England's Rooney Draws Two-Game Ban After Loss to Portugal

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Striker Wayne Rooney was suspended for two competitive international matches and fined $4,085 by a FIFA disciplinary panel that reviewed his ejection from England's World Cup quarterfinal loss to Portugal.

Rooney was given a red card by referee Horacio Elizondo for stomping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho in the 62nd minute of the quarterfinals.

He denied it was intentional, saying he was "gobsmacked" by the charge, but a FIFA disciplinary committee on Saturday found him guilty of violent conduct. Rooney faced an automatic one-game suspension by virtue of the straight red, but the committee doubled the punishment.

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Rooney will be suspended for the first two of England's 12 qualifying matches for the 2008 European Championship. The short-tempered Manchester United forward has a history of ejections at the top level, dating back to December 2002 when — at age 17 — he was red-carded in a Premier League match for Everton.

England opens qualifying with games against Andorra on Sept. 2 and Macedonia four days later. The teams are the lowest-ranked in a group also containing Croatia, Israel, Russia and Estonia.

In other punishments announced Saturday, two Argentina players were suspended for their parts in a skirmish that followed their quarterfinal loss to Germany.

Leandro Cufre was banned for four matches and fined $8,170 for kicking Germany defender Per Mertsacker in a melee that followed the penalty shootout at Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Maxi Rodriguez was suspended for two matches and fined $4,085 for throwing punches during the skirmish. Cufre, an unused substitute in the match, was handed a red card after the final whistle.

Germany midielder Torsten Frings missed the World Cup semifinal loss to Italy because of a suspension stemming from the quarterfinal. In a quick ruling on the eve of the semifinal after new footage of the brawl was shown on German and Italian TV, Frings was found guilty of punching Julio Cruz.

"I feel betrayed as it was not what I deserved," Frings was quoted saying in German newspapers. "FIFA destroyed my dream. I was punished for defending myself."

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said the disciplinary committee did not immediately release comments on its findings.

The disciplinary panel took two days to deliberate Rooney's case and three days for the Argentine pair.

England's Football Association submitted a defense to the disciplinary committee, but Rooney was widely expected to be banned for more than one match. UEFA president Lennart Johansson said he agreed with the original ruling by Elizondo, who will referee Sunday's World Cup final between Italy and France.

After breaking his foot on April 29, Rooney's place at the World Cup was in doubt until just before England's second match against Trinidad and Tobago on June 15.

He was cleared to play against Trinidad, despite lacking match fitness, and went on as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win.

He started the third match against Sweden and the second-round win over Ecuador. In the quarterfinal, he was sent off in the 62nd minute, leaving England a man short for almost an hour. Portugal won on penalties after the match finished 0-0 after 120 minutes.

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