Group matches at France 98 played on Sunday, 14th June.
Argentina vs Japan in Toulouse (1:0).
Jamaica vs Croatia in Lens (1:3).
Yugoslavia vs Iran in St. Etienne (1:0).
The Argentinean fans still like to litter the pitch with
yesterday's news, but the untidy mess on the playing surface didn't disturb the orderly
Nakata, the Japanese number 8, would stand out from the crowd even
without his orange hair.
The pace was not as fast as the South Korea game, but Japan were still
posing Argentina problems with their nippy moves in the first twenty minutes.
Batistuta and Vernon tried long range shots, but still a blank.
When Batistuta's chance did come; in the penalty area, just before the
half-hour, he had no problem to flick it over the diving goalkeeper, Kawaguchi.
The Argentinean's started to tango on the left, crossed high for
Batistuta to head powerfully against the post. The rebound fell to Lopez, but his swift
return was collected by Kawaguchi.
In the second half, Akita made it harder for Batistuta to find any
space so Vernon was trying to initiate moves with Simeone.
More free-kicks; a Sensini sandwich; another free-kick; goalmouth
scrambles and bouncing acrobatics from Kawaguchi.
It was like trying to eat watermelon with flies on every bite. The
goalkeeper never stopped smiling, and the Argentinean fans seemed to be pleased with it
Sensini went up for a header, around the 70th minute, with his head
down and eyes closed; seemingly breaking his finger in the process.
Near the end of the second half, Akita headed down a close opportunity
for Japan, and was stretchered off after a tumble with Batistuta. He soon returned to
stick to Argentinean players again.
Japan wouldn't say die and tried valiantly for an equaliser in the
final minutes; even with the Argentina fans whistling and carrying on as if they had
already won the cup.
Still a corner for Japan, and a wasted last chance.
Argentina 1 - Japan 0
Our Man of the Match:
Yugoslavia almost scored from their first corner, in the fifteenth
minute; a deep one that Groan Djorovic headed onto the crossbar.
The rebound came out to Jokanovic, who connected to Hamid Estili's
Mihajlovic was lucky not to get a card, on the half-hour, when he
tripped Bagheri deliberately. For the Jamaican referee it also seemed okay to have your
foot on the ball, and push a player over it.
Petrovic didn't seem pleased to get the first yellow card of the
match, in the 43rd minute; it was about time someone did.
Stojkovic was lucky to escape with a free-kick for shirt pulling a
A very scrappy first half where players off the ball even fell over
Looking at this game, Team USA should feel confident of joining the
Germans in the next round.
For the amount of energy these players showed, they looked as though
they were playing in Iran with bare feet.
The second half was so boring, I made love to my girlfriend.
Mihajlovic scored too, from a direct free-kick in the 73rd minute.
Yugoslavia 1 - Iran 0
Our Man of the Match:
The FIFA official with the number board.
It has been said that Jamaica play well on grass as
the Croats soon found out that they wouldn't be in for an easy cruise.
Five minutes into the game, Soldo was booked for handling
outside the area. Simpson drove into the wall.
Both teams were pressing, with Suker an inspiration for
Croatia and the Reggae Boyz intent on enjoying the jam.
Sandwiched between a series of corners, in the twentieth
minute, Jamaica almost scored. Robbie Earle, of Wimbledon, headed down with such force
that Simic had to jump to head the bouncing ball out of the top corner.
Seven minutes later, Stanic was on the end of a rebound
from the Jamaican bar, to put Croatia ahead.
Suker always looked dangerous and hardly ever waited
twice to take his opportunities.
This is a match well worth watching again on video.
Croatia continued with the pressure, knowing full well
that they would need more than one goal to take the wind out of Jamaica.
Another Stanic cross and Stimac hit the bar. Stanic
landed awkwardly from a challenge in the air with Cargill.
Robbie Earle equalized on the stroke of half-time, for
The second half was full of incident too.
Early into the restart, Prosinecki even surprised himself
when he lined up up for a trike of the ball, dummied the defender and struck a narrow
angled shot into the roof of the net.
At the other end, Burton headed wide almost immediately.
Then the tumbles and clutching of heads started. Lanky
Lowe systematically tried to take out the Croats in the air. Suker had to go off
momentarily, but he seemed fired up on his return.
Things looked dangerous for the lads from the Caribbean.
If Suker was the inspiration in the first half, he meant war now.
Sure enough, Davor Suker took a cross on his chest,
turned slightly, then drove it in through two defenders and over the falling Barrett.
Sadly Jamaica were stoned..... I mean stunned.
Jamaica 1 -
Our Man of the Match:
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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