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World Cup Soccer Tournament

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June 29, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Derek Boateng might not realize just what a prize it was that he landed this week. Boateng, a midfielder for Ghana at the World Cup, played limited minutes off the bench, but he did play for the last half-hour against Brazil on Tuesday. And when the final whistle had sounded, when the Brazilians had accomplished their 3-0 victory, Boateng, in time-honored soccer tradition, exchanged jerseys with Cafu.
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SPORTS
June 29, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
FIFA President Sepp Blatter continued his criticism of the referees in the World Cup. On a day when two senior referees, Graham Poll of England and Valentin Ivanov of Russia, were not given any more assignments, Blatter said: "I've noted that instructions aren't being followed consistently from one match to another. When a coach complains to me that shirt-pulling earned his player a yellow card one night and nothing for his team's group rivals the next, how am I supposed to respond?
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June 29, 2006 | Chuck Culpepper, Special to the Times
Sure, England's four World Cup matches thus far have lacked verve, cohesion, intrigue, boldness, quality, stamina and the merest hint of a pulse, but the wondrous national mania over those deficiencies has overshadowed another fault: lack of resentment. That's about to change, and none too soon, as there's a limited patience in sport before the roiling, mutual-fan resentment that ranks among its charms appears.
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June 28, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
The fat man sang Tuesday, but that doesn't mean it's all over. Defending champion Brazil, powered by goals from Ronaldo, Adriano and Ze Roberto, swept into the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup with a fault-free 3-0 victory Tuesday over Ghana in a game in which the South Americans seldom had to move into a higher gear.
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June 28, 2006 | From the Associated Press
French fans had not celebrated with such abandon in a World Cup stadium since 1998. Then again, Zinedine Zidane had not played a game like this one in eight years. They're not ready to throw his retirement party just yet. The French captain set up the deciding goal Tuesday night, then scored one of his own minutes later to lead France to a 3-1 win over hard-luck Spain. Zidane, who is retiring after this World Cup, scored two goals in the 1998 final to beat Brazil.
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June 28, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Some Americans are telling Bruce Arena to think before he speaks. Four years ago, U.S. Coach Arena lauded Major League Soccer as a reason for the Americans' run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Now, some think he's trying to blame the 11-year-old league for a first-round exit from Germany 2006. "I think it's ridiculous," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "If I were him, I'd take a deep breath and think about what I say before I criticize anyone in American soccer."
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June 27, 2006 | Chuck Culpepper, Special to The Times
You picture the national soccer coach of England, and I don't know, you just picture some sort of venerable, weather-beaten, charismatic figure with a quick eloquence and a knighthood just around the bend if only he can win a World Cup or maybe get close. Then you arrive in England, you see Sven-Goran Eriksson on TV, and you see him again, and again, and still you say, "That's their coach?"
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June 27, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Robinho will not play for Brazil against Ghana today in the second round of the World Cup because of a right thigh injury. The striker, who had medical tests in Cologne, Germany, after being injured in Saturday's training, is not seriously hurt, the Brazilian Soccer Confederation said Monday in Bergisch Gladbach. "It was a small problem. I'll continue treatment and, God willing, I will be available for next Saturday's match if Brazil gets past Ghana," Robinho said.
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June 27, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Jakob "Koebi" Kuhn sat alone on Switzerland's bench Monday night, tight-lipped and holding back the tears. What can you say to a 62-year-old coach whose team has played four games at the 2006 World Cup, not given up a single goal and yet has been eliminated? Not far away, Ukraine Coach Oleg Blokhin was being tossed in the air by his players, who moments before had stared defeat in the face after their icon, Andriy Shevchenko, had missed a penalty kick.
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June 27, 2006 | GRAHAME L. JONES
The Aussies should have known it would end this way. It was inevitable. The seed for Australia's 1-0 World Cup defeat by Italy on Monday on a blatantly incorrect penalty kick awarded by Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo in the final seconds was sown in South Korea four years ago. Monday's devastating blow to the Socceroos was a makeup call. Anyone with any suspicion of just how things are manipulated at soccer's highest level, including the outcome of games, needs only to look back to 2002.
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