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World Cup Soccer Tournament

SPORTS
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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SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
June 26, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Portugal, venturing where no Portuguese national team has gone since the days of the great Eusebio, today finds itself in the quarterfinals of soccer's 2006 World Cup. It is there because of the skills of a brilliant midfielder named Maniche, who scored a textbook goal against the Netherlands on Sunday night, after which he and his teammates made it stand up for a 1-0 victory.
SPORTS
June 26, 2006 | Chuck Culpepper, Special to The Times
Here's an update on England's highly amusing David Beckham debate: He scored a majestic goal against Ecuador on Sunday, lending steam to the Beckham defenders, who last week had grown muffled, outnumbered and even mocked for their startlingly low intelligence quotients.
SPORTS
June 25, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Bullfights at least have one redeeming feature. If the bull battles bravely against the inevitable, it deserves to be dispatched with the cleanest and quickest of blade thrusts. On a steamy Saturday night, Mexico was the bull and Argentina the matador. And the blade was a triple-edged sword -- Lionel Messi to Juan Pablo Sorin to Maxi Rodriguez.
SPORTS
June 24, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Now it gets serious. Soccer's 2006 World Cup moves into a new phase today when the 16 remaining teams of the original 32 embark on the knockout phase. From tonight, when Germany plays Sweden and Mexico plays Argentina, until the July 9 final in Berlin, it's a matter of win or be eliminated. Said England defender John Terry: "It's cutthroat now."
SPORTS
June 24, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Ukraine doesn't care how it got to the second round. Tunisia was furious at the way it was knocked out. Despite a lackluster performance, a disputed penalty shot by Andriy Shevchenko lifted Ukraine to a 1-0 victory over Tunisia on Friday at Berlin, making the World Cup newcomers the first former Soviet republic to reach the tournament's second round. Ukraine needed only a tie to advance, barring a blowout by Saudi Arabia over Spain in the other Group H match.
SPORTS
June 24, 2006 | Chuck Culpepper, Special to The Times
A global city plus an ongoing World Cup equals a hundred pockets of magic, and you never know when you might happen upon one. So you can watch Brazil finish up against Japan on the TV at the gym, finish a brief conversation about Ronaldo's plumpness, presume the night's other match is finished, walk out idly into the piazza as it fades toward sleep at 10 p.m., turn the quiet corner thinking of nothing at all, and ... An abrupt roar, blaring out of some tavern mid-block. Passersby stop.
SPORTS
June 23, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Marco Materazzi knew he had a tough task ahead when called on to replace injured Alessandro Nesta early in a game that could have decided whether Italy would stay alive at the World Cup. But Materazzi came through to send Italy to the second round. Materazzi headed in a corner kick in the 26th minute to help Italy win Group E with a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday and avoid a second-round matchup with Brazil.
SPORTS
June 22, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
The wheels didn't come completely off Mexico's World Cup wagon Wednesday, but they held up just barely long enough for Coach Ricardo Lavolpe's team to wobble into the round of 16. Consider these miscues, all in the space of a 90-minute, 2-1 loss to Portugal: * Mexico gave up a penalty kick when its highest profile player, defender Rafael Marquez, inexplicably reached up to knock the ball away with his hand on a Portuguese corner kick.
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