All-European World Cup Semi-Final Is Set
The FIFIA World Cup quarterfinal match-ups began last Friday with Ger-many defeating Argentina on penalty kicks. Robert Ayala put the South Americans in front with a 49th minute goal and a clutch score in the 80th minute by Miroslav Klose (his fifth of the tournament) got the host nation level. After a scoreless extra time, Ger-man goalkeeper Jens Lehmann made two saves on Ayala and Esteban Cam-biasso after allowing two goals. Ar-gentina's substitute keeper Leo Franco allowed consecutive scores from Oliver Nueville, Michael Ballack, Lu-kas Podolski and Tim Borowski to send the Nationalmannschaft on to the semi-finals.
Italy moved onto the semi-finals with a convincing 3-0 win over Ukraine. Gianluca Zambratta's sixth minute strike was followed by a pair of second half goals by Luca Toni. The Azzurri faced Germany on Tuesday for the right to play for the championship.
On Saturday, the match between England and Portugal remained scoreless after 120 minutes. In the subsequent shoot-out, Portugal was able to score on three penalty kicks as opposed to one for the English. Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo came up huge in making three saves against Frank Lam-pard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Car-ragher. Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty kick was the advantage.
Portugal was unable to capitalize playing a man up after Wayne Rooney was dismissed in the 62nd minute. They were able to advance, but had to battle hard for the right to do so.
France surprised the world by knock-ing off defending Cup holders Brazil 1-0. Thierry Henry's 57th minute goal stood up and propelled Les Bleus into a semi-final match-up versus Portugal. A possible scoring opportunity for Brazil went for naught when an 88th minute free-kick by Ronaldhino tra-veled over the crossbar.
Zinedine Zindane sparked the French and controlled the pitch with excellent footwork. He set up Henry's tally and put his club in position to score on more than one occasion. Up next for the French was Portugal in a semi-final match held yesterday. An all-European Final Four will be very in-triguing.