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Brazil wins behind Ronaldo's record goal

Brazil's Ronaldo, right, scores past Ghana's John Pantsil during the Brazil vs Ghana Round of 16 World Cup soccer match at Dortmund's Stadium, Germany, Tuesday, June 27, 2006.
With one swift move in the fifth minute Tuesday, the superstar striker overtook German Gerd Mueller as the greatest scorer in World Cup history, spoiled Ghana's scrappy debut and put defending champion Brazil into its fourth straight quarterfinals.
"I want to continue to increase the record," Ronaldo said, "but without forgetting that the main goal in the World Cup is winning the title."
Brazil had to work for its 3-0 win over the Black Stars, who pressured enough to create chances but kept shooting either just off the mark or well within reach of goalkeeper Dida.
"Today's game was as we expected," Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. "It wasn't easy and we knew it wasn't going to be easy, 3-0 seems easy, but it wasn't."
The Brazilians used long, penetrating passes to build each of its goals, but Ronaldo's tournament-record 15th was the only one it would need. With its 11th straight tournament win, Brazil took another step toward a fourth straight World Cup finals, and next faces France in a rematch of the 1998 final.
"The big guys are coming to the quarterfinals," Parreira said. "It is getting closer and closer. It's getting tougher and tougher."
On the counterattack, Kaka sent a second long pass up the heart of the field to an unmarked Ronaldo, who touched the ball once toward Richard Kingson, then sent the goalkeeper flailing with a brilliant stepover move. Ronaldo cut left, and with a defender closing, popped the ball into the net.
Ronaldo said he never intended to break the World Cup scoring record -- it came to him.
"It was never my goal, it just happened match after match," he said. "This is the result of lots of work, lots of sacrifice."
Mueller scored his 14 goals over 13 games in the 1970 and 1974 World Cups; Ronaldo has played 18 games in the past three tournaments.
Ronaldo performed poorly in Brazil's first two matches against Croatia and Australia, when the Real Madrid striker was held scoreless and substituted for twice. He was also bothered by a weight controversy and a string of minor health problems.
One minute into first-half injury time, Adriano added to Brazil's lead in a breakaway set up by a through ball, using his left thigh to nudge a waist-high cross from Cafu into the net. Replays showed Adriano appeared to be offside when he touched the ball in, and fans booed the replay.
The third goal also came when a long pass sprang a Brazilian one-on-one against Kingson. Midfielder Ze Roberto received the ball and flicked it over the keeper, who left his box and tried to make a save with his head. Safely past, Ze Roberto jogged the ball in alone.

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England in quarter

Toothless Lions Finally Find Their Bite to Beat Ecuador

England players congratulate David Beckham on his winner -- as much in relief as celebration 

England toiled in scorching heat in Stuttgart in their last 16 clash against underdogs Ecuador but after surviving a few scares David Beckham's free-kick was enough to send the Three Lions into the quarter-finals.

It was a sweltering affair in front of a sell-out crowd of 52,000 in Stuttgart's Gottlieb Daimler Stadium.
England, one of the title favorites, came into the match wanting to improve on middling performances in the group stage - and trying to compensate for the absence of injured striker Michael Owen.
Ecuador, the surprise team of Group A, was trying to pull off the biggest upset in the nation's soccer history and send the Three Lions packing.
With temperatures on the pitch estimated at 40 degrees Celsius, it was a slow-paced contest. England's creative midfield confined itself to long balls aimed at striker Wayne Rooney, while Ecuador waited for a mistake by their opponents.
They got it in the tenth minute. Defender John Terry badly misjudged the ball, leaving Ecuador striker Carlos Tenorio seemingly alone in front of the goal. But defender Ashley Cole managed to get a leg in to deflect Tenorio's shot wide.
That was it for early goal chances. Aside from a couple of David Beckham free kicks, the Lions were toothless, and the first half ended in a goalless draw.
The second half started in equally languid fashion, with both teams looking as though they'd rather be at the pool. Extra time and penalties seemed inevitable.
Then England's captain came up trumps. After an hour of play, David Beckham curled one of his patented free-kicks past Ecuadoran keeper Cristian Mora and into the lower left-hand corner to put the English up 1-0. Beckham's heroic shot is sure to silence critics at home who had called for him to be removed from the starting eleven.
Ecuador, while solid in defense, couldn't manufacture any chances up front - especially as their top striker Carlos Tenorio had to be taken out with an ankle injury in the 70th minute.
England ran down the clock to get a crucial win in a tepid match and keep alive their bid for their first World Cup title in forty years.

