27 June 1998

FRANCE				0-0			ITALY 

France win 4-3 on penalties

Penalty Shootout
France : Zidane, Lizarazu (miss), Trezeguet, Henry, Blanc
Italy : R Baggio, Albertini (miss), Costacurta, Vieri, Di Biagio (miss)

An absolutely pathetic, cowardly performance by Italy. The corner count was
14-2 to France. Italy were content to sit back and hit in the break, as usual.
I said after Maldini Sr was appointed as coach he had taken Italy back tactically
20 years. I hope following this miserable display Catenaccio is dead. France barely
tested Pagliuca for all their possession, Djorkaeff blew a glorious chance in the
second half. Full credit to Baggio for converting his penalty, the only Italian on the
field that actually looked like he wanted to win the game. Ironic that one of Italy’s
best players in this tournament missed the crucial penalty, just as 4 years ago.
Cannavaro was on another planet, a level above any player on the field, Desailly
and Thuram were also excellent.

Attendance : 77,000
Ref Rating : Good, should have sent off Guivarc’h for an elbow on

Bebeto 10						Jorgensen 1 
Rivaldo 25, 59						Brian Laudrup 49
Denmark took a shock lead 1 ½ minutes into the match, they won a free kick on
the side of the box, Michael passed to his brother, Brian ran into the box, cut back
the ball and Jorgensen beat Taffarel at the near post. Brazil strung together 10
passes for the first equaliser, Ronaldo with the final superb reverse pass to the ugly,
no talent midget Bebeto, Denmark punished for playing offside. Roberto Carlos
should have been sent off for a heinous two footed tackle from behind on Brain
Laudrup but only got a yellow. Dunga dispossessed Helveg, passed to Ronaldo and
he set up Rivaldo for Brazil’s second, a nice chip over Schmeichel from close range.
Denmark started the second half just as they did the first with an early goal,
Jorgensen sent a routine ball into the box, Robert Carlos completely missed an
attempted overhead kick clearance and Brian Laudrup rammed the ball into the
top of the net. Rivaldo’s winner was a long ranger, although well placed, it wasn’t
struck particularly hard which seems to suggest either Schmeichel is overrated or
past it.

Denmark gave away far too much possession by trying to play clever one-two’s and
pass their way out of trouble, there’s nothing wrong with punt upfield when in
trouble, Cafu and Roberto Carlos certainly didn’t think twice about it. Denmark
came close to a late equaliser twice but Brazil weren’t exactly hanging on. Poor
defending by both teams, Brazil will sorely miss Cafu in the next match, he picked
up a second yellow card. Ronaldo may have been shut out but got two assists,
Dunga and Rivaldo were also excellent. Brian Laudrup was outstanding and is
easily one of the best players in this World Cup.

Attendance : 35,500
Ref Rating : Good, should have sent off Roberto Carlos

Kluivert 11						Lopez 17
Bergkamp 89

Ronald De Boer picked up the ball on the half way line, ran about 30 yds, whipped
a cross into the box, Bergkamp stooped down and sent a superb cushioned header
towards Kluivert and he calmly placed the ball past Roa. Fantastic goal. Holland
made a balls up of the offside trap as Lopez was gifted with a one on one with
the ‘keeper from Veron’s through ball, needless to say he scored. Numan was
sent off for a foul on Simeone, who in a great act of sportsmanship rolled over after
the foul and for the second time in this tournament got a player sent off, the dirty
bastard. Ortega took a dive in the box after a mythical tackle by Stam. Before the
ref could dish out a yellow card for diving Ortega stuck a headbutt on Van Der Sar
which was hilarious as Van Der Sar is about 10ft taller than Ortega. The ref whipped
out his red (card) and both teams were now 10 on 10. After a spot of defending
Frank De Boer hurled a 60yd diagonal pass to Bergkamp who with his first touch
killed the ball, second touch cut inside Ayala and third drove the ball into the net
for a breathtaking winner. Incredible goal.

This was a great game of football between two technically gifted sides. Both teams
hit the crossbar and were denied by great saves but overall Holland deserved their
victory. Argentina once again showed an inability to create anything from wide
positions, Holland were more direct than usual but if they play offside so high up
against Brazil they’ll get screwed. Kluivert had a great game but is still too easily
brushed off the ball, Bergkamp capped off a near perfect display with a legendary
goal but Davids stole the show, he was sensational.

Attendance : 55,000
Red Card(s) : Numan 75 (Holland), Ortega 87 (Argentina)

Ref Rating : Excellent, booked a player for diving, maybe Numan’s card was hash
but overall excellent

Jarni 47
Vlaovic 79
Suker 84

Worns was sent off for a foul on Suker. Jarni gave Croatia a shock lead with a shot
from the edge of the box following good work by Bilic and Stanic. Vlavoic’s goal
was almost identical to Jarni’s, Boban with the assist. Suker picked up the ball on
the touchline, slalomed past a few defenders and drilled a shot under Kopke.

Up until Worns was sent off there was only one team in this game, Germany. They
played easily their best football of this tournament and despite being denied by
some fine saves from Ladic a goal seemed inevitable. Croatia eventually killed off
a tired German team with two late goals, Suker could have scored a hat-trick. Bilic
and Stimac were outstanding in central defence for Croatia. Barring a dramatic
explosion of youth talent, Germany will struggle in international over the next few

Attendance : 39,100
Red Card(s) : Worns 39 (Germany)
Ref Rating : Good - The red card was harsh but overall good refereeing