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The Battle of Nuremberg is the nickname of a football match played in Round 2 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup between Portugal and the Netherlands at the Frankenstadionmarker in Nurembergmarker on 25 June 2006. Referee Valentin Ivanov from Russiamarker issued a FIFA World Cup record four red cards and an unprecedented sixteen yellow cards, setting a new record for cards shown at any FIFAmarker-administered international tournament.

The match ended 1-0 to Portugal with Maniche scoring in the 23rd minute. Before the goal, Mark van Bommel had been booked and in the eighth minute, Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz was booked for a foul which injured Cristiano Ronaldo and would eventually force the substitution of Portugal's star winger before half time. Ronaldo left in tears, and proceeded to describe Boulahrouz's tackle as "clearly an intentional foul to get me injured." In the meantime, Maniche had been booked for an hysterical foul on van Bommel after 19 minutes.

Shortly after the goal, Portugal's defensive midfielder Costinha slid into Dutch veteran Philip Cocu, receiving a yellow card. He was then the first to be sent off just before half time after being shown a second yellow card for a deliberate handball. After Petit had been cautioned in the 50th minute, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Luís Figo both received yellow cards, with Figo's coming as a result of a headbutt (which, by FIFA rules, merits a mandatory direct red card and further disciplinary action). Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari controversially gave his approval to this headbutt by stating after the match, "Jesus Christ may be able to turn the other cheek but Luís Figo isn't Jesus Christ." Scolari also escaped punishment.

Boulahrouz was expelled in the 63rd minute with a second caution after fouling Figo as Portugal were countering. Portugal's playmaker Deco fouled Dutch defender John Heitinga and was booked; the Netherlands had not given the ball back after Portugal had put it into touch to allow a player to receive medical treatment. In the ensuing brawl, Wesley Sneijder pushed Armando Petit to the ground and was also cautioned. The Netherlands' Rafael van der Vaart received a yellow card, apparently for dissent. After that Portugal's goalkeeper Ricardo and left-back Nuno Valente were punished. Deco was sent off in the 78th minute for interfering with the flow of play by not handing the ball after a free-kick was awarded. In injury time, van Bronckhorst was sent off for a second yellow card for a foul.

In the aftermath of the match, Referee Ivanov was criticised by FIFAmarker president Sepp Blatter, who has suggested that Ivanov should have given himself a yellow card for his poor performance during the match. Sepp Blatter later regretted these words and promised to officially apologise. When Portugal faced England in the subsequent quarter-final, they would be without the suspended Deco and Costinha.

Match details

GK 1 Ricardo
DF 5 Fernando Meira
MF 6 Costinha
MF 7 Luís Figo (c)
FW 9 Pauleta
DF 13 Miguel
DF 14 Nuno Valente
DF 16 Ricardo Carvalho
MF 17 Cristiano Ronaldo
MF 18 Maniche
MF 20 Deco
GK 12 Quim
GK 22 Paulo Santos
DF 2 Paulo Ferreira
DF 3 Caneira
DF 4 Ricardo Costa
MF 8 Petit
MF 10 Hugo Viana
MF 11 Simão
FW 15 Luís Boa Morte
MF 19 Tiago
FW 21 Nuno Gomes
FW 23 Hélder Postiga
Luiz Felipe Scolari

GK 1 Edwin van der Sar (c)
DF 3 Khalid Boulahrouz
DF 4 Joris Mathijsen
DF 5 Giovanni van Bronckhorst
FW 7 Dirk Kuyt
MF 8 Phillip Cocu
MF 11 Arjen Robben
DF 13 André Ooijer
FW 17 Robin van Persie
MF 18 Mark van Bommel
MF 20 Wesley Sneijder
GK 22 Henk Timmer
GK 23 Maarten Stekelenburg
DF 2 Kew Jaliens
MF 6 Denny Landzaat
FW 9 Ruud van Nistelrooy
MF 10 Rafael van der Vaart
DF 12 Jan Kromkamp
DF 14 John Heitinga
DF 15 Tim de Cler
MF 16 Hedwiges Maduro
FW 19 Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink
FW 21 Ryan Babel
Marco van Basten

Assistant referees:

Nikolay Golublev

Evgeni Volnin

Fourth official:

Marco Rodríguez

Fifth official:

José Luis Camacho
Match rules:
  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra time if scores level
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • Of 12 substitutes named, three may be used

See also


  1. BBC SPORT | Football | World Cup 2006 | Portugal v Holland statistics
  2. Ronaldo cries foul | Mail Online
  3. World Cup 2006: Holland exit in acrimony | Football | The Guardian

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