Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup Germany Update 6

With some strong teams in the lineup, the quaterfinals got underway with the hosts Germany taking on South American rivals Argentina in Berlin. The setting was great and the two teams seemed confident of beating the other. Argentina lead 1-0 for a long time with a goal by Ayala. Germany equalised close to the end of the second half and extra time loomed large. The two teams could not be seperated even after two periods of extra time so it was on to penalties. Argentina lost their goalkeeper to an injury before the 80th minute and had to bring on a sub. Germany won it 5-3, sending the favoured Argentines back home. Later that day, Italy did not have to strech their match with the Ukrainians, beating them comfortably by three goals to nil. Luca Toni, who had been dissapointing till then (what with scoring 30 goals in the Italian Serie A) scored two late goals to finally show what he is capable of on the world stage. The Ukrainians could not just depend on Sheva to get them any further.

Portugal linedup against England the next day and both the teams went at it as they realised that this was a great oppurtunity for them and they wanted it badly. Portugal seemed to be the more attacking and their flair almost won it for them in first 90 minutes. But good goalkeeping from Paul Robinson and the English defence meant that the two teams were level 0-0 at the end of the second period. Two extra time periods saw no goals and a dumb Wayne Rooney get expelled for fouling a Portugese player. So no goals and penalties looming - it did not look good for Sven's men. Portugal's goalie Ricardo got them through with his play by saving Lampard's & Gerrard's penalties. And finally the re-match of the 1998 World Cup final - Brazil vs France. The Brazilans were cocky and arrogant against a French side with an ageing core of players back from 1998. And France won! A superb pass from Zinedine Zidane, who surely has a year or two of top-class football left in him, found a rampant Henry who scored. Zidane is to retire from football after the finals and it is a shame based on his performance. The Brazillians will go home to face their angry compatriots as Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho etc failed to deliver. Oh and French winger Riberry was brilliant on the field, running the yellow defence ragged.

Song for the day - "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners" - TRISHA YEARWOOD