Red cards, yellow cards and even a little vomit have been present this week as the 2006 World Cup continues to make its historical mark.
An astounding 291 yellow cards and 23 red cards were handed out in the first 52 matches, which has surpassed any other amount in previous World Cups.
Some are wondering if the referees are being fair, especially during the Portugal versus Netherlands match that took place on Sunday, when an unprecedented four red cards were given in 90 minutes. Portugal ended up defeating the Netherlands, 1-0, off a Nuno Maniche goal in the 23rd minute.
Italy also advanced, after a 1-0 victory over Australia. The lone goal came off the foot of substitute Francesco Totti, after a questionable foul in the box. Italy will face Ukraine in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
England’s David Beckham, known for his free kicks, (among other things), scored the only goal against Ecuador on such a play Sunday, paving England’s way to the quarterfinals. After his goal, which was in the 60th minute, Beckham vomited on the field due to dehydration and proceeded to leave the match with three minutes remaining.
England tied Sweden, 2-2, in group play, one of the most exciting games thus far. Sweden scored to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining. Both teams advanced, however Sweden lost to Germany 2-0 on Saturday.
England next plays against Portugal on Saturday as they enter the quarterfinals.
France beat Spain 3-1 on Tuesday, as the two teams battled it out for the chance of moving on to the quarterfinals.
French legend, Zinedine Zidane scored the final goal in extra time, continuing his retirement tour and capping France’s 3-1 victory over Spain.
Zidane also added an assist off the head of Patrick Vieria in the 83rd minute. The play came after yet another questionable yellow card. French striker, Thierry Henry, took a dive near the box after minor contact with a Spanish defender.
France will face ’02 champion Brazil in the quarterfinals on Saturday, in a rematch of the 1998 final, which France won.
The United States was defeated last week by feel-good story Ghana, 2-1. Ghana was brought back to reality, suffering a defeat to Brazil, 3-0, on Tuesday. Brazil, who beat out Germany in the 2002 World Cup, 2-0, is scheduled to play France on Saturday, while Germany and Argentina are set to duke it out tomorrow.
Brazilian stars Ronaldo, Adriano and Ze Roberto scored goals in the fifth, 45th and 84th minutes respectively. The juggernaut looks strong, as it seeks a repeat for the first time since.well, they did it in 1962 with the help of a guy named Pele.
Berlin is the biggest venue out of the 12 host cities. The citiy’s stadium holds up to 72,000 soccer-crazed hooligans, according to ESPN.
So, with only eight matches remaining until the final is played on July 9 in Berlin, tensions are heating up, as the crucible of elimination play will produce the final two Cup contenders. Will it be a repeat of 2002, or will England, Argentina, Germany or France overthrow the champs? Stay tuned. for more.