David Villa's 63rd-minute strike gave Spain a 1-0 win over Portugal and sent the European champions into the World Cup quarter-finals.

Portugal were the only team left in the competition yet to concede a goal and were frustrating Spain in the much-anticipated second-round showdown between the Iberian neighbours.

But two substitutions just before the hour mark proved decisive, with Portugal losing their way after Hugo Almeida was hauled off for Danny while Spain burst into life after Fernando Llorente replaced a below-par Fernando Torres.

Within a minute, Llorente's point-blank header was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo while Villa fired wide.

Villa then broke the deadlock as he stabbed the ball past Eduardo at the second attempt for his fourth goal of the World Cup.

Llorente twice went close late on while Danny had a dangerous-looking shot blocked by Pique but moments later Portugal's hopes were over when referee Hector Baldassi gave Costa his marching orders for apparently lashing out at Capdevila.



England were hammered 4-1 by Germany in the second round of the World Cup, but the spotlight fell on the officials after they missed an obvious equaliser for Fabio Capello's men just before half-time.

After Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski had put Germany 2-0 up early on, Matthew Upson got one back but then Frank Lampard's goal was ruled out after the ball bounced down off the bar, despite it landing a yard over the line.

When Lampard's effort went in, only for assistant Mauricio Espinosa to miss it, grainy images of England's controversial third at Wembley in 1966 immediately sprang to mind. To his total disbelief, Capello's celebrations of what would have been an equaliser were cut short. Everyone in the ground, except the men who mattered, knew what had happened.

Germany made the most of their good fortune to book a quarter-final place, with what turned out to be their biggest win over a rival they have not lost to in a major tournament since the 1966 final. For England, it was their joint-biggest ever defeat at a World Cup.

Klose and Podolski's first half-goals were doubled by a pair from the excellent Thomas Muller after the break. But no-one will be talking about them on the streets of England. Nor will they discuss a Matthew Upson header that brought the Three Lions back into it.

Eventually they might get round to the clear defensive deficiencies in a team Capello claimed was good enough to reach the final.



England captain Steven Gerrard has backed Wayne Rooney to bag his first goal of the World Cup in Sunday's knockout clash against Germany.

The match in Bloemfontein will see the winner book a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament and Fabio Capello's team will look towards Rooney to fire them to glory after scraping through the group stages.

Rooney was widely-expected to continue his rampant goalscoring form for Manchester United in the event, but he has so far been unable to find the net and has looked sluggish as England seek to end their trophyless run in international football.

Gerrard, though, is confident the 24-year-old will finally find his form in time to inspire his team to victory against Germany.



England produced a vastly improved performance to beat Slovenia 1-0 and progress to the last 16 as Group C runners-up. The Three Lions needed to win after being held to disappointing draws by USA and Algeria in their opening two World Cup games, and responded with a dynamic display full of urgency and slick passing.

Two of the players brought into the side by Fabio Capello combined for the crucial goal on 22 minutes as James Milner delivered a superb cross from the right wing and Jermain Defoe provided the finishing touch.

England continued to dominate possession and carved out a number of good opportunities to double their advantage, with Samir Handanovic repelling Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney with athletic saves, and Defoe also flicking an effort wide.

Slovenia did carry a threat on the counter-attack and anxiety would have been spreading among England supporters as their team failed to take a more comfortable lead.

However, England stayed solid in defence and held on to the final whistle to make it through to the next round, with Slovenia dramatically bowing out as a result of USA's last-gasp winner against Algeria.



Fabio Capello says he never considered dropping John Terry after the defender's outburst, and insists confidence is high in the England camp as they prepare to face Slovenia in Wednesday's crunch match in Port Elizabeth.
England have had to deflect stories of rifts in the camp following newspaper speculation at the weekend and John Terry's press conference, when the former skipper claimed there would be frank words spoken at a team meeting.
Capello has since stated that Terry made a "big mistake" in that press conference, but insisted on Tuesday that he never considered dropping the former captain in order to punish him.
Captain Steven Gerrard, who described the game against Slovenia as "do or die'', claimed Terry's outburst is not affecting the players. Gerrard sympathises with the supporters and revealed the team are desperate to put on a better performance. He also denied that he and his team-mates had put pressure on Capello to pick Joe Cole in his team.
Capello also backed Wayne Rooney to up his game following recent criticism of his below-par performances, especially in the goalless draw with Algeria. The manager admitted it was possible he had made mistakes in England's opening two games but has called for his players to knuckle down and start battling.



David Villa almost had a perfect night as a goal in each half from the new Barcelona recruit helped Spain get their World Cup campaign back on track.

A wonderful individual effort in the first half was followed by a goal forged by brilliant movement off the ball in the second. The only thing missing was the hat-trick to crown the performance as he sidefooted wide a second-half penalty and struck the crossbar early on.