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france in final 16

BERLIN - France rediscovered a little of the magic that made them world champions eight years ago, beating Togo 2-0 on Friday in an energetic World Cup performance that set up a tantalizing second round clash with Spain.
The win for "les Bleus" was the first in the tournament since they shocked Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 final, helped by two goals from midfield maestro Zinedine Zidane.
Zidane, who will retire after the World Cup, could not play on Friday after picking up yellow cards in prior matches, but goals from Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira -- two of his team mates from 1998 -- were enough to send France through.
Next they will face Spain, who beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 on Friday using a second-string team and are now being mentioned among the favorites for the title after an impressive start in which they won all three of their first round matches.
Switzerland and Ukraine were also victorious on Friday, eliminating

South Korea and Tunisia. They will meet in Cologne in another knockout match on Monday.
Among the favorites to win the World Cup in 2002, France stumbled out at the group stage after failing to score a goal and suffering humiliating defeats to Senegal and Denmark.
In Germany so far they had managed only disappointing draws against Switzerland and South Korea and many were dismissing them as tired and washed up.
They had to wait until the 55th minute to take the lead against Togo. Vieira, who was 30 on Friday, swiveled in the box to rifle a shot into the corner of the net.
Henry followed suit six minutes later with a close range shot set up by a Vieira header.
"There is great potential in this team and I hope this qualification will help us play more freely because we aren't bad at all," said Vieira.
In Friday's other matches, goals from Philippe Senderos and Alex Frei gave Switzerland a 2-0 win over South Korea.
Senderos headed the opening goal from a free kick by Hakan Yakin in the 23rd minute and Frei made sure of victory with 13 minutes left, pouncing on a stray pass by a defender, rounding goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae and slotting the ball into an empty net.
South Korea, semi-finalists four years ago, were angry that Argentine referee Horacio Eilzondo ignored a linesman's offside flag in the build-up to Frei's goal.
Ukraine, playing in their first World Cup finals, advanced with a 1-0 victory over Tunisia.
Captain Andriy Shevchenko, European Footballer of the Year in 2004, powered his way into the Tunisian box in the 70th minute and was bumped by two defenders before stumbling over his own feet and crashing to the ground. He was awarded a penalty and slotted calmly past goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel.
Ukraine suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Spain in their first match of the tournament, but bounced back to thrash Saudi Arabia by the same score.
"It's a hugely important achievement for Ukrainian football that we are into the next round," said Shevchenko. "We always kept our belief despite the terrible defeat against Spain."
Needing a win to progress, Tunisia's hopes were dimmed just before halftime when striker Ziad Jaziri was shown a second yellow card. Jaziri's dismissal was the 18th of the World Cup, one more than in the entire 2002 tournament. A record 22 players were sent off at the 1998 World Cup in France.


World Cup glamour provided by Victoria Beckham and Co.

