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Brazil wins, Morocco and Norway tie, in opener.


By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Wednesday, June 10, 1998) -- The 1998 World Cup opened Wednesday in France with two exciting, evenly contested, end-to-end matches. Among the highlights:

  • Both games had rare own goals that were decisive in the outcomes.
  • No red cards were issued; no endangering tackles from behind were evident.

    Defending champion Brazil, seeking a fifth crown, had a tough time with Scotland before prevailing, 2-1, in Paris.

    They were tied before Scottish defender Tommy Boyd inadvertantly put the ball in his own net in the 73rd minute. Brazil rushing defender Cafu's shot was stopped by goalkeeper Jim Leighton, but the ball soared to the nearby Boyd, who helplessly watched as it bounced off his right arm back into the empty goal.

    Norway and Morocco battled back and forth, the teams winding up deadlocked, 2-2, in Montpellier.

    Morocco had the lead twice on goals by Moustafa Hadji, playing with a broken toe, and Abdeljilil Hadda.

    Norway rallied, scoring once when Youseff Chippo mistakenly headed a ball into his own net while trying to clear. The second goal, three minutes after Morocco's final score, came after a goal-mouth scramble following Stig Bjaornebye's corner kick, with Dan Eggen heading the ball in.

    Brazil thus has the inside track on one of two Group A qualifying berths, but the other slot is wide-open. Scotland, Norway and Morocco all were impressive, and Norway and Morocco don't figure to be in awe of Brazil '98 in later first-round matches.

    GROUP A
    Brazil 2, Scotland 1

    State de France, Paris

    Brazil - Taffarel, Cafu, Aldair, Junior Baiano, Roberto Carlos, Cesar Sampaio, Dunga, Giovanni (Leonardo 46), Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Bebeto (Denilson 70).
    Scotland - Jim Leighton, Colin Calderwood, Colin Hendry, Tommy Boyd, Craig Burley, Christian Dailly (Tosh McKinlay 84), Paul Lambert, John Collins, Gordon Durie, Darren Jackson (Billy McKinlay 78), Kevin Gallacher.
    Goals: Brazil - Cesar Sampaio 4, Tommy Boyd 73 (own goal); Scotland - John Collins 38 (penalty).
    Yellow cautionary cards: Brazil - Cesar Sampaio 37, Aldair 45; Scotland - Darren Jackson 25.
    Referee: Jose Maria Garcia Aranda (Spain).
    Attendance: 80,000.


    Norway 2, Morocco 2

    Stade de Mosson, Montpellier

    Norway - Frode Grodas, Stig Inge Bjornebye, Henning Berg, Ronny Johnsen, Dan Eggen, Erik Mykland, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Havard Flo (Stale Solbakken 72), Kjetil Rekdal, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Vidar Riseth 46), Tore Andre Flo.
    Morocco - Driss Benzekri, Abdelilah Saber, Noureddine Naybet, Youssef Rossi, Abdelkrim El Hadrioui, Tahare El Khalej (Rachid Azzouzi 90), Moustafa Hadji, Abdeljilil Hadda (Ali El Khattabi 87), Youssef Chippo (Gharib Amzine 78), Said Chiba, Salaheddine Bassir.
    Goals: Morocco - Moustafa Hadji 38, Abdeljilil Hadda 59; Norway - Youssef Chippo 45 (own goal), Dan Eggen 62.
    Yellow cautionary card: Morocco - Said Chiba 80.
    Referee: Pirom Un-Prasert (Thailand).
    Attendance: 35,500.

    Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at jlangdon@gns.gannett.com.