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Spain, Chile and Portugal Advance at World Cup

  • Sonny Young

First round action is now complete at the World Cup football tournament in South Africa. Spain, Chile and Portugal earned the last three berths Friday in the knockout Round of 16.

Spain defeated Chile, two-one, in Pretoria, with both teams going through to the next round. David Villa and Andres Iniesta scored first half goals for the Spaniards, and Rodrigo Millar got Chile's goal shortly after the break. The Spaniards needed a win to guarantee advancement, and their quest was aided when Chile's Marco Estrada was sent off with a second yellow card, after Iniesta's goal in the 37th minute.

Iniesta was named the Man of the Match. Spain and Chile finished level with six points in Group H, but Spain was on top of the table because of better goal difference. Also in Group H, Switzerland and Honduras played to a goalless draw in Bloemfontein. The Swiss ended their World Cup campaign with four points as well as Honduras with one point.

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European champion Spain will next play Portugal on Tuesday in Cape Town, while Chile will challenge five-time World Cup champion Brazil on Monday here in Johannesburg. The Brazilians and the Portuguese battled to a scoreless draw Friday in Durban. The Brazilians had already clinched a spot in the knockout stage, and they finished on top of Group G with seven points. Portugal had five points, followed by Ivory Coast with four and North Korea with no points. In Nelspruit Friday, Ivory Coast beat North Korea, three-nil, getting goals from Yaya Toure, Koffi Romaric N'Dri and Salomon Kalou.

Before this World Cup kicked off, "The Elephants" of Ivory Coast were rated a top African contender for the trophy. But, just like at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Ivorians were drawn into a difficult group and exited after the first round.

Osso Reine is an Ivory Coast fan who owns an art shop here in Johannesburg. She said all Ivorians, including President Laurent Gbagbo, are very disappointed the team could not advance. "I want to see my country go up (advance). Soccer is for everybody. It's not only for Brazil or for other teams, it's for everybody. Everyone, even our President, knows we can't go back like this," she said.

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba said his team is disappointed, but it also realizes it was in a very tough group with Brazil and Portugal. The other teams to reach the World Cup's Round of 16 are, in alphabetical order, Argentina, England, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Slovakia, South Korea, the United States and Uruguay.

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