Into the final eight: Portugal and England have booked their spots in the
quarter finals, scoring 1-0 victories against Holland and Ecuador respectively. Continuing the
refereeing controversies at the tournament, the Portugal-Holland match set a
World Cup record for bookings (16) and a new record for red cards (4). Russian referee Valentin Ivanov has already been
criticised by no lesser authority than Sepp Blatter. “There could have been a
yellow card for the referee”, the FIFA president said. “He was not at the same
level as the players.” In the other game, England moved past Ecuador with David Beckham finding the net with a
curling free kick at the sixty minute mark, becoming the only English player to
score at three World Cups. Although the result went their way, the English team
still hasn’t hit shown the form that could take them all the way to the grand
prize. “It was an ugly performance but it was what we wanted and we’ll take
ugly performances”, Beckham said after the match. Wayne Rooney, who played the
full 90 minutes, also acknowledged there was room for improvement. “Whoever we meet in the
quarter-finals, we will have to raise our game to get a result. We are not far
away from the final, only three games, and this is where the competition gets
really tough and we will have to be at our very best.”

Peter Fray

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