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World Cup Soccer Tournament

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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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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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