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2006 World Cup Score Board & News Central [Closed]
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: News From England Reply with quote

X, I have no idea, but I don't think the same two teams can play each other twice in the official World Cup, though maybe they can play first friendly matches and then "for real". I really don't know enough about the rules.

In the meanwhile, here's an article about the English soccer team (who only won the World Cup once in all its history, as I understand it).

England's Soccer Fans Expect the Best but Await the Worst

England hasn't advanced past the quarterfinals of the World Cup since 1990

LONDON, May 29 — Will Wayne Rooney's broken foot heal in time for the second round? Can Sven-Goran Eriksson, the laconic Swedish coach, pull his nervous, egotistical players together? Will Melanie Slade, the 17-year-old girlfriend of the 17-year-old forward Theo Walcott, crumble under the pressure of having her figure and her fashion sense dissected daily by the tabloids?

Such are the questions consuming England's soccer team before the World Cup, which begins June 9 in Germany and the outcome of which will lift, or destroy, a nation's fragile sense of self-worth. But amid the soap opera that is soccer here — the large personalities, the even larger paychecks, the outfits, the injuries, the tantrums, the expectations — lies a hard, sobering truth: England, for all its bluster, has won the tournament only once, in 1966.

That was 40 years ago, when Harold Wilson was prime minister and shillings were a legitimate form of currency. Since that great, shining day, English fans have been forced to hedge their expectations, approaching every World Cup with the brittle hopefulness of the chronically disappointed.

"They always invent new arguments to persuade themselves that this time they can do it, when form and logic show that it's highly unlikely," said John Carlin, a British soccer writer and the author of "White Angels: Beckham, Real Madrid and the New Football." Describing the importance of soccer, Carlin quoted Bill Shankly, the former Liverpool coach: "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

Soccer here is a three-ring circus, a zoo, a metaphor, a way of life. As a result, England's indifferent record in the sport's showcase event requires its supporters to perform an emotional high-wire act every four years, simultaneously holding two competing notions in their heads.

One: This will be the year their team finally realizes its massive potential and wins.

Two: Their team never wins.

This year, England's chronic angst is compounded by two facts. The first is that the tournament is being played in Germany, home of its bitterest rival and agent of some of its biggest defeats. In 1990, England lost a heartbreaking match to Germany in a penalty-kick shootout in the World Cup semifinals. In fact, after England's greatest victory over Germany — its 4-2 extra-time victory in the 1966 final — 24 years passed before the English beat the Germans again in a major competition.

The second problem is Rooney's foot. Rooney, a prodigy who rose from the rough streets of Liverpool to become a star at Manchester United, is England's most talented scorer and its greatest hope. But last month he broke a metatarsal bone in his right foot, and on Friday he was ruled out for the first round of matches.

Every day there have been conflicting reports, anguished speculation, hope on the heels of despair. Rooney's coach in Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson, described it as "folly" and a "wild dream" to expect Rooney to be available, while Eriksson, the England manager, said he was "very positive" that Rooney would play at some point. But Rooney's teammate Gary Neville, who took 21 weeks to recover from a similar injury, said this month that "as it stands, we have to plan for Wayne not being available."

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that Eriksson requested a scan of Rooney's injured foot be moved up one week, to June 7, presumably to give him the opportunity to replace Rooney on England's roster if he will be unable to play. Teams are allowed to replace injured players up to 24 hours before their first game, which in England's case is against Paraguay on June 10.

Meanwhile, Eriksson is to leave his post after the World Cup, throwing the team into further instability. A seemingly inoffensive, even dull, Swede, Eriksson is known as much for his vigorous love life — his curious relationship with Nancy Dell'Olio, his indeterminately aged, perma-tanned, tight-outfit-wearing girlfriend, as well as his affairs with various other women, all of whom have been happy to discuss them publicly — as he is for the serene blandness of his public remarks and for his managing skills, or lack thereof.

The search for a replacement has been embarrassing. The top choice, the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, coach of the Portuguese national team, abruptly withdrew his candidacy in April. Scolari had been unnerved, he said, by the 20 British reporters who camped outside his house and rang his doorbell while he was having dinner with his family.

