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World Cup Soccer Tournament

SPORTS
June 30, 2006 | From the Associated Press
English referee Graham Poll, who showed a Croatian player three yellow cards before sending him off in a World Cup match, is quitting international refereeing. The experienced Premier League referee told Britain's Sky Sports television Thursday that he had considered retiring from all soccer after his blunder, which meant a Croatian player stayed on the field three minutes longer than he should have in a group stage game against Australia.
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SPORTS
June 30, 2006 | Chuck Culpepper, Special to The Times
The England-versus-Portugal melodrama still sits one day off, yet already we have a winner. Rampaging and cunning, dreaded and loathed, able to puncture a defense like no force left in the World Cup, this winner is the astonishing British press, unbeaten for eons save for a tabloid lawsuit settlement here and there. Even Deco, the Portugese midfielder, noted the dynasty's ferocity.
SPORTS
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.
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?
SPORTS
June 29, 2006 | Jonathan Abrams, Times Staff Writer
The U.S. World Cup coach said it bluntly, and soccer analysts agreed. For Landon Donovan to raise his game, he must leave Major League Soccer and play in a more competitive atmosphere, mainly in Europe. Donovan, a 24-year-old forward, has taken much of the blame for the U.S.' poor performance at the World Cup in Germany. Many said that Donovan's play lacked aggression in the U.S.' three games, which resulted in a tie, two losses and a first-round exit.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
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."
SPORTS
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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