Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz lamented the bounce of the ball after his team was eliminated 1- 0 by Spain last night in the World Cup round of 16.
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas could only block Cristiano Ronaldo’s 28th-minute free-kick back in front of his goal and the ball went over the heads of two Portuguese attackers. In the 64th minute, Spain’s David Villa broke through Portugal’s defense, shooting straight at Eduardo, who stopped it. The ball bounced back to Villa, who struck it cleanly into the net.
“Unfortunately one of the rebounds went right to Spain,” Queiroz told reporters. “We had a similar situation in the first half. The rebound went off Casillas and past our two players. It was exactly the same.”
Eduardo, who stopped nine of the 10 shots the Spanish got on target, was left in tears at the end. It was the only goal Portugal conceded in the tournament, after scoreless draws with Brazil and Ivory Coast and a 7-0 rout of North Korea. Eduardo’s team goes home and Spain moves on to play Paraguay in the quarterfinals.
Spain, which had 61 percent of the possession and outshot Portugal 10-3, deserved to win, Queiroz said. Still, a first- half goal might have made a difference, he said.
“Spain moved the ball extremely well and had a good portion of possession,” the coach said. “Whoever does this will control the game.”
Argentinean referee Hector Baldassi allowed the game to flow, telling players to get up instead of whistling for fouls.
Spain started to pressure Eduardo from the first minute, when Fernando Torres forced a save. The Portuguese keeper had two more stops to make from Villa in the next six minutes.
The Portuguese got some of their own chances, with Casillas able to parry Tiago’s shot straight up in the air and get to it before Hugo Almeida could head it in.
“It was extremely intense,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. “We were quite even in the first half. We always controlled the match, but I thought in the second half we were better.”
Del Bosque replaced Liverpool’s Torres with Fernando Llorente in the 58th minute. The 6-foot-4 (1.92 meter) Athletic Bilbao forward helped open up the game and Villa’s goal came five minutes later.
Portugal couldn’t respond, with Ronaldo left protesting to the referee about fouls that weren’t given. Eventually, Baldassi did give a card, dismissing Ricardo Costa for a foul on Spain’s Joan Capdevila. Portugal had all but given up, with Ronaldo shooting from 30 yards, a slow roller that went wide. It brought boos from the crowd of 62,955.
The former World Player of the Year appeared frustrated, spitting close to a television camera filming his exit from the field.
Spain moved on, the European champion trying to win a bigger trophy.
“We tried to keep possession of the ball,” said Xavi, who was named man of the match. “We tried to play the style we’ve been playing for the last few years. We enjoyed our football, especially in the second half. This is the best match we played in this World Cup.”