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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 1, 2006

England rues Rooney's dismissal

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) -- Portugal, Brazil -- it doesn't matter to Luiz Felipe Scolari. If he's coaching, the team will beat England.

After the English lost David Beckham to a leg injury and Wayne Rooney to a red card, Portugal won a shootout 3-1 Saturday night following 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, advancing to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1966.

England played a man short for nearly an hour, gamely holding on and creating chances along the way. When time ran out, the boisterous English fans seemed happy to have survived, jumping and singing "Que Sera, Sera" as the shootout loomed.

But shootouts are not where England shines, and it now has lost five of its last six in major tournaments.

Ricardo, Portugal's goalkeeper, only let one penalty kick go past.

"It was great," Ricardo said. "I managed to stop three of them. I'm really happy."

Portugal, which also beat England on penalty kicks in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago, meets Brazil or France on Wednesday. Italy faces Germany a day earlier in the other semifinal.

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Portugal sends England home
Scolari has won three straight big games over the English -- he led Brazil to a 2-1 quarterfinal win in the 2002 World Cup and Portugal to the 2004 Euro victory. In April, he turned down an overture to succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England's coach after this tournament.

"It was an electrifying, marvelous game with two great teams," Scolari said. "I have great respect for England, who even with 10 men made us sweat and run even more."

Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays in England for Manchester United, converted the final penalty, sending the ball to his right as goalkeeper Paul Robinson went the other way.

"I shoot strong," Ronaldo said, "and I'm very happy."

Portugal's small contingent of fans, relegated to one corner and drowned out for the entire game, were suddenly loud enough to fill the closed-roof stadium in Gelsenkirchen with a wall of joyous noise.

Simao Sabrosa and Helder Postiga also converted penalties for Portugal. Ricardo stopped kicks by Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, whose shot rebounded off Ricardo, then hit the crossbar and bounced out.

Only Owen Hargreaves converted his penalty for England, which has beaten Portugal just once in the last 11 meetings. The Portuguese extended their unbeaten streak to 19 matches overall.

Beckham left seven minutes into the second half, five minutes after Nuno Valente stepped on his right ankle. Rooney was ejected ten minutes later after getting tangled up with a Portuguese player and then pushing Cristiano Ronaldo just a few steps in front of the referee.

Beckham buried his face in his hands on the bench, and appeared to be in tears. He later sat on the ground, stretching out his leg with towels covering it.

Immediately after losing its captain, England gained new energy and its thousands of fans sang louder and longer, trying to inspire their team with rousing versions of "Rule, Britannia!" and "God Save the Queen."

Rooney had a look of disbelief on his face when he was shown the red card by Horatio Elizondo, the same referee who ejected Beckham during Manchester United's opener in the 2000 World Club Championship in Brazil. Peter Crouch, England's gawky 6-foot-7 forward, came on for Joe Cole in the 65th, but managed only one shot after taking over as England's lone striker.

When Ronaldo's shot went in to end it, Portugal's players ran onto the field in glee, while England's slumped in the center circle. Victoria Beckham, the former Posh Spice, lingered in the stands, with a forlorn look behind her oversized sunglasses.

The game likely was the final World Cup appearance of Beckham and Gary Neville, and its passionate fans kept the songs rolling throughout, hoping to spur their team to its first World Cup semifinal since 1990.

Saturday was the finale for Eriksson, who announced in January that he was leaving after the World Cup.

"I don't think we deserved to lose," Eriksson said. "We did very well. We started the second half very, very well and started to control the game, which was exactly what we'd hoped to do. ... We practiced penalties so much. I don't know what we can do more about it."

Luis Figo then had a great chance for Portugal in the 78th, but Robinson dived right and was barely able to push the ball away. At the other end, Lampard had a booming free kick in the 83rd that Ricardo blocked with a dive, and Lennon's shot off the rebound didn't have enough pace and also was stopped.

Postiga headed the ball in the net in the 106th minute but was clearly offsides, and the goal was disallowed. In the last shot of extra time, Maniche sent the ball over the bar, and players from both teams collapsed.

England also lost on penalty kicks to Portugal in the 2004 European Championship quarterfinals, to Argentina in the second round of the 1998 World Cup, to Germany in the 1996 Euro semifinals and to Germany in the 1990 World Cup semis. Its lone win in that span was against Spain in the 1996 Euro quarterfinals.