Portugal delight as French revolt

Portuguese knock out North Korea with 7-0 win as Chile and Spain win and French row.

    Portugal's win sent their coach Carlos Queiroz into lyrical mode [GALLO/GETTY]

    An extraordinary French players' revolution escalated at the World Cup on Monday but an avalanche of goals from Portugal and the first victory by pre-tournament favourites Spain restored bruised European pride.

    Portugal crushed North Korea 7-0 in the World Cup's highest score so far before Spanish striker David Villa scored twice and missed a penalty in their 2-0 victory over a stubborn Honduras.

    That victory got Spain's campaign back on track after a shock defeat to Switzerland in the opening Group H match.

    Even these successes at a tournament where Europe's aristocrats had so far frustrated expectations were not a sufficient antidote to the damaging French rebellion against their management which has shocked the nation.


    Beleaguered coach Raymond Domenech said some of the rebels may be unwilling to play in France's final Group A match on Tuesday against hosts South Africa, where both teams face humiliating first round elimination unless one takes an unlikely, high-scoring victory and another result goes their way.

    The French players on Sunday boycotted a training session after striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting Domenech.

    French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot, dispatched to intervene by President Nicolas Sarkozy, told the players they had tarnished the nation's image.


    "French football faces a moral disaster," she said. Newspapers pilloried the players as overpaid brats.

    Portugal's best result in a World Cup ensured the elimination of North Korea and ended a 16-month international goal fast for Cristiano Ronaldo while a dominant Spain looked unlucky not to score more against minnows Honduras.

    Chile kept up Latin America's storming run, squeezing one goal past Switzerland's vice-like defence.

    North Korea were back at a World Cup for the first time since they stunned the world in England 44 years ago.

    No fairy tale

    But there was no repeat of that fairy-tale run when they took a three-goal lead against Portugal in the quarter-finals before Eusebio scored four to inspire a 5-3 comeback for the Europeans in one of the all-time great World Cup games.

    Portugal's beaming coach Carlos Queiroz praised his team for "the wonderful way in which they played, their great attitude, reverence for the game, the beautiful football, the beautiful goals."

    Despite having Valon Behrami sent off, Switzerland still managed to break Italy's World Cup record of 550 minutes without conceding a goal by eight minutes in Monday's second game.

    But their defence was breached in the second half during a wave of fluent Chilean attacks.

    A header by the South Americans' second half substitute Mark Gonzalez with 15 minutes to go won the game 1-0 and kept Chile on top of Group H with six points as the Swiss squandered a chance to equalize in the last minute.

    President Sebastian Pinera, an ardent football fan, watched the match from the ravaged city of Constitucion with survivors of a massive February 27 earthquake.

    "The World Cup is for everyone and we wanted to share," he said from the quake zone.

    As well as France, Italy and England are also licking their wounds after a dismal World Cup so far for Europe's traditional powers.

    English vice-captain Frank Lampard denied reports the team had confronted coach Fabio Capello in crisis talks, but clearly all is not well after two dire draws for the nation that invented football.

    The English need to reproduce their domestic league form, Lampard said.

    "We play in the best league in the world, the Premier League, and we have to play with that pace and passion that we have every week at home," he said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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