Victoria Beckham (B), wife of Englands David Beckham, and Coleen McLoughlin (T), girfirend of Englands Wayne Rooney, watch World Cup soccer match between England and Trinidad & Tobago in Nurember on June 15, 2006.  England defeated Trinidad & Tobago  2-0.  (UPI Photo/Arthur Thill) 
Berlin - Simone Lambe is the German equivalent of Victoria Beckham as far as her partner is concerned, but that's where the similarities end.
For those unfamiliar with the name - Lambe is the long-time girlfriend of Germany's best and most popular footballer, Michael Ballack.
Victoria Beckham needs no introduction, formerly knows as Posh Spice from her time with pop's Spice Girls, she achieved added fame by marrying England captain David Beckham.
The Beckhams were the front-page couple of Thursday's edition of Germany's glitzy Gala magazine - and Victoria is also making plenty of headlines in the tabloids along with the other women from the England camp in Baden-Baden.
Readers know that Beckham, Wayne Rooney's girlfriend Colleen McLoughlin and Frank Lampard's partner Elen Rives have bought plenty of sunglasses and handbags in the posh southern German spa, that they have been night-clubbing and been tough on Germans claiming that the home team will win the World Cup.
WAGs is the name of the gang, standing for Wives And Girlfriends, and they are in their very own league watched by the world's media.
'Forget what's happening on the pitch, it's the footie wives' outfits that will score the hottest points in this year's World Cup,' said The Sun.
'The fashion competition is so fierce that Posh has allegedly spent months planning her World Cup wardrobe - which includes five outfits a day!'
However, she has been lambasted for her current love of hot pants - sometimes along with boots - by the British and German media.
'Put them away for the love of God and pop on a skirt for once. Or jeans. Or a pair of dungarees and deck shoes ... Do us all a favour and give them the day off for England's next appearance on Sunday,' said The Sun.
Germany's respected Sueddeutsche Zeitung found no kind words for Mrs. Beckham in its style column, either.
'Before the days of Victoria Beckham player wives weren't aware that you can combine Versace-shoes with a Versace-dress with Versace- sunglasses. And, should it get cold, wrap a Versace-scarf around yourself as well,' said the newspaper.
The German Versace-factor is non-existent even though Bild is at least trying hard to make Germans familiar with the players' partners.
Lambe, who has three children with Ballack, is only seen and photographed at big occasions like the World Cup.
This may not even change when Ballack joins Chelsea in summer, as Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has managed to keep his wife Conny and their three children out of the spotlight in England as well.
Verena Kerth got some publicity when goalkeeper Oliver Kahn left his wife and children for her, but that attention soon died down.
Unlike the WAGs, the German woman show up in the stadium not as a fashion statement but rather in team shirts. And, according to Petra Frings, the wive of midfielder Torsten Frings, they don't like the phrase WAG in the first place.
'I don't like the word because everyone associates it with a dumb blonde. But we are not like that. We are the wives of men who happen to play football. That's all,' said Frau Frings.
Just like at the World Cup, the closest Germany normally gets to football glamour is imported - Sylvie van der Vaart, the ex-MTV DJ who is married to SV Hamburg and Netherlands player Rafael van der Vaart. Sylvie's sunglasses are very similar to those of Victoria.
That's mainly good news for the Germans as Ballack and Lambe will soon be able to get married without major media hype.
Things looked different, of course, when the Beckhams stepped up to the altar and Rome descended into total traffic chaos when Italy captain Francesco Totti wed TV presenter Ilary Blasi.
But even Victoria Beckham and the rest of the WAGs probably had to hold their breath when Raica Oliveira recently strutted along the catwalk in football bikinis. Oliveira is the girlfriend of Brazil superstar Ronaldo.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006 (Dortmund)Brazil fielded five reserve players on Thursday and still beat Japan 4-1 to win Group F at the World Cup.Ronaldo scored his 13th and 14th World Cup goals to pass Pele as Brazil's all-time leading scorer in the competition, while reserve players Juninho and Gilberto each added a goal.The victory - Brazil's 10th consecutive in World Cups - secured set up a second-round match against Ghana on Tuesday.Japan is eliminated, failing to repeat its second-round appearance from the 2002 tournament. The Japanese team, coached by former Brazil international Zico, needed to defeat the five-time champions to keep its chances of advancing alive.Zico changed both his starting strikers trying to boost the attack, and it seemed to work when the Japanese surprisingly took the lead despite being outplayed.Keiji Tamada, one of the new forwards, put Japan ahead in the 34th minute with a powerful left-footer from inside the area after a through pass by Alessandro Santos. Tamada received the ball unmarked, then quickly fired into the left-upper corner of the net.Ronaldo improved after lackluster showings in previous matches and was a constant threat. He equalized with a header a minute into first-half injury time, set up by a header across the area from Real Madrid teammate Cicinho.Ronaldo scored his second goal in the 81st, with a right-footer from 20 meters after a set up by defender Juan.Ronaldo is only one goal short of becoming the tournament's overall leading scorer. He is level with Gerd Mueller of Germany.Juninho, replacing regular starter Ze Roberto, scored Brazil's second goal in the 53rd with a shot from about 25 meters (yards). Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi badly misjudged the shot.Gilberto, replacing Roberto Carlos, got Brazil's third goal in the 59th after a neat through pass from Ronaldinho. Gilberto entered the area unmarked and sent a low left-footer past Kawaguchi.The goal by Japan was Brazil's first conceded in World Cups in four matches. It hadn't allowed a goal in the tournament since its 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinals of the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan. Brazil could've equaled Italy's record of five straight shutouts in the 1990 World Cup.Brazil finished the group with nine points, five more than second-place Australia. Croatia was third with two points, and Japan last with one.Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's changes to the lineup - leaving out veteran wingers Cafu and Roberto Carlos, midfielders Emerson and Ze Roberto and striker Adriano - worked from the beginning.Cicinho, Gilberto, Gilberto Silva, Juninho and Robinho all played well and contributed to Brazil's victory.Robinho, who had substituted Ronaldo in the first two matches, added speed to Brazil's attack from the start, creating several scoring opportunities and setting up his teammates in several occasions.Despite the goal allowed, Brazil controlled possession and dominated most of the match, only failing to get more goals because of saves by Kawaguchi.Brazil had struggled in its first two matches despite victories over Croatia and Australia. The defending champions - who entered the tournament heavily favored to win a record sixth title - performed well below expectations, being heavily challenged and failing to impress.It was Brazil's sixth victory against Japan in eight matches. The teams drew two times, including 2-2 in the Confederations Cup in Germany last year.It was the second encounter between Zico and his native country. The coach had faced Brazil for the first time in the Confederations Cup draw last year. (AP)


Mirza made to work by Bondarenko
Sania Mirza
Mirza is the first Indian woman to win a WTA event
India's Sania Mirza was given a tough first-round game at the DFS Classic in Edgbaston by Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko before coming through 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Mirza's match was one of only four to be completed on a rain-hit second day.
Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova's match with Ahsha Rolle was one of those rained off and the pair will now play their match on Wednesday.
Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia, Shuai Peng of China and American Bethanie Mattek were the only other winners.
Last year Mirza became the first Indian woman to break into the world's top 50, the first to win a tournament and to reach the US Open's fourth round.
"After what happened last year there's a lot of pressure on me, with people expecting me to do a lot better than I did," said Mirza.


