Portugal-Netherlands: one of the dirtiest matches in history of tournament

Players faked injuries, complained and brawled.

Every bit as ugly: the blaming and finger-pointing that came after Portugal’s 1-0 win yesterday, a victory that cost the Portuguese two key starters for their upcoming quarterfinal match with England.

But when it came to expulsions, the sides were level at 2-2. The four red cards were a World Cup first and raised the number in this tournament, whose motto is “A time to make friends,” to 23, already a World Cup record after 52 matches with 12 to go.

It means the Portuguese face England minus Deco and Costinha, who were ejected amid the pushing, shoving and theatrics that left both teams with nine men by the end. Portugal also lost Cristiano Ronaldo, a creative attacker, with a leg injury from a second harsh foul. His status was uncertain, accordint to te AP.

The 16 yellow cards yesterday tied a World Cup match record, with nine for Portugal, seven for the Netherlands.

But the difference in the game was a beautiful goal by Maniche in the 23rd minute that came off a quick threat on the edge of the area. Pauleta touched the ball to Maniche, who skipped inside a defender and shot right-footed past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar from 16 yards.

After that, the bile began to rise, and the best the Dutch could do in reply was send cross after cross. Veteran midfielder Phillip Cocu sent a volley crashing on the bar and out again in the 48th minute.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team