, Switzerland: "This deadline has been fixed but it's a question for the organising committee of the Fifa World Cup and this will be on the agenda for their meeting of 15 March and we will discuss it then." Germany's Jurgen Klinsmann supports Eriksson's proposal and the Swede claims he also has the backing of Holland boss Marco van Basten in a request to push the date back closer to the opening of the World Cup on 9 June.
The current deadline is more than three weeks before England's opener against Paraguay but also falls before the Champions League final. England's last two warm-up matches before Eriksson names his 23-man party are against Hungary and Jamaica.
Eriksson said ahead of England's friendly with Uruguay: "The date is too early and I know a lot of other coaches are not happy with it. "We will bring it up at the coaches workshop and I'm confident it will be changed."
Damage found at England Cup venue
Mar 1, 2006Constructors of Frankfurt's World Cup stadium, which hosts England's opening group game, have reported damage to the venue's structure.
England face Paraguay on 10 June in Frankfurt, with the new stadium already suffering from a leaky roof. Sections of cement on a supporting column cracked open and were discovered by constructors on Wednesday.
"Two sections the size of a palm have crumbled apart," said Istvan Tyukodi of construction company Max Boegl and Co. He said the damage was spotted on the supporting column about 40 metres above the ground on the outside wall of the stadium. The stadium's roof was unable to keep out the rain as it should in two incidents in the last year.
Work began on upgrading Eintracht Frankfurt's famous Waldstadion in 2002 and lasted three years. The new Waldstadion will host five matches, including a quarter-final.
Italy will wait on Totti injury
Feb 20 2006Italy coach Marcello Lippi has vowed to give Francesco Totti as much time as he needs to recover from a serious calf injury ahead of the World Cup. The Roma captain has undergone surgery after breaking his left fibula on Sunday, with early estimates being that he will be out for up to three months.
However, Lippi has not ruled the 29-year-old out of his plans, saying: "He is a very important player for us. "We will do everything to allow him to recover in time. We'll wait for him."
World Cup safety fear after alert
Feb 17 2006Safety fears have been raised at one of this summer's World Cup venues after a security alert at Middlesbrough's Uefa Cup tie with Stuttgart in Germany.
A burst pipe in a kitchen caused an alert 30 minutes before kick-off. Announcements at the stadium were made in German, with no translation, meaning many Boro fans remained in their seats during the evacuation.
The stadium will be used for six World Cup matches and England could play there if they win their group. The Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion was only about a quarter full for the Boro match, but is likely to hold a capacity crowd for the World Cup matches. German organisers insist their stadia are safe after they were heavily criticised in a recent report by the consumer group Stiftung Warentest.
The group raised worries about lack of emergency exits and steep terracing at some of the venues.
Fifa executive in Cup ticket row
Feb 16 2006Vice-president Jack Warner has been judged to have violated Fifa's code of ethics over his involvement with selling 2006 World Cup tickets. He may be suspended from the organisation at a meeting on 16-17 March after being found guilty of a conflict of interest over ticket sales.
His family's travel agency were given the rights to sell Trinidad and Tobago's entire allocation. However, Warner himself brought the matter to the attention of Fifa.
Warner receives Trinidad call-up
Feb 10 2006Trinidad & Tobago coach Leo Beenhakker has handed a first call-up to Fulham keeper Tony Warner for the World Cup warm-up against Iceland on 28 February.
The Dutch coach has selected five new faces including the 31-year-old Warner. Swindon's Ricky Shakes, defenders Nigel Henry and Anthony Noreiga and the left-sided Kevon Neaves are also in. The Soca Warriors will make their World Cup finals debut in Germany and will play England, Sweden and Paraguay in Group B.
Squad to face Iceland: Shaka Hislop (West Ham), Clayton Ince (Coventry), Tony Warner (Fulham); Cyd Gray (Jabloteh), Marvin Andrews (Rangers), Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham), Avery John (New England Revolution), Anthony Noreiga (Kansas City Wizards), Nigel Henry (unattached); Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Aurtis Whitley (Jabloteh), Silvio Spann (unattached), Kevon Neaves (University of South Florida), Carlos Edwards (Luton Town), Ricky Shakes (Swindon Town); Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC), Russell Latapy (Falkirk), Stern John (Coventry), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton), Collin Samuel (Dundee United).
England fans handed ticket boost
Feb 08 2006World Cup organisers are to give the Football Association an extra 5,300 tickets for England's three group matches in Germany.
