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NOTES

Aragones Says He'll Stay

July 01, 2006|From Times Wire Reports

Spain Coach Luis Aragones said Friday he would remain in charge, despite a promise to quit if his team was eliminated early from the World Cup.

Aragones said he would stay until the European Championship in 2008 after meeting with Spanish soccer federation officials.

Until its 3-1 loss to France in the second round Tuesday, Spain had not lost in 26 games. Still, it has been an underachiever and Aragones promised he would quit if the team missed the semifinals.

He reiterated that promise Wednesday upon returning from Germany, saying, "It's clear that I'm the most guilty that we're leaving so early."

On Friday, it was a different story.

"The federation said it is happy with my work," Aragones told reporters.

*

Brazil defender Lucio enters today's quarterfinal match against France with a chance to surpass the mark for most consecutive minutes played in a World Cup without committing a foul.

Lucio has not been called in Brazil's first four matches and is 23 minutes from passing the mark set by Paraguay defender Carlos Gamarra, who in 1998 spent 383 minutes without allowing a free kick.

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The Czech Republic's soccer federation announced it had decided to sign a two-year contract with Coach Karel Bruckner, whose current deal expires after the World Cup.

Under Bruckner, the Czechs are 37-8-8, reached the semifinals of the European Championship in 2004 and qualified for their first World Cup.

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Forward Michael Owen will travel to Colorado on Monday for surgery on the knee he damaged in England's 2-2 tie against Sweden.

The Newcastle striker, injured for most of last season, hopes to return "as soon as possible in the new year," his club's website said. Owen will spend as long as two weeks rehabilitating in the U.S.

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