The Brazilian Roberto Carlos during the group F preliminary match of 2006 FIFA World Cup agianst Croatia at Olympic Stadium Berlin, Germany, Tuesday 13 June 2006. EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN
Berlin - Brazil opened their campaign for a sixth title when they beat Croatia 1-0 in the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.
South Korea, semi-finalists in 2002, woke up from a nervous, mistake ridden start to beat 10-man Togo 2-1 and go top of Group G after France were held 0-0 by Switzerland in a tame draw.
The Koreans face the French on Sunday in Leipzig in a match that could decide who qualifies for the next round.
In Berlin Kaka's 44th-minute screamer lifted Brazil to a 1-0 victory over Croatia in their Group F match, but the five- time champions generated little magic and a lumbering Ronaldo was pulled off in the second half.
With 70,000 fired-up fans packing Berlin's Olympic Stadium, the match was drifting into a lull when Brazil broke it open with an explosive move helped by a rare lapse in Croatia's iron defence.
Cafu slipped down the right wing and centred low to Kaka, who shook off two hesitant Croats and drilled a shot with his weaker left foot into the net from the edge of the area, bringing the entire Brazilian bench to its feet in jubilation.
The victory saw Brazil establish a new World Cup record of eight consecutive win, breaking the seven-win record they shared with Italy.
Kaka admitted that Brazil did not play as well as they can. 'We really did not have an easy time. We were not particularly creative today,' he said. 'We moved too little, failed to open enough spaces.'
France, who became the first defending champions to go home without scoring a goal in 2002, made an unconvincing start.
The French, with Zinedine Zidane at the heart of everything without playing to his best, never found a way through the Swiss defence and Thierry Henry was isolated up front.
The Swiss could even have won but Fabien Barthez stopped Daniel Gygax's point-blank header with his legs and Tranquillo Barnetta's free-kick hit the post. Only Eric Abidal's desperate lunge prevented Alex Frei from pushing the rebound over the line.
But Vikash Dhorasso fired a good chance beyond the far post when put through by substitute Louis Saha.
French coach Raymond Domenech said he was confident that the 1998 champions would go through.
'The next match is Korea and we have to give it everything. But we're used to being in these sort of situations. I think we have the players to get us through,' he said.
Fussy Russian referee Valentin Ivanov booked eight players, including Zidane for taking a free-kick too quickly, but he missed Henry's shot hitting Swiss defender Patrick Mueller on the arm in the penalty area.
The last goal France scored at the World Cup finals was Emmanuel Petit's 90th minute strike that sealed the host's 3-0 victory against Brazil in the 1998 final - they have since played 360 minutes without scoring, including all of their games at the 2002 cup.
South Korea struggled to beat 10-man Togo whose German coach Otto Pfister had returned after walking out when players boycotted training over unpaid bonuses last week.
Lee Chun Soo cancelled out Mohamed Kader's first-half strike on 54 minutes when he curled a free-kick around the wall and past an out- of-position Togo keeper Kossi Agassa.
Second-half substitute Ahn Jung Hwan, who scored the extra-time winner against Italy in the 2002 Round of 16, beat Agassa for the winner with a dipping cross-shot in the 72nd minute.
English referee Graham Poll sent off Jean-Paul Abalo for bringing down Park Ji Sung as he twisted clear on the edge of the box for the free-kick that led to the Korean equaliser. It was his second yellow card.
And Ahn was pleased with the way things turned out as the Koreans began to find some sort of form in the second half.
'It was more important that the team won than I scored. At first things did not work out very well, but then (Dutch coach Dick) Advocaat's tactics were very good and we could all find our way,' he said.
Togo's defeat means all four African debutants at the World Cup, including Angola, Ghana and Ivory Coast, have lost their opening matches.


Top Designer Says World Cup Design "Just Embarrassing"

The logo contains too much info and is badly presented, Spiekermann says

Erik Spiekermann, one of Germany's most respected designers, has been openly critical of the design concept for the 2006 World Cup, from the mascot to the logo. He told DW-WORLD.DE why it hasn't been successful.