"If that is part of another culture, it's not part of my culture," he said. "I don't like this pressure, so I will definitely not be coach of England."

It was unclear whether that was the whole story — and in any case, "the press hadn't even begun to hound him," Simon Hattenstone wrote in The Guardian — but Scolari was right to be nervous. British newspapers, and glossy gossip magazines with names like Hello!, Ok!, Heat, More, and Now are obsessed with the team's private lives.

No detail is too small, too mundane or too prurient, from the supposed affair between the team's handsome captain, David Beckham, and his former personal assistant (she sold the story, for hundreds of thousands of dollars); to the relative stylishness and cellulite levels of the players' wives and girlfriends; to the party Beckham and his wife, the former Posh Spice, gave a week ago Sunday night in their country mansion, known as Beckingham Palace.

Despite months of planning and the hiring of a band of Gurkha guards to keep gatecrashers away, the party "barely sputtered into life after a catalogue of disasters," The Daily Mail reported with some glee. "With her dreams crashing around her, Victoria Beckham reportedly flew into a screaming fit."

Meanwhile, the paper said, "injury-hit Rooney appeared sullen and refused to wave at autograph-hunters."

Trying to control the news-media madness, Steve McClaren, hired as Eriksson's replacement after Scolari fell through, told a newspaper that he had had a brief affair with a former secretary — placing the story himself so as to avoid its being ferreted out by reporters digging for dirt.

Because whatever dirt there is, English reporters will find it. It was big news several years ago when a birthday party Rooney held for his girlfriend, Coleen McLoughlin, descended into an inebriated brawl, with the couple's relatives openly slugging each other on the dance floor. It was big news, at least in the photographic sense, when defender Rio Ferdinand recently unbraided the manly cornrows he usually wears, unveiling an unruly cloud of cotton-candyesque hair.

The most recent excitement was Eriksson's decision to include on the World Cup roster Walcott, a forward of endless promise who was signed by Arsenal but has yet to play in a Premier League match.

"It's a big gamble, I know it is," Eriksson said, with characteristic understatement. "I am excited to see him. He's a big talent."

As the team prepares for its final few weeks of training, it is trying to put on its happiest face. "I think we will win it," Eriksson said recently.

Evoking a hopeful parallel, The Observer of London described the prediction as "echoing the optimism of Sir Alf Ramsey, who forecast England's 1966 World Cup win from the day he was appointed to manage the team three years earlier."

And Michael Owen, an English striker, beseeched the fans not to treat the team as "glorious losers."

"If you keep drilling that into everyone, that we're perennial losers and all that," he said, "you're not doing any favors for us, that's for certain."

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject: England and Germany Reply with quote

Hooliganism and violence during soccer matches is a big problem. In 1998, a cop was very seriously injured by hooligans. The British authorities are quite right to pull the passport of anyone known for vandalism and violence.

As to the Hitler imitations - how bad taste can you get? Rolling Eyes

June 2, 2006
London Journal
It's Springtime for Soccer, and for Rowdy England Fans

LONDON, June 1 — They have been warned, as always, not to rampage through the streets, destroying things and attacking people. But as England's soccer fans prepare to visit Germany for the World Cup this month, another item has been added to their long "verboten" list: Don't mention the war.

Don't try this in Germany, British officials tell World Cup fans: John Cleese mocks Hitler on "Fawlty Towers."

"It's not a joke," Charles Clarke, then the home secretary, warned at a pre-World Cup briefing earlier this spring. "It is not a comic thing to do. It is totally insulting and wrong."

That means, basically, no getting drunk and goose-stepping in a would-be humorous manner. No Nazi salutes. No shouting "Sieg Heil!" at the referees. No impromptu finger-under-the-nose Hitler mustaches.

"Doing mock Nazi salutes or fake impersonations of Hitler — that's actually against the law in Germany," Andrin Cooper, a spokesman for the Football Association, which administers English soccer, said in an interview.

