July 1, 2006

Ricardo saves put Portugal through

By Trevor Huggins

GELSENKIRCHEN (Reuters) - Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo
saved three penalties to give his side a 3-1 penalty shootout
win over England in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday
after a goalless 120 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning penalty after Ricardo
saved penalties from England midfielders Frank Lampard and
Steven Gerrard and substitute Jamie Carragher.

Ricardo is the first goalkeeper to save three penalties in
a World Cup finals shootout. Portugal now play the winners of
the Brazil-France game in the semi-final.

England were forced to play the final half hour of normal
time and the whole of extra time with 10 men after striker
Wayne Rooney was sent off for stamping.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari paid tribute to the way
England responded to the loss of Rooney.

"Congratulations to England, with 10 players they were
incredible, it was an electrifying match," he told reporters.

"We didn't take advantage because we shot too much from
outside the penalty area. England closed the way to goal very
well and it was like playing 11 against 11."

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who now steps down from
his role after 5 1/2 years in charge, said defeat was an

"We are out of the tournament and that hurts. I don't think
we deserved to lose," he said.

"We did very well. In the second half we started to control
the game like we hoped to do. I think we held up very well."

On being knocked out on penalties, the Swede added: "Losing
once again on penalties, I'm really sorry about that.

"We practice penalties so much so I don't know what more
you can do about that."


After a closely-contested first half, the drama sparked
after 62 minutes when Rooney, only back from a broken foot at
these finals and seen as key to their World Cup hopes was

Involved in a tussle for possession, Rooney stamped on the
groin of defender Ricardo Carvalho virtually in front of
Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo.

England were already without captain David Beckham, left
sitting in tears with his head in his hands after being
substituted in the 51st minute, seemingly after taking a knock
from Nuno Valente.

Nothing went right for Eriksson's men, who had had a
penalty appeal ignored just two minutes earlier when a Beckham
cross struck the arm of Valente.

Eriksson reacted to Rooney's dismissal by bringing on
towering striker Peter Crouch for left winger Joe Cole, but
England were badly lacking firepower up front.

Portugal Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was behind England's
downfall at the 2002 World Cup for his native Brazil and did
the same for Portugal at Euro 2004, tried to galvanize his men
from the touchline.

It was a far cry from a balanced opening 45 minutes.

In a free-flowing start, England keeper Paul Robinson had
to smother in a goalmouth melee, while Portugal's defense
nearly was unlocked by a neat three-man move and Frank Lampard
almost got on the end of a Steven Gerrard through-ball.

Beckham's replacement, Aaron Lennon, caused havoc with his
first touches after the break -- teeing up Rooney, only for him
to mis-kick, while Cole prodded the loose ball over the bar
from point blank range.

Minutes later, things turned a lot worse for England as
Rooney, who had limped out of that Euro 2004 quarter-final with
Portugal with a broken bone in his foot, this time got his
marching orders.

Portugal soon had England in the ropes, without creating a
gilt-edged scoring chance, while John Terry and Crouch were
both denied by last-ditch interceptions.

Though winger Cristiano Ronaldo was a constant threat,
Scolari's men struggled to break down England's tiring side.