Group matches at France 98 played on Thursday, 25th June.
Belgium vs South Korea in Paris (1:1).
Germany vs Iran in Montpellier (2:0).
Holland vs Mexico in St. Etienne (2:2).
United States vs Yugoslavia in Nantes (0:1).
Belgium had to win this game and scored two minutes after the first
Dutch goal against Mexico; Nilis the scorer.
The South Koreans sent a lifeboat to the Bay of Mexico, with a 71st
minute goal by Yoo.
Belgium 1 -
South Korea 1
Mexico were without Pavel Pardo and, for the first 45 minutes,
looked like it was siesta time already.
In the fourth minute, Bergkamp flicked the ball over a Mexican in the
centre circle; for Cocu to run onto and finish, with a low shot past Campos.
A Ramirez shot, in the eleventh minute, was punched away by Van Der
Sar; Blanco's return easily collected.
In the 19th minute, Ronald de Boer shook off three defenders and
struck in the second for Holland; off the inside of the post. That's how Michael Owen
should have done it against Romania.
The Mexicans had gone to sleep and Campos had to react quickly on the
half-hour, to prevent a ridiculous goal. A lazy high ball was passed square across the
edge of the penalty area and cut out by a Dutch attempt at a header. Campos was off his
line and sprinted back to push the ball wide.
Overmars, in the penalty area, should have made it three; five minutes
before half-time. His cool little chip, over a groveling Campos, curled away from the top
right hand corner instead of towards it.
Where was the urgency in Mexico's play?
The Dutch were almost walking the ball into them as if the Mexicans
expected South Korea to beat Belgium for them, in the other game.
Mexico didn't look any fresher after the break, until South Korea
equalised against Belgium, in the 71st minute.
Four minutes later, a downward header fell to Palaez, in the box, to
get in the decisive touch.
Then Hernandez sprang into life and crossed high for Pelaez again. Van
der Sar fummbled the ball and the Mexican goalscorer just failed to tuck in an equaliser.
There was a buzz in the game at last.
After a Blanco goal was ruled offside, Ramirez was sent off.
Hernandez equalised, in the 94th minute, but they can thank South
Korea for bringing them back to life.
Holland 2 - Mexico
Germany made sure that they would avoid Holland in
the second round with goals from Bierhoff (50 mins) and Klinsmann (58 mins).
Bierhoff connected to Thomas Haessler's cross, then set
up Klinsmann eight minutes later; when his drive came off the post for the veteran to
follow up on.
Germany 2 - Iran 0
Team USA were already out of the competition but they
put their squabbles behind them and came out to attack Yugoslavia.
In the first minute, United States hit the woodwork
again; enforcing further their need for bigger goals.
Yugoslavia took the lead in the fourth minute. Sinisa
Mihajlovic's free-kick, from over 30 metres, was palmed away by Brad Friedel. Komljenovic
rounded his defender to head the ball back past the surprised Liverpool reserve.
Stankovic tried to score between the goalkeeper and the
post, in the 18th minute, but Friedel was down well to palm the shot around the post.
The corner that followed will be a discussion topic on
football forums. Did the ball cross the line?
Friedel was swift to swing the ball out of his goalmouth
but his back obscured the camera angle. Was the Swedish camera there?
America had some good possession and were not to be the
cannon-fodder that some commentators predicted. However, the likes of Dooley will have to
head the ball a little harder if they are to score from around the penalty spot.
McBride played most of the game with his head bandaged
and, on the whole, the Americans were not disgraced.
States 0 -
Brazil, Morocco, Norway, Scotland.
Austria, Cameroon, Chile, Italy.
Denmark, France, Saudi Arabia, South Africa.
Bulgaria, Nigeria, Paraguay, Spain.
Belgium, Holland, Mexico, South Korea.
Germany, Iran, United States, Yugoslavia.
Colombia, England, Romania, Tunisia.
Argentina, Croatia, Jamaica, Japan.
1998 World Cup Finals -
Group Tables - Leading
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