Even something as simple as wearing an ersatz German war helmet could violate German laws against inciting hatred and glorifying extremism, Mr. Clarke said at the briefing.

"The reason why the German Parliament passed these laws was because the era we are talking about was one of total horror and destruction in Germany," he continued. "Anyone who thinks it's entertaining to get involved in this sort of thing, I absolutely urge them not to do so."

The authorities in both countries have developed elaborate programs to ensure that England's fans behave themselves in Germany when the competition begins June 9. Some 3,200 people with histories of violence and hooliganism have been required to surrender their passports and are forbidden to leave Britain during the tournament.

Dozens of British officers are being dispatched to Germany to help keep order. Some English players have recorded advertisements exhorting the fans to respect their hosts, and fans' groups have arranged various communal activities with their German counterparts. One group plans to visit Auschwitz.

Getting the English to refrain from obnoxious references to World War II should be easy enough. The war ended more than 60 years ago. The Germans themselves seem to have moved on. Even Europe, with its history of chronic internecine conflict, has pulled itself together and found a common purpose, at least theoretically, in the European Union.

But for some perverse reason — intellectual laziness; the tendency of British schools to teach German history through the prism of the Nazi era; a yearning for a simpler time, when Britain had an empire and a clear set of enemies — many England fans seem stubbornly unable to let go of Germany's past.

"There's clearly more than 100 years of martial conflict between the two nations, and sport has a nasty habit of mixing up events off the pitch with events on the pitch," Matthew Perryman, a spokesman for the official England fans' club, said in an interview. (Pitch is English, real English, for soccer field.)

This obsession manifests itself in ways that are funny, infantile or offensive, depending on perspective.

England beat Germany, 5-1, in 2001, and gloating at the games in Germany is preferred to insults.

During Germany-England matches, for instance, the fans like to sing the theme from "The Dam Busters," a 1954 film about how English bombers destroyed German dams during the war. Employing accompanying hand gestures, they perform a song called "Ten German Bombers," the upshot of which is that all the airmen are shot down.

They also shout "Stand up if you won the war!" and "Two world wars and one World Cup!" at the German fans. The second is a reference to the last (and only) time England won the World Cup, in 1966.

Perhaps the British are jealous of Germany's general postwar success.

"German supporters would be within their rights to respond 'Twice as many hospital beds and three times as many World Cups,' " or, alternatively, "Higher G.D.P. per capita than you," Paul Hayward wrote some years ago in The Daily Telegraph, in an earlier incarnation of the same debate.

Mr. Perryman suggested that there are plenty of non-Nazi-related ways to irritate the Germans, including bringing up England's 5-1 defeat of Germany in 2001, an incident that at the time inspired several British newspapers to use the headline "Don't Mention the Score."

"You know our joke in Germany," Mr. Perryman related, chuckling. " 'What time is it? Five to one!' "

Soccer-related Teutoniphobia does seem to reflect the resentments, fears and prejudices of society at large.

This is a country where Prince Harry, the queen's grandson, dressed as a Nazi officer at a costume party last year. It is a country where The Daily Mirror, reporting on the 1996 European soccer championships, used the headline "Achtung, Surrender!"

It is also the place where, in 2004, Richard Desmond, owner of the Express Newspaper group, greeted executives from the Telegraph Group, then facing a possible takeover by a German company, by saying "Guten Morgen" in a German accent.

As the executives looked on, agape, Mr. Desmond then asked them whether they were looking forward to being "run by Nazis." He swore and shouted at them, and goose-stepped around the room, emulating a Hitler mustache with his finger.

Britain's awkwardness on the subject was lampooned most famously in a television episode of "Fawlty Towers," when Basil Fawlty, the hotelier played by John Cleese, tries to attend to a group of German guests after suffering a concussion.

"Don't mention the war," he tells his staff, even as he descends into a xenophobic frenzy, repeating the Germans' lunch order of a prawn cocktail, pickled herring and four cold meat salads as "a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Göring and four Colditz salads," and then high-kicking his way around the dining room, à la Hitler.

