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FIFA World Cup: Round of 16 over; time for intense action

The FIFA World Cup Round of 16 ended with some unprecedented failures for big names while it brought forth some unsung heroes too.



Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The FIFA World Cup Round of 16 ended with some unprecedented failures for big names while it brought forth some unsung heroes too. Portugal, England and USA were shown the door as Paraguay, Ghana and Netherlands claimed the glory of entering the quarter-finals of the gala event. Zeenews takes a look into the current situation after the stage is set for an exiting week of football.

Brazil Rocking

Much has been made of Argentina, Spain and the Netherlands’ appetite for joga bonito at the 2010 World Cup while the likes of Chile and Mexico have also been highly commended for playing the beautiful game.

But the one country that everyone wanted to see turn on the style in South Africa was Brazil. Not Dunga and his 23 soldiers, though. And based on their dismantling of Chile in Monday night’s last-16 encounter, they have every reason not to follow the trend and stick with their own brand of football.

It’s difficult to categorise Brazil’s current style. While it has a distinct European feel to it, they are by no means a defensive side. They do like to absorb pressure and they do it very well, but every time they bring the ball forward, there’s still a gasp of excitement in the air as fans wait with baited breath to see what feast will be served up.

The Selecao’s 3-0 thumping of the Chileans once again highlighted how effectively balanced Dunga’s Brazil is. Each of the three goals perfectly summed up their style of play: direct and lethal on the counter-attack with a very subtle hint of Samba beat hidden between the lines of play.
Portugal’s Heartbreak

Portugal have been denied entry into the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain, and Cristiano Ronaldo pointed the finger directly at Carlos Queiroz for the result.

Ronaldo found himself on the fringes of the action throughout the match as he, too, was very discreet, in an encounter where the Seleccao never did much to impose their will on the game.

After the match, Ronaldo refused to comment on the result, and told reporters to ask Queiroz for the reasons for the scoreline.
Blunderbuss Referees

Jorge Larrionda and his linesman failed to see an England shot clearly cross the line in a 4-1 loss to Germany in a second round game on Sunday.

Frank Lampard`s shot hit the bar and bounced down behind the line before spinning back into play. It would have made the score 2-2.

Rosetti wrongly awarded a goal to Argentina`s Carlos Tevez against Mexico when he took Lionel`s Messi`s pass in a clearly offside position. It was Argentina`s first in a 3-1 victory which put the team into the last eight.

The mistakes prompted FIFA president Sepp Blatter to announce that he had apologised to England and Mexico after the errors helped eliminate their teams from the World Cup.

"Naturally, we deplore when you see the evidence of referees` mistakes," said Blatter, adding it would be "a nonsense" for FIFA not to look again at goal-line technology with its rule-making panel.

"After having witnessed such a situation," Blatter said, "we have to open again this file, definitely. Naturally, we will take on board again the discussion about technology. Something has to be changed."
England in Tatters

England were sent packing on Sunday when Germany trounced them 4-1 in Bloemfontein, their worst World Cup finals defeat.

England’s beaten and beleaguered World Cup players made a sullen and silent dawn return to London on Tuesday, dodging waiting fans as the storm of criticism at their early exit continued.

Former captain David Beckham, ruled out of the tournament in South Africa by injury, led the squad off the plane after they arrived at Heathrow airport at around 5.20 a.m. local time.

Few will have wanted to read Tuesday’s headlines anyway, with the Sun making its feelings clear about the nation’s “football flops” with a mock weather forecast on the front page after a weekend heatwave.

“Sunny outlook in many areas but depression over Heathrow as shower drifts in from South Africa,” it declared.

With England’s involvement in the tournament at an end, attention turned to the future of manager Fabio Capello.

With eight extremely talented outfits raring to have a go at football immortality, the quarterfinal battles will surely be a treat for all the game’s fanatics. Catch the FIFA World Cup 2010 coverage Live on Zeenews.com for the latest and the most comprehensive that comes out of South Africa!

(With inputs from Goal.com)

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