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World Cup Soccer Tournament

July 8, 2006 | Christian Retzlaff
Despite their team's missing the announced target of reaching the World Cup final, Germans keep backing Coach Juergen Klinsmann. A poll by TV news channel N-TV showed 89% of 12,000 people surveyed supported Klinsmann staying on as national coach. His popularity might be better measured by an Internet auction due to close Tuesday. Klinsmann's vintage Volkswagen Beetle turned up for sale on EBay. The posting said the VW was "to be picked up in Stuttgart, Southwest Germany, no delivery."
July 8, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Forwards Francesco Totti and Luca Toni were among seven Italians on the 23-man World Cup All-Star squad, which also included Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry of France. The squad, selected by FIFA's Technical Study Group, was announced two days ahead of the championship match between Italy and France. Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso also made the team from Italy, and Lilian Thuram was a fourth French player.
July 7, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The Islamic militia movement that controls Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, arrested two members for killing two people who were watching a World Cup soccer match, the group's leader said. The two allegedly shot a teenage girl and a businessman who defied their orders to stop watching a Tuesday match. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys said the group had not officially banned TV. The fighters will be charged with manslaughter under Islamic law; punishment could include compensation for the victims'
July 7, 2006 | Paul Brownfield, Times Staff Writer
Soccer, to the neophyte, is a terrifically dull TV sport. Unlike the NBA playoffs, say, or the Super Bowl, television resists the game -- the players often look far away, and nothing ostensibly happens until someone scores a goal, which can take anywhere from one to 120 minutes to happen. It's a chess match between two armies of men who alternately advance and retreat toward opposing goals. Sometimes during this, they make contact with one another and pretend they've been shot.
July 7, 2006 | From the Associated Press
FIFA President Sepp Blatter is worried that this year's World Cup might end up the lowest-scoring ever, and he wants to figure out ways to "make football more attractive again." The 2006 World Cup has averaged 2.27 goals per match so far, a shade above the record low of 2.21 from 1990. This year's average would dip below that if no goals are scored in Saturday's Germany-Portugal third-place game and the France-Italy final Sunday. "The football isn't that bad, but there aren't enough goals....
July 6, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
It is too much, obviously, to expect one World Cup to produce two great semifinals. What France and Portugal offered here Wednesday night was a pale reflection of the drama that Italy and Germany had provided 24 hours earlier. That semifinal had electricity, it had tension, it had quality. This one had very little.
July 6, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
The third-place playoff will remain a World Cup fixture because, at least according to soccer's governing body, the losing semifinalists still have something to play for. "There's still a high value in that match," FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said Wednesday, the morning after Germany lost, 2-0, to Italy in a semifinal.
July 6, 2006 | Tracy Wilkinson, Times Staff Writer
These are bittersweet days for Italian soccer fans. Into the wee hours of Wednesday, tens of thousands of Italians coursed through their city streets in raucous celebration of Italy's Tuesday-night victory over Germany, a win that put the blue-shirted national team into the World Cup final.
July 5, 2006 | Grahame L. Jones, Times Staff Writer
Italy has some tremendous soccer players, the sort who never give up, never stop running, never stop seeking ways to win. All of that was evident Tuesday, when Italy overcame Germany and almost 65,000 German fans at the caldron of noise that is Westfalen Stadium in a World Cup semifinal that crackled with tension and that was not decided until overtime itself had all but expired.
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