"So it's all forgotten and let's hear no more about it!" he says of Germany's wartime past. But somehow, he keeps bringing it up. When the Germans ask him to stop, Basil says that they started it.

"We did not start it," one says.

"Yes, you did," he replies. "You invaded Poland."

Mr. Perryman, the fan club spokesman, noted that Mr. Cleese was making fun of English attitudes — not of Germany.

"The argument we've been having with the fans is, 'If you want to go to Germany and all you want to do is sing "The Dam Busters" and "Ten German Bombers" and the rest of it, then don't be surprised if you're not the most welcome guest at the party.' "

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: News From England Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
X, I have no idea, but I don't think the same two teams can play each other twice in the official World Cup, though maybe they can play first friendly matches and then "for real". I really don't know enough about the rules.

It's possible. I've confirmed it by playing around with the scoreboard. Wink
It's quite simple. In group matches, a team can afford to lose one game and still come in one of the top two spots.

For example, Germany could beat Costa Rica, another team and loses to Poland. CR loses to Germany, but beat two teams. Both teams advance to the next round. From there, if the two teams continue to win, they'll have to face each other eventually. When they do, there's possibility that CR can beat Germany.

This scenerio is very unlikely, though all possible, because FIFA makes a point of not putting top seeded teams in the same groups. We'd never see Germany and Brazil start out in the same group.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually Fifa went further than that in arranging matches. When top seeded teams, eg Brazil and Germany, get out of group matches, they land in spots in R16 that are not facing each other. Then, winners of those matches still end up in spot not facing each other in QF. (Then, I got tired of testing the scenerios. super grin )

In conclusion, you're guarantee to have interesting showdowns between the titans in as higher stake games as possible!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Overview Reply with quote

World Cup 2006
If Not Brazil, Who?
The Argentines have historically been loaded with talent, from Diego Maradona to their current teenage phenomenon, Lionel Messi. They beguile with their feet, their heads and, in the case of Maradona, their hands. And, of course, they win: two World Cups and two second-place finishes. So why are they so loathed? Could it be because the team has more drama queens than "Desperate Housewives" — players who dive and fake injuries when someone sweats a little too close to them? Or because they often mistake an opponent's legs for the ball (they earned a tournament-high 45 yellow and 4 red cards in 18 qualifying matches)? But skill trumps chicanery, and Argentina has plenty of the former. In addition to Messi, there are the predatory goal scorers Hernán Crespo and Carlos Tevez, and the artful playmaker, Juan Román Riquelme. Those skeptics can decry Argentina all they want — they're likely to end up with huevos on their faces.

To call Brazil the favorite is to say that Gisele Bundchen is a bit of a looker. They are not just favored to win, they are favored to dazzle while doing it. So overwhelming are the odds for Brazil to capture its sixth World Cup that conspiracy theorists are out-contorting David Blaine to come up with a reason not to hand the Cup to the Brazilians before they step onto the field. They point out that except for Brazil's victory in Sweden in 1958, all the World Cups in Europe have been won by European teams, and that the Brazilians will not have the benefit of South American referees who would be likely to protect them from European defenders who figure their best chance to stop them sambaing through the penalty area is to force-feed them a turf sandwich. What they conveniently overlook is that all of Brazil's starters play their club ball in Europe, so they are hardly strangers to these thuggish tactics. If Brazil has any reason to fret, it is simply that you are only allowed to put 11 players on the field at one time, which means that several world-class performers will have to sit; the question is, will they sit happily? From their smiling assassin, Ronaldinho, FIFA's World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, to the pick-your-poison cast of attackers featuring Ronaldo, Robinho, Kak'a, and Adriano, no team comes close to matching the Brazilians' wealth of trickery allied with speed. Don't expect anyone to rain on their carnivale.