The FA will have a total of 14,000 tickets for matches against Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden.
The tickets will be sold to members of the official England supporters' club, rather than put on general sale.
"This is great news for England fans and the result of intensive lobbying by the FA," said FA chief Brian Barwick.
Beckenbauer backs England hopes
Feb 03 2006Franz Beckenbauer believes England are the "best team in Europe" - but insists Brazil are favourites to win the World Cup in Germany this summer.
The German legend was in London to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair as part of his visits to all countries taking part in the 2006 tournament. Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player and manager and is chairman of the organising committee for the 2006 tournament, has been impressed with England. Beckenbauer believes the confirmation that coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is leaving after the World Cup will not affect England's chances.
He announced he would step down as his country's coach several months before leading them to victory in the 1990 tournament.
World Cup boost for Oxford star
Feb 02 2006Oxford United star Leo Roget could get a surprise call-up to the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup squad.
Manager Brian Talbot revealed that an enquiry had been made about the 28-year-old central defender, who qualifies to play through his father.
"Leo has done very well for us, and I did talk to someone from Trinidad regarding his availability," Talbot told the club website. "It would great for him. Let's hope someone comes to watch him."
Woodgate aims for World Cup place
Jan 31 2006Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate is not ready to give up on his World Cup dream and has set his heart on getting into the England squad.
After missing the whole of last season with a thigh injury, the 26-year-old former Newcastle defender still thinks he can make the plane to Germany. Woodgate was set to return to the England squad for the friendly against Argentina in November but had to withdraw after pulling his hamstring. He played his first La Liga match for three weeks in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo after a calf strain. Woodgate, who signed for Madrid for £13.4m in August 2004, has made only five England appearances since his debut against Bulgaria in 1999.
Bierhoff commits to German set-up
Dec 18, 2005Oliver Bierhoff has agreed to stay on as team manager of the German national side after the 2006 World Cup. Bierhoff will extend his deal with the German Football Federation by a further four years until 2010. "I will sign until 2010 rather than 2008 as we originally planned," he told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. But the future of Jurgen Klinsmann is still undecided because the German coach says it hinges on the hosts' performance at next year's World Cup.
England settle on World Cup base
Dec 16, 2005The England team will be based at the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe - a luxury hotel in the Black Forest - for their World Cup campaign next summer.
The hotel is close to the spa town of Baden-Baden and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "I'm delighted. "It is so important that we have the right base camp as this will be the players home and set the atmosphere as we prepare for all of our games. "We have already identified a training ground five minutes from the hotel." The hotel has 90 rooms and Eriksson is happy with its location in relation to England's group stage fixtures. "We are within a good travelling distance to the venues we have been drawn to play against during the group phase," Eriksson told the Football Association website. "Additionally, we have the beautiful spa town of Baden-Baden only a few miles away which has a marvellous atmosphere with some wonderful restaurants and cafes. "I'm already very excited about the World Cup next summer and now the draw has been made and we've chosen our hotel, I can't wait for the tournament to begin. "Hopefully this hotel will be the launch pad for us to achieve success in Germany."
England face another Sweden test
Dec 9, 2005England have been drawn against Paraguay, Sweden and Trinidad & Tobago in the 2006 World Cup finals group stage next summer. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson faces another meeting with fellow countrymen Sweden, who England have not beaten in 37 years, after the draw in Leipzig. England's opening game will be against Paraguay in Frankfurt on 10 June. There is a mouth-watering confrontation between two of the favourites, Holland and Argentina, in Group C. England follow the game with Paraguay with a game against Trinidad and Tobago in Nuremberg on 15 June and then the final group game against Sweden five days later in Cologne. Eriksson's side were the first to be drawn out after hosts Germany and holders Brazil in the draw. And the game against Sweden is a repeat of their meeting in the 2002 World Cup in Saitama, Japan, which ended in a 1-1 draw. England's opponents in the last 16, if they were successful in the group stage, would come from Group A. Germany are the favourites in Group A and open the tournament against Costa Rica in Munich on 9 June before facing Poland and Ecuador. Brazil will kick off their defence of the World Cup against Croatia, and will also face Australia and 2002 hosts Japan in Group F. Boss Eriksson was accompanied by Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick and executive director David Davies as part of the England delegation. England World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst was also in a star-studded audience, which included Pele, Holland legend Johan Cruyff and former Cameroon striker Roger Milla.