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World Cup Finals Blog Home: World Cup Finals: France 1998: Match Schedule: Day 9

The World United Through Football
Group matches at France 98 played on Thursday, 18th June.

Travel to France France vs Travel to Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia in Saint-Denis (4:0).

Travel to South Africa South Africa vs Travel to Denmark Denmark in Toulouse (1:1).

South Africa vs Denmark in Toulouse: (17:30)

South Africa and Denmark looked like a pair of sparring partners instead of contenders for the Football Heavyweight of the World title.

How can teams at this level lack ideas, vision, and lose possession so clumsily?

South Africa received a heavy blow on the chin in the thirteenth minute, when Brian Laudrup chipped in a beautiful ball for Allan Nielsen. The Tottenham midfielder sidefooted the volley home.

Five minutes later, Martin Jorgensen of Udinese almost landed the sucker punch; a curling corner that smacked the far post. Hans Vonk collected Brian Laudrup's attempt to head in the rebound.

South Africa had their chances, with Benedict McCarthy creating most of them. Their midfield play was often slow and clumsy, but once again McCarthy showed why he is in the Ajax team; by driving an excellent ball across the Danish goalmouth, to give South Africa their clearest scoring opportunity.

With Schmeichel beaten, Helman Mkhalele would have scored if he had stuck out his toe a little more lively.

Half-time: (0:1).

South Africa came out of their corner needing to get back into the game and within seven minutes of the restart, they had.

Like a slow-motion replay, John Moshoeu of of Fernerbahce wriggled through five defenders; slipped the ball to Shaun BartlettM; who returned it first time to McCarthy and the Ajax player fired underneath Schmeichel.

The Colombian referee must have had his ears burnt from Michel Platini overnight. Schmeichel was booked and three were sent off: First Molnar for a nut cruncher on Radebe, after the South African had cleared the ball; then two minutes later, Phiri was removed from play after flaying off a challenge from Velveg with his elbow and legs.

I only meant to start this article off as a metaphor, but things really did get hectic.

Both teams down to ten men for the last twenty minutes, and and then another red card; for Denmark's Wieghorst, because of a challage on the ankle from a behind position.

The poor substitutes were not in the game long before they were sent off again. Schmeichel was also booked for time-wasting.

Fortune hit the crossbar in the final minutes, with Peter Schmeichel at full reach.

Final Score:
Travel to South Africa South Africa 1 - Travel to Denmark Denmark 1

Our Man of the Match:
McCarthy, while the second half gets a red card.

France vs Saudi Arabia in Saint-Denis: (21:00)

The French players can't sing, but they sound like a good bet to go far if they can sharpen up their strike force against eleven players.

Henry threatened on the right wing, crossing for Zidane in the area; twice the Juventus player's shots were blocked.

Saudi Arabia survived their first missed heartbeat.

The Saudi rearguard was constantly under pressure. Again and again the French advanced on them down the flanks, faster than a desert storm.

In the twentieth minute Lizarazu went on another flying raid down the left touchline. Mohammed Saleh Al-Khlaiwi came sliding in, but the ball was gone; and so was he. Red card of the day number four.

The loudest cheer in the stadium probably came from Platini. A harsh decision.

Around the half-hour, the French keeper had to come out to the edge of his box to snuff out a Saudi Arabian break. Straight to the other end, and Zidane only had an off balanced goalkeeper to beat. Even with the Saudi going the wrong way, Zidane rushed his chance and blasted wide.

At last. In the thirty-fifth minute, Zidane made up for his earlier hastiness and served Lizarazu to his left. A little dummy, then straight through a defender's legs for Henry to knock in the fiftieth goal of the tournament.

Half-time: (1:0).

Thirteen minutes into the second half and, if the referee was playing according to his earlier game plan and the that of his Colombian colleague in the earlier game today, then Lizarazu should have been sent off too for bringing down a Saudi clear on goal. Instead he was only booked, and nearly deflected in the free kick with his head; Barthez was going the other way.

Trezeguet scored the second for France, from Thuram's 67th minute cross and two minutes later they were also down to ten men. Zidane was sent off for following through with a stamp; red card number five of the day, and Platini must be eating his words.

The French fans were seriously displeased until Henry added his second goal in the 77th minute. A long goal-kick was helped on by a Saudi defender, and Henry ran it home. The goalscorer was immediately replaced by the young Pires.

Pires would have a hand in the fourth goal, feeding Djorkaeff, who back-heeled for Lizarazu to finish off another excellent French play.

Saudi Arabia are the first team to pack their bags.

Final Score:
Travel to France France 4 - Travel to Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 0

Our Man of the Match:
Thierry Henry.

Teams by Group

Group A
Travel to Brazil Brazil, Travel to Morocco Morocco, Travel to Norway Norway, Travel to Scotland Scotland.

Group B
Travel to Austria Austria, Travel to Cameroon Cameroon, Travel to Chile Chile, Travel to Italy Italy.

Group C
Travel to Denmark Denmark, Travel to France France, Travel to Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, Travel to South Africa South Africa.

Group D
Travel to Bulgaria Bulgaria, Travel to Nigeria Nigeria, Travel to Paraguay Paraguay, Travel to Spain Spain.

Group E
Travel to Belgium Belgium, Travel to Holland Holland, Travel to Mexico Mexico, Travel to South Korea South Korea.

Group F
Travel to Germany Germany, Travel to Iran Iran, Travel to USA United States, Travel to Serbia Yugoslavia.

Group G
Travel to Colombia Colombia, Travel to England England, Travel to Romania Romania, Travel to Tunisia Tunisia.

Group H
Travel to Argentina Argentina, Travel to Croatia Croatia, Travel to Jamaica Jamaica, Travel to Japan Japan.

The Road to the Final

1998 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.

Group Tables - Leading Goalscorers.

Soccer Search - Search The Web.

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Wednesday, 10th June:
Brazil vs Scotland
Morocco vs Norway

Thursday, 11th June:
Cameroon vs Austria
Italy vs Chile

Friday, 12th June:
France vs South Africa
Paraguay vs Bulgaria
Saudi Arabia vs Denmark

Saturday, 13th June:
Holland vs Belgium
South Korea vs Mexico
Spain vs Nigeria

Sunday, 14th June:
Argentina vs Japan
Jamaica vs Croatia
Yugoslavia vs Iran

Monday, 15th June:
England vs Tunisia
Germany vs United States
Romania vs Colombia

Tuesday, 16th June:
Brazil vs Morocco
Scotland vs Norway

Wednesday, 17th June:
Chile vs Austria
Italy vs Cameroon

Thursday, 18th June:
France vs Saudi Arabia
South Africa vs Denmark

Friday, 19th June:
Nigeria vs Bulgaria
Spain vs Paraguay

Saturday, 20th June:
Belgium vs Mexico
Holland vs South Korea
Japan vs Croatia

Sunday, 21st June:
Argentina vs Jamaica
Germany vs Yugoslavia
United States vs Iran

Monday, 22nd June:
Colombia vs Tunisia
Romania vs England

Tuesday, 23rd June:
Brazil vs Norway
Chile vs Cameroon
Italy vs Austria
Scotland vs Morocco

Wednesday, 24th June:
France vs Denmark
Nigeria vs Paraguay
South Africa vs Saudi Arabia
Spain vs Bulgaria

Thursday, 25th June:
Belgium vs South Korea
Germany vs Iran
Holland vs Mexico
United States vs Yugoslavia

Friday, 26th June:
Argentina vs Croatia
Colombia vs England
Japan vs Jamaica
Romania vs Tunisia

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