Portugal has edged the Netherlands, 1-0, to reach the World Cup quarterfinals in Germany. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer reports from Nuremberg that it was a rough, physical game in which numerous yellow cards were issued.
There were 16 bookings in the match here, tying a World Cup record. The first yellow card was issued by the Russian referee, Valentin Ivanov, in the second minute and it seemed nearly every time there was a hard foul a yellow card was shown.
By the end, two players from each side had accumulated two yellow cards and were ejected. That had never before happened at the World Cup finals. There were times when the players nearly came to blows.
Portugal got the only goal of the game from Maniche in the 23rd minute on a right footer from the top of the box that went inside the right post. He was named Man of the Match.
Maniche was clearly unhappy with the way the game was called.
"I think the referee did not have a good game," said Maniche. "He did not dignify football. We tried to play football. Obviously there were a lot of nerves. Everybody wants to win. Sometimes we have a few situations. But I just talk for Portugal. We didn't want to have any problems. We had an intense game."
Dutch coach Marco Van Basten, also was not pleased with the officiating.
"I think that its a pity that in the second half, very little football was played," said Marco Van Basten. "We saw very little football. Its a pity. I think its also a pity that the referee, in such an important game, should take decisions in this way. We haven't been [were not able] to see enough football in the second half."
Eleven of the yellow cards and three of the four ejections came in the second half. Van Basten credited the veteran Portuguese for knowing how to protect its one-goal lead even when it was playing a man short during the match.
"Portugal is an experienced opponent, which tonight I think was the difference between our team and the team of Portugal," he said. "They were just a little bit more experienced with all these tricks and wasting time, etc. That was a pity."
Portugal's coach, Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, said his team did well considering the rough play.
"We played nice football, good football, and we also adapted to the circumstances at certain times of the game," said Luiz Felipe Scolari. "So I believe the victory was normal. It wasn't calm, but it was normal."
Normal because the Portuguese have not lost in 18 straight international matches. They will take on England in the World Cup quarterfinals.