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Thur. 11th June:
Italy, playing in all white, gained an early advantage when the ball was pushed through to Vieri on a fast counter attack in the tenth minute. The Chileans seemed drained, and in a muddle as the confident Italians continued to advance for a second.
The Nigerian referee, a George Foreman lookalike, booked DiLivio, Cannavaro and Parraguez in the first half, but missed a couple of off the ball incidents. So much for FIFA directives, but it makes for fast-flowing football, and the Italians soon gave up on the overacting, and kicked a little themselves.
Against the run of play, Salas scored from a corner headed down by Zamorrano just before the whistle. (Half-time: 1-1).
Chile started the second half on a buoyant note, and within four minutes Salas rose high to head in his second. With the wind out of the Italian's sails so to speak, Cesare Maldini made two quick substitutions: Di Baggio on for DiMatteo, and Chiesa replacing DiLivio. Chile replied with Miguel Ramirez taking the place of an injured Javier Margas.
The Italian fans were silent, until an unlucky hand-ball at
the edge of the box, in the 83rd minute, gave Roberto
Baggio the chance to make amends for the miss in the final
of US94 -- and he kept it low.
Not much to write about for the first half. Both sides passed poorly, and neither goalkeeper was truly tested, although Angibeaud came close in the 28th minute with a curling shot from the left going narrowly over. Perhaps the earlier Italy-Chile match had made these two teams complacent.
A free kick by Wome of Lucchese in the 36th minute, after a needless push from Schottel, tested the Austrian goalkeeper's reflexes -- otherwise a stalemate. Cameroon probably put some of the better moves together and frustrated the Austrians, but on the whole..... too many balls were wasted. (Half-time: 0-0).
The second half started fast, and Cameroon proved the most athletic. They closed down Herzog and Polster continually and sprinted upfield at every opportunity. Wome woke up the Austrian keeper again in the 58th minute with a powerful rising shot.
Song, who had been outstanding, pushed Pfeifenberger on the edge of the box, but Polster's drive was met by the keeper and turned away by the laughing villain, Song.
Cameroon's surging paid off in the 75th minute, when Njanka soared past the
sliding Feiersinger, turned Schottel in the box and slotted the ball between the
goalkeeper and the appearing head of Anton Pfeffer. Full scale substitutions were made by
the Austrians. A corner in the dying minutes saw the ball knocked down to Polster. The Cameroon
defence had pushed out too fast, and left the Austrian with time and space in the middle
of the penalty box.What a battle!
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