Tuesday, June 25, 2013

25 June 2006 - The Battle Of Nuremberg

On 25 June 2006, referee Valentin Ivanov issued a FIFA-record four red cards and sixteen yellows in a World Cup Round of 16 match between the Netherlands and Portugal.

Both teams arrived at the Frankenstadion in Nuremberg as dark-horse contenders for the trophy. Portugal had won all three of their matches in the group, while the Netherlands won their first two, then drew with Argentina in their third game.

Despite their reputations for playing with style and creativity, the match quickly devolved into a brutal battle of attrition, with two Dutch players--Mark van Bommel and Khalid Boulahrouz--receiving cautions after only seven minutes. The next went to Portuguese midfielder Maniche in the 20th minute, but he scored three minutes later to give his team a 1-0 lead.

The first red card of the day went to Portuguese midfielder Costinha, who received a second yellow in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

In the second half, Ivanov issued another eleven yellows, resulting in ejections for Boulahrouz (63') and Giovanni van Bronckhorst (90+5') for the Netherlands and Deco (78') for Portugal. The total of twenty cards remains a record high for any FIFA-sponsored competition.

Portugal held on to win the match 1-0 and eventually advanced all the way to the semifinals before falling to France.

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