France, Portugal advance to semifinals - East Valley Tribune: News

France, Portugal advance to semifinals

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Posted: Saturday, July 1, 2006 1:58 pm | Updated: 2:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Portugal and France have both advanced to the World Cup soccer semifinals. France upset Brazil 1-0; Portugal defeated England 3-1 in a shootout. With Germany playing Italy in the other semifinal, it will be the first all-European final four since 1982.

Tacked onto France's 3-0 victory in the 1998 title match - the last time Brazil lost a World Cup match - it's clear the Brazilians have a nemesis at soccer's highest level.

The heroes were familiar as well. Zinedine Zidane, headed into retirement after the tournament, served a perfect free kick to an unmarked Thierry Henry in the 57th minute. Completely unmarked, Henry had the whole right side of the net and smashed in a right-footed volley.

Zidane scored two goals in the World Cup championship win eight years ago.

It was a shocking exit for Brazil, the pretournament favorite. The Brazilians did not get a shot on goal in the opening half and had huge gaps in the defense all night. Such stars as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Cafu were either invisible or inept.

France began the tournament so poorly it appeared headed for a first-round exit like four years ago. Instead, it heads to the semifinals against Portugal on Wednesday in Munich.

With Germany playing Italy in the other semifinal, it will be the first all-European final four since 1982.

In the Portugal- England game, the ending is familiar: Luiz Felipe Scolari pumps his arms, his players wildly celebrate and their English rivals slump to the field, beaten and exhausted.

Portugal, Brazil - it doesn't matter. When Big Phil is coaching, his team will send England home. That goes double when the team is Portugal, triple when it comes down to penalty kicks.

England gamely hung on after David Beckham got hurt and Wayne Rooney got ejected, but lost to Portugal 3-1 in a shootout Saturday night after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer in the World Cup quarterfinals.

"There's a lot of heartache," said Beckham, who likely played his last World Cup match. "We're all devastated tonight."

Ricardo, Portugal's goalkeeper, saved three penalty kicks as his nation advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1966 - when it lost to England. The final kick was converted by Cristiano Ronaldo, who stars for Manchester United.

"I may not be the Ronaldo you know, who beats three or four players, but I'm fulfilling my role," Cristiano Ronaldo said.

When extra time ran out, the boisterous English fans seemed happy to have survived, jumping and singing "Que Sera, Sera" as penalty kicks loomed. But shootouts are not where England shines, and it now has lost five of six in major tournaments over the last 16 years.

Portugal, which also beat England on penalty kicks in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago, meets Brazil or France on Wednesday. Italy faces Germany a day earlier in the other semifinal.

Scolari has won three straight big games over the English - he led Brazil to a 2-1 quarterfinal win in the 2002 World Cup and Portugal to the Euro 2004 victory. In April, he turned down an overture to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England's coach after this tournament.

"It was an electrifying, marvelous game with two great teams," said Scolari, who now has a 12-game unbeaten streak in World Cup play. "I have great respect for England, who even with 10 men made us sweat and run even more."

Portugal's small contingent of fans, relegated to one corner and drowned out for the entire game, were suddenly loud enough to fill the closed-roof stadium with a wall of joyous noise.

Simao Sabrosa and Helder Postiga also converted penalties for Portugal. Ricardo stopped kicks by Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, whose shot rebounded off Ricardo, then hit the crossbar and bounced out.

Only Owen Hargreaves converted his penalty for England, which has beaten Portugal just once in the last 11 meetings and hasn't been to the World Cup semifinals since 1990. The Portuguese extended their unbeaten streak to 19 matches overall, their last loss 1-0 at Ireland in an exhibition game on Feb. 9, 2005.

"We have more battles ahead," Ronaldo said. "We're well prepared."

Beckham left seven minutes into the second half because of a knee injury sustained in the first half and an Achilles' tendon injury that occurred when Nuno Valente stepped on his foot as the pair battled for a header in the 47th minute.

Rooney, a 20-year-old known for a short fuse, was sent off in the 62nd minute after stomping on Ricardo Carvalho's groin following a rough challenge and then pushing Ronaldo just a few steps in front of the referee. Rooney's teammates claimed he had been fouled.

"Wayne is gutted, as the rest of us," Lampard said. "It's an incredible way to go out."

Beckham buried his face in his hands on the bench, and appeared to be in tears. He later sat on the ground, stretching out his leg with towels covering it.

Immediately after losing its captain, England gained new energy and its thousands of supporters sang louder and longer, trying to inspire their team with rousing versions of "Rule, Britannia!" and "God Save the Queen."

Rooney had a look of disbelief on his face when he was shown the red card by Horatio Elizondo, the same referee who ejected Beckham during Manchester United's opener in the 2000 World Club Championship in Brazil. It was only the 11th red card ever for England and left Rooney's teammates to play the last hour one man short.

Peter Crouch, England's gawky 6-foot-7 forward, came on for Joe Cole in the 65th, but managed only one shot after taking over as England's lone striker. Portugal outshot the English 20-9.

After Ronaldo's shot went in to end it, Portugal's players ran, then did a mass coordinated slide before saluting their fans. Victoria Beckham, the former Posh Spice, lingered in the stands, with a forlorn look behind her oversized sunglasses.

Saturday was the finale for Eriksson, who announced in January that he was leaving after the World Cup, two years before the end of his contract.

"I'm sorry for the squad. I'm sorry for the fans," Eriksson said. "It's not good enough."

England also lost on penalty kicks to Portugal in the 2004 European Championship quarterfinals, to Argentina in the second round of the 1998 World Cup, to Germany in the 1996 Euro semifinals and to Germany in the 1990 World Cup semis. Its lone win in that span was against Spain in the 1996 Euro quarterfinals.

"We have to come through moments like that, these make or break moments in tournaments," defender Gary Neville said after emerging from what he described as a teary dressing room. "We haven't done enough again."

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