Back to their sublime best, Spain's nerves were settled after the early goal and they never looked like letting Honduras back into the game. Fluid and commanding in possession, their passing moves were a joy to watch and Iker Casillas in goal hardly had a touch.

The win was vital after the opening Group H defeat to Switzerland and Vicente Del Bosque's side finally looked to have settled into the tournament.



England captain Steven Gerrard has called on his side to announce themselves at the World Cup with a convincing win over Algeria.

The Three Lions take on Algeria in Cape Town on Friday looking to improve from their opening draw with the United States.

Gerrard insists the whole squad is determined to prove their critics wrong and show why Fabio Capello's men are regarded as one of the favourites to go all the way in South Africa.



A scrappy second-half goal by Gelson Fernandes gave Switzerland a shock 1-0 victory over World Cup favourites Spain in their Group H opener in Durban.

Although the Spaniards dominating possession, the Swiss took a surprise lead in the 52nd minute with Fernandes firing past goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Spain's Xabi Alonso was denied by the crossbar in the 71st minute as his team wasted a hatful of chances to restore parity.

Swiss' Eren Derdiyok struck the far post in the 75th minute but his hard-working team held on for an historic win against the European champions in front of 62,000 spectators at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Swiss assured themselves of victory with an efficient performance that relied on making the most of their limited chances.



An own goal by Daniel Agger, thanks to Simon Poulsen's mistimed header, and a late Dirk Kuyt effort helped Netherlands begin their World Cup campaign with a comfortable victory over Denmark at Soccer City.

Both goals came in the second half after an assured first period of defending by the Scandinavians, who constantly thwarted a Dutch attack which appeared short of ideas without the injured Arjen Robben.

But the resistance was broken less than 60 seconds into the second half, when Robin van Persie's cross from the left was headed in the wrong direction by Simon Poulsen - he tried to head clear and sent it towards his own goal - and it struck the back of Agger and went in.

Kuyt doubled Netherlands' advantage five minutes from the end to ensure the highly-fancied Oranje a positive start in Group E.



A terrible error by Robert Green cost England two points in their World Cup opener, as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with the United States of America.

Steven Gerrard had the Three Lions in front early on, with the new skipper leading by example throughout. However, the USA were level shortly before half-time when a tame effort from Clint Dempsey slipped through Green's grasp and into the back of the net.



England skipper Steven Gerrard has warned his team-mates to keep their cool at the World Cup to avoid any unnecessary suspensions. Discipline of England's players has come under the microscope after Wayne Rooney was booked for swearing at referee Jeff Selogilwe during Tuesday's friendly win over local side Platinum Stars.

Reports have suggested the officials for England's opening game with the USA have been learning English profanities in order to know what to listen out for. Gerrard has called on his team-mates not to get caught in the trap and underlined the importance of not losing any personnel during the tournament because of indiscipline.



Liverpool are planning a shock move for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. The Anfield outfit are searching for a new man at the helm after Rafa Benitez's six-year reign was brought to an end by mutual consent on Thursday. And Spurs boss Redknapp has emerged as a leading contender for the Reds hierarchy as they aim to bring stability back to Merseyside.
Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish and managing director Christian Purslow have been charged with the task of identifying and selecting a replacement. Dalglish knows Redknapp well having brought his son Jamie to Anfield in January 1991 when he was at the helm of the five-time European champions and the two families have been close ever since.


Frank Lampard believes he can forge a successful partnership with new captain Steven Gerrard in the heart of England's midfield. Gerrard has been handed the armband for the World Cup after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out with a knee problem on Thursday.
Lampard, who is now the team's vice-captain, is fully behind the decision and has no doubts that Gerrard will thrive on the added responsibility as he does at club level. Lampard and Gerrard could be asked to line up together in central midfield against USA next Saturday, with Gareth Barry doubtful due to an ankle problem.



Rafael Benitez has left Liverpool, reportedly by mutual consent. Benitez, who took over from Gerard Houllier in 2004, found his position untenable after a disappointing season which saw Liverpool finish seventh in the Premier League, just 12 months after being runners-up to Manchester United.
The club have released a statement on their official website which reads: "Liverpool FC today confirmed that Rafael Benitez is to leave the club by mutual consent.
The board has now asked Managing Director Christian Purslow, with the assistance of Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish, to begin a formal search to identify and assess potential candidates for the managerial position.



Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt sent Holland on their way to a crushing friendly victory over disappointing Ghana in Rotterdam. Kuyt struck the game's opener on the half hour and second-half efforts from Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie saw the hosts ease home. Asamoah Gyan netted for the Africans.
Kuyt stabbed the ball home from close range after Ghana keeper Richard Kingson had parried the initial shot from van Persie. Coach Bert van Marwijk made three half-time substitutions and the Dutch struggled to make the game safe before Van der Vaart finished off a one-two with Mark van Bommel on 73 minutes.
Ghana pulled one back through Gyan before a long-range effort from Sneijder and a late penalty from Van Persie wrapped up a convincing Dutch win.