Group matches at France 98 played on Wednesday, 24th June.
France vs Denmark in Lyon (2:1).
Nigeria vs Paraguay in Toulouse (1:3).
South Africa vs Saudi Arabia in Bordeaux (2:2).
Spain vs Bulgaria in Lens (6:1).
Just what the tournament needs; another dubious penalty in the opening
minutes and I'm starting to hate this World Cup; and the words from Platini: 'The World
Cup needs Italy', and with that I suppose he means France too.
The World Cup needs courageous referees.
Djorkaeff converted the spot kick in the thirteenth minute; unlucky
Another cock-up penalty decision, this time for Denmark; two players
tumble over each other half a mile from the ball, goal Michael Laudrup.
Don't referees understand the importance of these games. Heaven forbid
that the final will be decided by who has a player sent off first or some other absurd
interpretation of Blatter's statement. Has Blatter ever played football?
A real goal in the 52nd minute, after a free-for all in the box fell
towards the outside of the area; for Emmanuel Petit to strike past Schmeichel.
Bartlett scored for South Africa in the 17th minute.
A penalty for Saudi Arabia, just before half-time, levelled the
The fourth penalty of the afternoon went to Saudi Arabia, in the 73rd
minute, and penalty number five to South Africa, in injury time: Al-Thyniyan and a
last-minute consulation for Bartlett.
South Africa 2 -
Saudi Arabia 2
With Nigeria already fixed up to play Denmark, in the Second Round,
Paraguay needed to win if they wanted to stay in the tournament and play the hosts.
Ayala headed home in the first minute to make sure that Paraguay
didn't have another scoreless draw to offer the millions of football fans around the
Chilavert's clean sheet went nine minutes later, as the Nigerian
reserves fought back; Oruma brought the scores level.
The Thai referee had been one of the better officials of the
tournament, on his earlier showing, but he fell for a Paraguay dive and roly poly; the
yellow card should have gone to the actor rather than the Nigerian.
Benitez added another goal for Paraguay, in the 58th minute; receiving
a square ball and powering it in under the bar, from the edge of the semi-circle.
Cardozo ended any hopes Spain had for another Nigeria equalizer and
Chilavert celebrated Paraguay's progress to the Second Round, with a summersault at the
Nigeria 1 -
Spain needed to win this encounter, against the candidates for
alcoholics anonymous: Stoichkov was out drinking last week and Ivanov looked as though he
had been on a bender the night before.
Iordanov pushed Luis Enrique off the ball in the fifth minute; giving
Hierro the chance to plug in penalty number six of the day.
Thirteen minutes later, Alfonso on the right pulled the ball back for
Luis Enrique to run through the area and score without falling over.
In the 53rd minute, Morientes made a superb diagonal run off the ball
to collect his pass and make it three for Spain.
Kostadinov replied within four minutes, to try and keep Bulgaria in
with a shout.
Within a minute Paraguay took the lead in the other game but Spain
continued to hunt for goals.
Morientes bagged a second, ten minutes from time, yet still no reply
When Paraguay scored their third goal, in the 85th minute, this game
The fifth goal for Spain was rather bizarre: Kiko's header came off
the bar, hit Zdravkov on the back and bounced off an unfortunate Bachev holding the post;
own goal number five of the tournament.
Kiko didn't even bother to celebrate his last-minute goal, and Spain's
sixth; they were going nowhere; Paraguay had found the scoring touch, against the Nigerian
Joy for the French fans, as a Spanish side playing like this would
have given them problems.
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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