Erik Spiekermann is one of Germany's best-known typographers and designers. He was one of the founders of MetaDesign, one of Germany's leading studios for corporate design and branding, whose clients have included Apple Computer, Audi, VW, IBM and Nike. He has designed the passenger information systems for the German railway system and helped redesign The Economist magazine. He is an honorary professor at the College of Art in Bremen and is a former president of the International Institute for Information Design. He had no role in the design for the 2006 World Cup.
DW-WORLD.DE: You've been very critical of the mascot of the World Cup, Goleo. Why?
Erik Spiekermann: Not only the mascot, but the whole business. I mean the mascot itself is a typical effort by too many parties. It's a lion, which has no historical relevance to Germany whatsoever. We have eagles, gnomes and garden dwarves and what have you, but we don't have lions. That's English or French. The mascot is called Goleo, "gol" as in the Spanish for the English word "goal," and "leo" as in Italian, Latin, Spanish for lion. So it's obviously trying to appeal to a world audience, which is kind of nice, but it's a little patronizing. Why not be in Germany and call it "Fritz" or whatever? We are German, so we might as well own up to it. This artificial lion is neither cute nor ugly nor relevant; it's just embarrassing.
Is this a case of too many cooks in the design kitchen?
Goleo IV, the official -- and much ridiculed -- mascot of the World Cup
When I first saw both the lion and the logo, the whole design concept for the World Cup in Germany, I thought oh my God, those poor designers. I've been there, dealt with these kinds of clients. I actually have met some of the designers who perpetrated this design and know that they were at a disadvantage from the outset. Everybody wants to own a design for an event as big as this, from the CEO to his wife to a whole chain of people going down. And there are way too many committees and meetings where changes are required by people who don't know what they're doing. In the end, after all the input, the common denominator in this case turned out to be very, very low. I wouldn't employ any of the guys behind this design.
Why don't you think the whole concept works, especially regarding the logo?
First, there are too many messages. The original brief was: we've got to fit Germany in there, then 2006, then FIFA, plus we've got to have some happy people in there, we need green for the lawn, we've got the German national colors. So there's green and black and red and yellow and happy faces and FIFA, just way too many messages. You can look at this and count the elements and it just flies in the face of effective communication.
Has Germany done better in the past?
Yes. There was one obvious example: the 1972 Olympics. That was very much the other end of German design. It was designed by a group around Otl Aicher, one of the founders of the old school, very much in the Bauhaus, Germanic, Protestant tradition. It was very strict but they managed to bring in pastel, light colors that made the design look German in that it was clean and tidy, but it was also fun, bright and cheerful.
Even their mascot was a little dachshund, which is about as German as they come. It was designed over a couple of years by the best of the crop here, but these guys in Munich who designed for the World Cup this year got picked because they knew somebody high up in the German football association and FIFA. It gives us a bad reputation here.
Why do you think the World Cup designers avoided appearing too "German"?
Part of it is that we have this incredible cross to bear. You can't be proud to be German because we have such a bad history, at least my generation can't, and I was born in '47. The clients for this particular job are of my generation or older, so I think they were trying to give the world everything in one package while being cheerful about it. It's like designing a joke, and you can't design a joke. I think the original design assignment must have been all over the place. With all the things that had to be avoided and then all the things they wanted included, it was impossible to come up with something good. Unless, of course, you were a designer with a strong personality who would basically tell those guys giving the orders to get lost, which the designers in this case didn't. They just took their money and ran.
The World Cup is about the game of soccer first and foremost. Why is design important at all?
It has a straightforward function, it tells you where to go, directs you to your goal, the screens, the stadiums, lots of things. It tells people: 'This message pertains to the World Cup.' It's very much like any location or event design: you have to make your presence known to people. Once they are in the system, design tells them whether they are on their right path and indicates what is about to happen to them. Design has a functional role, but it also creates a mood. It has both important functional and psychological roles.
So what kind of message does the current design communicate?
Is the design a mirror of Germany's grand coaltion that's led by Franz Müntefering and Angela Merkel?
It is communicating that the people who designed it and who briefed it have no confidence in their abilities and that they are trying to please everybody at the same time. They are over-organized; there are too many messages; and nobody wants to take on responsibility. In fact, it is a perfect mirror of German society right now. It is very much akin to the governing grand coalition -- two big parties that are basically canceling each other out because no one can make any decisions. Everyone is trying to be nice, everyone knows we have to do something, change society, change behavior, and economy, but no one wants to take the first step because we're so comfortable. We're still wrapped up in our nice security blanket. We know it's cold outside, but we just stay inside and huddle. This sort of World Cup design is very much communal huddling -- trying to please everyone but never even putting a finger outside of that security blanket.
Avoiding controversy at all costs?
Not liked by everyone
Exactly. What happens in the end is that it becomes incredibly bland. German design is known, and it is known for being German. You buy a Porsche or a BMW or an Audi because it's German, not in spite of the fact that it's German. And not everybody likes it. It has an edge; it's not patronizing. The same goes for graphic design, we have a great history of design. But for some reason, it has just has not moved onto this soccer scene. It's a shame because when people come in from the outside world they think this is how German designers are and for me, it's personally embarrassing. I want to go away and hide and pretend I'm a brain surgeon or something.
What would you say to the designers behind the World Cup project?
Don't give up your day job.


Socceroos Hit Over-Confident Japanese With Late Goal Rush

'Roos on the bounce: Three late goals saw Australia through against Japan

Australia stormed home with three goals in the final eight minutes for a stunning 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Japan in their Group F World Cup match in scorching temperatures in Kaiserslautern Monday.

It was Australia's first World Cup win and their first ever goals in only their second finals' appearance in 32 years.
The Australians looked headed for a deflating opening defeat in sapping heat when a controversial 26th-minute goal from playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura rocked them.
But a double from Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, who came on eight minutes after halftime, and another goal from substitute striker John Aloisi turned the game around sensationally as the Australians were rewarded for their all-out attack.
Cahill fired home in a goalmouth scramble in the 84th minute after goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi fired to clear and he was on the spot again four minutes to lash home a volley that rebounded off the left post into the goal.
Cahill and Aloisi fashion remarkable comeback
The Japanese were reeling and Aloisi provided the icing with his team's third goal nearing full-time, evading defender Yuichi Komano to rifle home a left-foot volley to send the gold-clad Australian fans into uproar.
It all looked to be going sour for Guus Hiddink's Aussies after Nakamura's controversial goal.
Japan's controversial goal was not enough at the end
The Celtic midfielder lobbed in a cross from the right and Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer appeared to be knocked off balance by Naohiro Takahara in going for the ball which bounced into the unguarded goal.
Egyptian referee Essam Abdullah el Fatah enraged the Australian players when he awarded the goal and was confronted by a couple of players remonstrating with his decision.
Australia were always up against it before Hiddink risked everything to throw on Aloisi and striker Josh Kennedy along with attacking midfielder Cahill to save the match.
Aussies now face Brazil with last 16 place beckoning
The well-marshaled Japanese looked to have survived the incessant Australian attacks before Cahill's equalizing goal rattled their composure.
Australia's enthusiastic support now look forward to Brazil
Australia now head to Munich next Sunday for their clash with World Cup holders Brazil, while Japan must regroup against Croatia in Nuremberg on the same day.
Hiddink further enhanced his reputation as one of the great modern-day coaches with the substitutions which altered the course of the match and gave Australia genuine hope of progressing to the last 16.