The Czechs are one of the few teams that refuse to genuflect to Brazil. After all, in that other beautiful game — supermodel supremacy — they've long since encroached upon Brazilian dominance, and it's somehow fitting that their soccer has gotten prettier, too. Since the Velvet Divorce, which split the country into the Czech and the Slovak republics 13 years ago, the once dreary, mechanical Czechs have acquired the verve and sophistication of their stylish capital, Prague. Technically assured, the current Czech team is also long on height, from the man-mountain 6-foot-8 striker, Jan Koller, to the imposing 6-foot-5 goalkeeper, Petr Cech. But no one embodies the new Czech spirit more than Pavel Nedved, he of the silky blond locks and even silkier skills. Coaxed out of retirement from international competition, the aging (33) but charismatic Juventus midfielder still dictates the Czechs' rhythm, and he can unleash thunderbolts with either foot. Nedved is known as the Czech Cannon, and he's their best shot at dethroning Brazil.

Only six weeks ago, England was a halfway-decent bet to win the World Cup. Many bookmakers had them as second favorites. Wayne Rooney, the team's 20-year-old savior, even went all Joe Namath on the British media. "Of course, we're going to win the World Cup," he boasted, neglecting to mention his track record: reports of $1.3 million in gambling debts. Then he broke his rapier right foot, and four years after England prayed for the recovery of David Beckham's glamorous metatarsal, the country finds itself once again kneeling down to ask that a famous foot be healed. Actually, two. Rooney's strike partner Michael Owen is still recovering from a broken metatarsal. The lame attackers have forced lame-duck coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to roll the dice on the warp speed of the 17-year-old prodigy Theo Walcott, whom he has never seen play live. Yet with the formidable midfield tandem of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, to say nothing of Beckham's bendalicious prowess, the English should have little trouble in the first round. As for winning their first World Cup in 40 years, all bets are off.

The good news is that the French can hardly do worse than they did four years ago, when they arrived as defending champions and departed three games later — winless, goal-less, joie-less. Then as now, they relied heavily on the talismanic presence of Zinédine Zidane, a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and the linchpin of Real Madrid's famed galácticos. Having hobbled away from international competition in 2004, Zidane un-retired last year after all of France begged him to return as Les Bleus struggled to qualify for Germany. "God is back," said Thierry Henry, a celestial talent in his own right. But the question remains: has Zidane, now 33, gone from galáctico to geriatrico? And how many of his fellow countrymen — like Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram, 33 and 34, respectively — have also passed their sell-by dates? It falls to the great Henry, a sprightly 28, to ignite the French attack, but although he has been electrifying with Arsenal, his professional team, he has yet to display the same form for France. Sacré Bleus!

The only thing that's receding faster than coach Jürgen Klinsmann's hairline is the host country's faith in him. After five years of failing to beat a single world-class team, Germany turned to its former national hero and asked him to re-engineer the team's once proud soccer machine from a panzer into a BMW roadster. Instead of endurance and impregnability, he demanded adaptability and speed, off-loading battle-tested veterans in favor of untried youngsters like the fabulously named midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Out went captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, and in stepped rival Jens Lehmann, who recorded six consecutive shutouts for Arsenal in the Champions League (before being ejected in the final). The calm center of the team remains intact, however, bolted down by the ever dangerous Michael Ballack. Still, it seems unlikely that Klinsmann's kinder have the mettle to restore the Germans to soccer prominence, but there is one thing going for them: they get to play in their own haus.

With the Italians, you don't know whether to laugh or cry. For years, the Azzurri have sung the blues about the injustices they've suffered at the hands of corrupt foreign referees. How ironic, then, that a match-fixing scandal has implicated their own World Cup referee, as well as all sorts of Italian suits. It's as if the soccer gods dropped a dead fish into the lap of Italy's World Cup prospects, just when those prospects looked so promising. Led by Luca Toni, who scored an astonishing 31 goals in Serie A this year, the Azzurri have successfully shed their stultifyingly defensive style in favor of a more wide-open attacking game full of flair and speed, tearing apart Germany, 4-1, in a recent World Cup tuneup. That this was accomplished without the operatic soul of the team, Francesco Totti, the Roma star known for his pretty chip shots and petty cheap shots, augured especially well for the Italians. And just as the country's rabid fans were ready to hail the return of their hero from a broken leg, the scandal has left them more hysterical than a Puccini heroine. On the other hand, because Italy is in the same group as the U.S., its woes could be buona fortuna for the Americans.

