Day 5 Match Reports:

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Sun 14th June:

Argentina v. Japan
Toulouse:
(14:30)

Yugoslavia v. Iran
St Etienne:
(17:30)

Jamaica v. Croatia
Lens:
(21:00)


Argentina v. Japan Toulouse: (14:30)

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 Japanese.

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 circle, 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. (Half-time: 1-0).

In the second half, Akita made it harder for Batistuta to find any space. 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 all.

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 again.

Japan wouldn't say die and tried valiantly for an equalizer 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.
(
Final Score: 1-0).
My Man of the Match --
Akita.
Group Tables.

Yugoslavia v. Iran St Etienne: (17:30)

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 head.

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 some one did. Stojkovic was lucky to escape with a free-kick for shirt pulling a little later.

A very scrappy first half where players off the ball even fell over themselves. Looking at this game, Team USA should feel confident of joining the Germans in the next round. (Half-time: 0-0).

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.
(
Final Score: 1-0).
My Man of the Match --
The FIFA official with the number board.
Group Tables.

Jamaica v. Croatia Lens: (21:00)

It has been said that Jamaica play well on grass -- the Croats soon found out that they wouldn't be in for an easy cruise either.

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 was always looking 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. (Half-time: 1-1).

The second half was full of incident. Early into the restart, Prosinecki even surprised himself when he lined up up for a shot, 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.
(
Final Score: 1-3).
My Man of the Match --
Davor Suker.
Group Tables.

Leading Goalscorers:

WC Group Standings:

2nd Round:
Who played who,
when and where.

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Travel Notes

Football Fans United 1997/98