Czechs Beat Defiant US 3-0

Impressive Czechs Beat Defiant US 3-0

US fans did not have much reason to celebrate

The first game in Group E, considered one of the tougher ones, was a one-sided affair as the Czech Republic showed a great example of tactically well played soccer.

High expectations were put on this game between the US team, fifth on the FIFA ranking, and the Czechs, who currently are ranked second in the world.
But it didn't take long for the crowd in Gelsenkirchen to realize that the FIFA ranking system mustn't be read as the truth.
While the Czechs did present themselves as a team to look out for in the later stages of the tournament, the Americans found it hard to convince anyone that they will reach the last 16 teams in a group where they still must play Italy and the African newcomer Ghana.
Americans will not give up hope
Czech Republic's Jan Koller (right) scored the first goal
Giant striker Jan Koller, who opened the scoring, had headed in the first goal in the fifth minute. But his afternoon suffered a painful end when he was carried off injured on the stroke of half-time.
The new Arsenal-signing Rosicky was on target in the 36th and 76th minutes to end the scoring at a comfortable lead.
American skipper Claudio Reyna said the early strike had put his men on the backfoot.
"Their first goal put us back on our heels," he said. "We played well and hit the post but we then made some tactical changes which didn't work. We needed some width and couldn't get it."
Claudio Reyna still has high hopes for his team
Reyna said he is convinced that the team's young players need to use the experience of the match when they face mighty Italy on Saturday.
"They will be tough to beat but we have to bounce back and learn from this," he added. "Some of the guys in the team are new to the World Cup and they were a little nervous. Now we must look forward and see what we are made of. We will have to be aggressive and not hesitant."
Czechs storm on to first place in Group E?
Czech Republic's Tomas Rosicky (center), who scored twice, is hugged by team mates
Next for the Czechs will be Ghana on Saturday, the same day the US team faces Italy.
Monday's result puts a lot of pressure on the Americans, who will have to beat the Italians for any realistic chances of reaching the last sixteen.
The Czechs, strengthened by the comfortable and impressive victory, will do everything they can to win the group and avoid an early clash with the Brazilians.


Italy Rock and Roll Their Way to Victory Over Ghana

And the Oscar goes to...Francesco Totti had plenty of rivals for the Best Actor award

Italy began their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Ghana in Hanover on Monday. There was a new attacking flair to the Azzurri but the old habit of play-acting was still in evidence with plenty of theatrics.

Andrea Pirlo's rasping 40th-minute drive put Italy ahead before substitute Vincenzo Iaquinta settled an intriguing Group E contest of contrasting styles with a breakaway goal seven minutes from the end.
Italy twice hit the woodwork in the first half and Ghana keeper Richard Kingston made a series of excellent saves to keep the four-time African champions in the game before Iaquinta struck.
Question marks have been raised about Italy's ability to cope with the distraction of the Serie A match-fixing scandal that is rumbling on back in the peninsula.
But despite several scares, the Azzurri never looked like ending up with anything less than three priceless points.
Most neutrals were rooting for Ghana, hoping to see one of world football's aristocrats embarrassed by the African underdogs, appearing at their first World Cup.
But too often the Black Stars lost their composure in front of goal after creating good openings, and in the end Italy's class told.
Ghana keeper is hero but can't keep Italy out forever
Kingston, preferred to Sammy Adjei in Ghana's goal, came to their rescue in the 12th minute, smothering a shot from Alberto Gilardino before seeing the ball hit the outside of the post.
After Sulley Muntari's drive had whistled over the bar, Italy were once again denied by the woodwork.
Gilardino's flick released Luca Toni whose fierce right-footed shot thumped the underside of the bar.
Asamoah Gyan and Michael Essien both sent shots into the stands for Ghana after promising runs before the Africans missed a golden chance.
A defensive clearance found its way to Emmanuel Pappoe with plenty of time to line up his shot, but rather than hit the target he sliced his effort wide.
Italy finally made the breakthrough five minutes before half-time. Totti tapped a corner short to Pirlo, whose right-footed drive from just outside the box flew into the bottom corner.
Ghana pressed for an equalizer but were caught on the break
Pirlo's effort would not have gone in had his quick-thinking team-mate Gilardino not ducked out of the way of the goal bound shot.
Fabio Grosso came close to putting Italy further ahead just before the break, but Kingston was equal to his angled strike.
Kingston produced another vital save to deny Gilardino shortly after the break, before Buffon was called upon to make his first intervention, diving at full stretch to palm away Essien's shot.
Kuffour mistake gives Italy the killer goal
Totti went off injured after picking up a knock on the same ankle that he broke back in February, before Ghana's backline was brutally exposed in the 83rd minute.
Pirlo released Iaquinta, who was beaten to the ball by Sammy Kuffour, but the Roma defender's attempted back pass was woefully short.


