Brazilian defender nears foul record
Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
FRANKFURT, Germany - Brazil defender Lucio enters today's quarterfinal match against France with a chance to surpass the mark for most consecutive minutes played in a World Cup without committing a foul.
Lucio has not been called in Brazil's first four matches and is 23 minutes from passing the mark set by Paraguay defender Carlos Gamarra, who in 1998 spent 383 minutes without allowing a free kick.
Aside from goalkeepers, Lucio is the only player yet to commit a foul after playing at least 360 minutes - or four matches - in this year's tournament.
"It's a positive (statistic), but it's not my priority," Lucio said. "I know eventually I'll end up making a foul in order to help the national team."
Gamarra played four matches and an additional 23 minutes of extra time without committing a foul in 1998. He also didn't get called in four games in 2002.
No fair go for Aussies
Australia didn't receive a "fair go" from referees at soccer's World Cup because of FIFA's perception it was a dirty team, Socceroos assistant coach Graham Arnold said Friday.
"I felt in all games we didn't get a fair go," Arnold said on his arrival home from Germany. "I think Mark Viduka was the most-penalized player in the World Cup and I don't think he's that kind of player."
Arnold said he read that of the five referees sent home early from the world tournament, four officiated in Socceroos matches.
Asked if he believed officials discriminated against smaller nations at major tournaments, he said simply "Yep."
Arnold described as "cheap" the decision of Spanish referee Luis Medina to award an injury-time penalty to Italy in the second round match. Francesco Totti made the kick on the final play for a 1-0 Italy victory.
Arnold said the Aussies have cleaned up their act since gaining more skill.
"I just want FIFA and people around the world involved in football to get rid of the perception that Australian football teams are dirty and aggressive," Arnold said. "I'll admit when I played in the mid-80s and early 90s we did play like that."
The brain in Spain
Spain coach Luis Aragones said Friday he will remain in charge, despite a promise to quit if his team was eliminated early from the World Cup.
Aragones said he will stay until the European Championships in 2008 after meeting with Spanish soccer federation officials.
Until its 3-1 to France in the second round Tuesday, Spain had not lost in 26 games. Still, it has been a chronic underachiever and Aragones promised he would quit if the team missed the semifinals.
He reiterated that promise Wednesday upon returning from Germany, saying, "It's clear that I'm the most guilty that we're leaving so early."
On Friday, it was a different story.
"The federation said it is happy with my work," Aragones told reporters.
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