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Fri. 26th June:
Argentina v. Croatia
Japan v. Jamaica
Colombia v. England
Romania v. Tunisia
Argentina are the only team to still have a clean sheet, and claimed top spot in Group H with a 1-0 win against Croatia.
The first chance fell to Croatia in the second minute; a header from Davor Suker onto the roof of the net.
River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo was in the shop window from the start, and
would surely have caught the eye of many coaches and scouts, but the only goal of the game
fell to Hector Pineda who pushed on
Ortegea's through ball into the area, with his upper body, and struck the back of the net
on his third stride.
Only a run out for these two teams but there would have been equal roars in Tokyo and Kingston.
The Reggae Boyz won their first
World Cup finals match with two goals from Theodore Whitmore
in the 39th and 54th minutes, and Nakayama
volleyed in the first ever World Cup finals goal for Japan, fifteen minutes before the
Glenn Hoddle finally started Michael Owen and David Beckham in the game against Colombia. The pair repaid his faith by giving England a 2-0 lead to take into the break.
Paul Scholes forced a save from Mondragon in the second minute, indicating what was about to come.
In the 19th minute Le Saux missed a humungus chance to put England in the driving seat, but they had the Colombians in their hands.
Two minutes later Michael Owen crossed into the area for Paul Scholes. The half headed clearance from Bermudez fell down for Darren Anderton to thunder into the roof of net -- just what the doctor ordered.
On the half-hour David Beckham made it two; his free-kick floated over the wall and dipped into the left side of the goal. (Half Time: 2-0)
Just like the beginning of this match, Paul Scholes forced Mondragon to pull out another save in the opening minutes of the second-half. Scholes again with an half overhead kick minutes later -- wide of the post.
Sol Campbell ran at the Colombian defence, with Michael Owen in support -- Mondragon was hard at work for ten minutes.
And then the script changed. Colombia tried to slow the game and pounce through England. Owen made a great tackle in England's penalty area.
"Keep that fucking ball everyone", cried Hoddle -- "You're losing it. Keep it!"
When Steve McManaman came on for Paul Scholes, with fifteen minutes to go, the tempo increased.
Michael Owen was finding out about World Cup football as his shirt was pulled at the collar, and when he continued to outpace Bermudez, he was pushed to the floor.
A series of magnificent saves from Mondragon kept this scorline respectable.
Time to make up for the hand of God -- here comes
the Team of God. England to play Argentina.
Romanian football died the night the clowns died their hair yellow. Tunisia scored from a tenth minute Souayah penalty to leave the Romanians with egg on their faces -- never change a winning side. (Half Time: 0-1)
Moldovan equalized for Romania in the 71st minute to bring some respect back into the
camp, and a match against Croatia.
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