The 2006 World Cup football tournament got under way with host country Germany winning its opening match against Costa Rica in Munich. Millions of followers gathered in public outdoor venues around the nation to watch the game on huge video screens. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer reports from the so-called
In the St. Pauli district here, the Fan Fest is divided into a Fan Stadium with a giant screen and a Fan Park, with temporary bleachers as well as a huge standing room area. Throughout the park spectators and party-goers can select from a wide range of food and beverages at special stands. table But football was the main focus Friday with the home team in action.
And it did not take long for the Germans to get on the scoreboard, with a goal in the sixth minute. That brought loud cheers, blaring horns and German flags waving above the crowd. Six minutes later it was much quieter when Costa Rica tied the scoreBut Germany went on to win the match 4-2, and for Hamburg native Arno it was a thrill to be among so many fans to watch the victory.
"It's perfect. It's just, I don't know how to say it, the feelings are like, like football and goose bumpsArno's girlfriend, Wibke, also found the Fan Fest to be an enjoyable experience. "It was great. It was a great feeling here, to be here with other people, friends, and everybody laughs and is feeling good and making jokes, and so it's great. I hope the next games are as good as this is Germany will play its next World Cup match against Poland, which lost to Ecuador in the second match on the opening day, 2-0


Ecuador did a good job protecting the lead they got from Carlos Tenorio's goal in the 24th minute. Captain Ivan Hurtado and Neicer Reasco helped thwart the few chances the Poles got, although Poland hit the goalpost twice in the final minutes.Delgado then put the game away late. Edison Mendez slid a pass to Ivan Kaviedes, who beat an offside trap and fed Delgado alone in the front of the net for the easy score. Starting the game with Maciej Zurawski as the lone striker, Poland didn't test goalkeeper Cristian Mora at all. Even the substitution of a second forward, Ireneusz Jelen, in the 68th minute didn't help the Poles, who didn't have a shot on goal until the 84th minute. Ecuador is tied with Germany atop Group A. The hosts beat Costa Rica 4-2 earlier Friday. Ecuador, which lost its first two games on its way to first-round elimination in its World Cup debut four years ago, plays Costa Rica next Thursday."This was a great result. We achieved our expectations," Suarez said. "But this is just a step. The mountain is great. This is just the first step for Ecuador in this World Cup." Thousands of Polish fans made the trip to Germany, where the team won the 1972 Olympic gold medal and finished third in the 1974 World cup


Spectacular opening for World Cup

Claudia Schiffer
Claudia Schiffer added a touch of glamour to proceedings

The 2006 World Cup has got under way in Germany with an extravagant opening ceremony in Munich's Allianz Arena. Pele, a World Cup winner in 1958, 1962 and 1970, carried the trophy onto the pitch, with German supermodel Claudia Schiffer at his side.
More than 150 former World Cup winners were on display as the hosts put on a spectacular show.
Hosts Germany opened with a 4-2 win over Costa Rica in Munich, while Ecudaor shocked Poland 2-0.
World Cup organisers are expecting about one million people to visit Germany for the tournament, with as many as 100,000 of those from England.
All police leave has been cancelled across Germany as security forces brace themselves for a massive operation.
Five-time winners Brazil are the favourites to win again in a tournament which will be watched by billions worldwide on television.
Supporters packed into the stadium and clustered around giant TV screens on the streets of Munich to watch the game and the star-studded opening ceremony.
The BBC's Laura Smith Spark was at Munich's Olympic Park where thousands watched the opening game on big screens.
"The excitement here is huge and the crowd deafening. There is a big police presence - some with spotter cameras, but no signs of any trouble," she said.
The BBC's Mandeep Sanghera at the opening ceremony says the fans "certainly got into the swing of the occasion.
"A huge banner suspended by scaffolding at the top of the stadium unfurled to say 'Welcome' and was followed by singing from a choir and 182 drummers from Upper Bavaria slowly building up the atmosphere," our reporter says.
"There was a mixture of old and new as traditional dancers were followed by the more modern hip-hop contingent.
A German fan models a World Cup-themed hat in Munich
The Allianz Arena in Munich was the stage for the opening ceremony
"Twenty-four extravagantly dressed women were carried on to the pitch to the sound of drumming as the stadium reached capacity."
The England players who won the 1966 World Cup led the former champions of past competitions onto the pitch, followed by players from other triumphant sides - dating back to Uruguay in 1930.
German President Horst Kohler gave a speech to officially declare Germany 2006 open, before musician Herbert Gronemeyer sang the official Fifa anthem of Celebrate the Day.
Top contenders
Germany overcame the outsiders Costa Rica - apparently well-prepared not to repeat previous opening game shocks in 1990 (when cup holders Argentina were beaten by Cameroon) and 2002 (when the defending champions France lost to Senegal).
Alongside the Olympics, the competition is the biggest sporting event in the world.
The World Cup winners will be crowned after the final in Berlin on 9 July, with England, who face Paraguay on Saturday, among the favourites to win.
England, captained by David Beckham, are many people's second favourites and are expected to perform well.
But Argentina, Holland, Italy and Spain are among the other fancied teams, while the hosts have an excellent World Cup pedigree and can never be discounted.
In the last World Cup final in Yokohama, Japan in 2002, Brazil beat Germany 2-0.