Generally believed to be the best country never to have won the World Cup, Holland has always been one of the most colorful teams in the tournament — literally. From their wildly entertaining Total Football of the 70's to the brilliance of their stars of the 80's and 90's — Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard — the neon-orange-clad Dutch just can't seem to make it to the other side of the rainbow. They've lost in two World Cup finals. But in the last decade or so, Holland has earned a new reputation: as a self-defeating collection of arrogant divas who are riven by racial strife and prefer looking flashy on the field to actually winning. This year, at least, under van Basten's calm direction, the team looks once again to be a contender. He'll have plenty of world-class players to call on, including the lethal attacking trio of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart, yet somehow you just can't help feeling that the Oranje will have their hopes crushed.

In the past half-century, Spain has yet to escape the quarterfinals, and in 1982 the team suffered the madre of all humiliations when, as host of the tournament, they crashed out in the second round. How to explain that a country boasting two of the world's most glamorous clubs — Real Madrid and Barcelona — has never produced a team worthy of its audacious talent? Could it be the Goalkeeper Curse? In 1998, their veteran keeper Andoni Zubizarreta sent his team packing with a spectacularly embarrassing gaffe. Four years later, Santiago Cañizares, attempting to make a save on a bottle of dropped cologne, tore a tendon and had to be replaced. This time around, sure-handed keeper Íker Casillas will no doubt go fragrance-free. But if the Spaniards, led by the teenage sensation Cesc Fábregas and their prodigious goal scorer, Raúl, need any extra incentive to finally realize their potential, they recently got it in the form of performance bonuses: if Spain wins the cup, each player will receive an estimated $700,000. That will buy a lot of Eau de Redemption.

Once a soccer punchline, the Americans come into the Cup with the swagger of a team that not only made it all the way to the quarterfinals in 2002 but has since fooled FIFA into giving them the No. 5 ranking in the world. The Americans can no longer count on surprising opponents because the world is now waiting for them. And given that they must negotiate two potential landmines in their group — Italy and the Czech Republic — they will be lucky to emerge from the first round in one piece. Outclassed technically, the Americans will once again rely on their Lance Armstrong-esque stamina, their pugnacious athleticism and the world-class goalkeeping of Kasey Keller. The most likely candidates for the Wheaties box are attacking midfielders Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley. Look for 6-foot-4, 210-pound central defender Oguchi Onyewu (picture Lawrence Taylor in satin shorts) to inspire keen regret in any opponents who set foot in the United States penalty area and for Brian McBride to give up his body on the other end. So can the Americans reprise their miraculous run of 2002? Dream on.

David Hirshey is an executive editor at HarperCollins. He writes frequently about soccer.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: Cissé out of commission Reply with quote

French team offensive player Djibril Cissé broke 2 bones in his leg today during a friendly game with China. He's out for the duration Very Sad

He's being replaced by Sidney Govou, from the Lyon team. Looks like a good choice but will he be as good as Cissé? wonder
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope the French won't use this as an excuse for their lose if it happens! But I wish the French all the best.

Prediction: 2:1 or 2:0

Prediction: 1:0

super grin super grin super grin
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Excuse? No! Reply with quote

ItsX wrote:
I hope the French won't use this as an excuse for their lose if it happens! But I wish the French all the best.

Last time they used Zidane's injury as an excuse but this time, Cissé's broken leg won't work. His replacement scored a goal within a half hour of his coming out on the field. super grin

Games are starting in 10 minutes, folks! Stay tuned... Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:52 am    Post subject: Germany vs. Costa Rica Reply with quote

At half-time, Germany's leading 2-1 ten
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Germany vs. Costa Rica Reply with quote

Watcher wrote:
At half-time, Germany's leading 2-1 ten

No surprise: Germany won the opening game, 4-2 win
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