CARD-RALLY HANDS A WIN TO PORTUGAL
FIFA WORLD CUP
Seventeen yellow-cards were lifted by Russian Referee Ivanov Valentin when two each players of Portugal and Netherlands were sent off due to being booked twice in the Round of sixteen match of FIFA World Cup Germany. Their performances were so vicious to watch that four red-cards were necessary for the game, I think. Portugal, who went through Group D with all three wins, showed a superbry attacking football before the tragedy. At 23 minutes, Deco surrounding Dutch players sent a ball to striker Pauleta, who connected to Maniche's shot past Edwin van der Sar. It was the tragedy that Portugal's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari lost not only Costinha's second yellow card to eject but also young hope Cristiano Ronaldo, who was substituted due to injury, at both 1st half.
Into the 2nd, Netherlands, who ranked the 2nd in the Group C by goal defference behind Argentina as same 7 points, failed continually decisive chances to score in right front of goal standing Ricald. After Khalid Boulahrouz' sent-off, Dutch coach Marco van Basten threw out strikers, Rafael van der Vaart and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, to challenge the power-play, which dissapointed me because the Oranges was expected to show their own football they had. Power play is not theirs. 10-man Dutch was obiously panic in trailing one goal. Portuguese had much strong defence and a little good luck despite losing Deco collecting two yellow cards in the match.
Holland, who lost Gio van Bronckhorst at ending the game, had been defeated by Portugal two in a row since Semifainal of Euro 2004. Watching Netherlands' preliminary games of this World Cup, they seemed to be near the Champion, so the result dissapointed very much. Next game will be difficult for Portugal, who is lack of Deco. I'll prey that the winner is not decided by penalty shoot-out in as many a game as possible.
FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
R16 at Nuremberg (25 Jun)
Portugal 1-0 Netherlands
*Portugal up to Qtr-final against England