Party in berlin

Thousands Party at Berlin's Star-Lined World Cup Fan Fest

Fans had no trouble getting in to the spirit of the party in Berlin on Wednesday

Boasting international stars and a laser show, Berlin staged a big party at the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday for thousands of fans to get in the mood for the World Cup.

Thousands of people thronged the historic Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin, a symbol of the city's Cold War division, on Wednesday evening to soak in the mounting excitement gripping the city as the clock ticks down to the soccer World Cup 2006.
Fans were in a good mood all around
Foreign fans from Brazil, Paraguay, Poland, Ecuador, Netherlands and Switzerland, many in colorful costumes, joined thousands of German revelers sporting red, black and yellow hats, outlandish wigs and other whacky fan paraphernalia to sway to an international music line-up and see some soccer legends in the flesh.
Simple Minds and Pelé delight crowds
British rock group Simple Minds kicked off the concert for the official Berlin fan party to welcome visitors to the month-long event, which begins on Friday when host Germany take on Costa Rica in Munich.
Portuguese pop singer Nelly Furtado, British group Right Said Fred and Italian singers Gianna Nannini and Andrea Bocelli also entertained the around 100,000-strong crowd.
Sporting celebrities, including Brazilian soccer legend Pele and former British soccer World Cup champion Bobby Charlton, were enthusiastically cheered by the fans.
Pele with host Barbara Schöneberger Bildunterschrift:
"It's God's gift that I'm still so popular and famous even though I haven't stood on the pitch for 25 years," Pele said.
The party closed with a soccer film by German director Sönke Wortmann, who won acclaim with his 2003 film "The Miracle of Bern," fireworks and a laser show.
Huge fan fests in all 12 cities
Wednesday's party was also meant to unveil the so-called fan mile, a stretch between the Brandenburg Gate and the Strasse des 17 Junis that boasts massive video screens on which all the 64 games will be aired live.
In addition to hotdogs and beer, fans can also watch live concerts and shows on days when there are no games.
All 12 cities hosting the World Cup are staging similar fan fest programs, showing the games on giant screens for the many supporters traveling to Germany without a match ticket.
Brazilian and German fans at the party
"It's great that you've all come here despite FIFA canceling the gala," said Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, in reference to the bitter disappointment of Berliners after the soccer governing body abruptly cancelled a lavish opening ceremony planned at Berlin's Olympic Stadium amid concerns it could damage the pitch.
"It's a wonderful feeling that hundreds of thousands of people are coming here, to be welcomed by friends."

Berlin Welcome cup

Berlin Welcomes World Cup With Early Celebrations

Thousands of German fans showing their true colors in Berlin

It might not have been the official 2006 World Cup opening ceremony but it drew thousands to the Brandenburg Gate to witness the city's opening gala of the world's greatest soccer event in Berlin on Wednesday.

The Brandenburg Gate, which is regarded as the symbol of a unified Berlin could not have a been a better choice for the ceremony which featured live music performances, memorable World Cup video highlights, stand up comedy and other entertainment. The so-called "Fan Mile" area, which has been set up along a major boulevard to the west of the gate, came to a stand-still as fans came in droves and took the opportunity to bond in a true World Cup spirit.
Large Screen Displays
Most relied on the large screen displays to witness what was happening as not everyone could catch a glimpse of the stage. There were huge roars of appreciation from the fans when pictures of previous World Cup heroes such as Aregntina's Diego Maradona, Brazil's Pele and German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer were shown. Fans, decked out in the countries' colors, flew their flags high, some beating drums and belting out songs as if they were in a singing competition.
For Marc Wagner, from Falkensee outside Berlin, the event was as good as an official one could have been -- Berliners were devastated earlier this year when FIFA officials cancelled a massive opening gala in the city's Olympiastadion because of fears that the grass would not recover in time for the first game on June 13.
"It's beautiful, it's a very well organized event," he said. Some fans were not paying much attention to what was happening on stage as they continued singing and dancing to their own songs throughout the night.
Few Match Tickets
But Robledo Muccer from Porto Alegre, Brazil complained about the limited number of tickets that were available.
"I am only here in Germany for one match because I only managed get one ticket," he said, adding that he would have loved to watch more games.
Muccer was not the only one -- there was a large number of fans who also complained about failing to secure more than one ticket to their team's World Cup matches. Most said they will be in Berlin for the duration of the World Cup and will watch other games at the public viewing camps, some of while carry up to 10,000 fans.
Ambitious Fans
From different walks of life but together for the World Cup in Berlin
Some fans took the opportunity to show their ambitions as they bragged that their teams were better prepared and ready to lift the World Cup.
Polish friends Wojciech Szpata and Maciy Zurawik, from Jelenia Gora, Poland, clad in their country's colors, were among the ambitious ones.
"Poland will win the 2006 World Cup," they told everyone they met.
Ecuadorian Paulina Vasquez who has been in Berlin for a month already, was more realistic of her country's chances in the competition.
"Brazil will win the World Cup, I hope we make it to the finals and at least finish second," she said.
And Fabricio Otarola from Costa Rica said he has never seen an event as big as this ceremony.
"It's amazing and really nice," he said, adding that if Berlin's opening party was an indication of what was still to come, it would turn out to be a "really great" World Cup. "Our country is small, we don't see such big events often."

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