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Portugal Beats England 3-1 in Shootout in World Cup Quarterfinals
England's penalty nightmare continues
The Associated Press (apwire)     Print Article 
Published 2006-07-02 15:35 (KST)   
England still can't get past Portugal or Luiz Felipe Scolari.

After the English lost David Beckham to a leg injury and Wayne Rooney to a red card, Portugal won a shootout 3-1 Saturday following 120 minutes of scoreless soccer and advanced to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1966.

England played a man short for nearly an hour, holding on and creating chances along the way. When time ran out, the boisterous English fans seemed happy to have survived, jumping and singing along with "Que Sera, Sera" as the shootout loomed.

But shootouts are not where England shines, and it now has lost five of its last six in major tournaments. Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo Pereiraonlylet one penalty kick go by him.

"It was great," Ricardo said. "I managed to stop three of them. I'm really happy."

Portugal, which also beat England on penalty kicks in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago, meets France in the semifinals on Wednesday in Munich. The 1998 champions beat Brazil 1-0 later Saturday.

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," Scolari said. "The game had everything in the good sense. Only penalties decide who would go on. I have great respect for England, who even with 10 men made us sweat and run even more."

Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays in England for Manchester United, converted the final penalty, sending the ball to his right asgoalkeeper Paul Robinson went the other way.

"I shoot strong," Ronaldo said, "and I'm very happy."

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 in Gelsenkirchen with a wall of joyous noise.

Simao Sabrosa and Helder Postiga also converted penalties for Portugal, while Higo Viana hit a post and Armando Petit sent the ball wide.

Ricardo stopped kicks by Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, whose shot rebounded off Ricardo, then hit the crossbar before bouncing out.

Only Owen Hargreaves converted his penalty for England, which has beaten Portugal just once in the last 11 meetings. Portugal's players ran onto the field in glee, while England's slumped in the center circle. Victoria Beckham, the former Posh Spice, lingered in the stands, with a forlorn look behind her
oversized sunglasses.

The game likely was the final World Cup appearance of Beckham and Gary Neville, and its passionate fans kept the songs rolling throughout, hoping to spur their team to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990.

Saturday was the finale for Eriksson, who announced in January that he was leaving after the World Cup.

"I don't think we deserved to lose," Eriksson said. "We did very well. We started the second half very, very well and started to control the game, which was exactly what we'd hoped to do. ... We practiced penalties so much. I don't know what we can do more about it."

Beckham left seven minutes into the second half, five minutes after Nuno Valente stepped on his right ankle. Rooney was ejected 10 minutes later after getting tangled up with a Portuguese player and then pushing Ronaldo just a few steps in front of the referee.

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 itscaptain, England gained new energy and its thousands of fans 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.

Peter Crouch, England's tall forward, came on for Joe Cole in the 65th, taking over as England's lone striker. Luis Figo then had a great chance for Portugal in the 78th, but Robinson dived right and was barely able to push the ball away. At the other end, Lampard had a booming free kick in the 83rd that Ricardo blocked with a dive, and Lennon's shot off the rebound didn't have enough pace and also was stopped.

Postiga headed the ball in the net in the 106th minute but was clearly offsides, and the goal was disallowed. In the last shot of extra time, Maniche sent the ball over the bar, and players from both teams collapsed.

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 Euro 1996 semifinals and to Germany in the 1990 World Cup semifinals. Its lone win in that span was against Spain in the Euro 1996 quarterfinals.
By RONALD BLUM
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter The Associated Press

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