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World Cup: Late goals help Italy, Cameroon gain ties.

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Thursday, June 11, 1998) -- Late goals resulted in a pair of draws Thursday in opening World Cup matches for Group B teams in France '98.

The biggest surprise: Italy forced to rally to tie Chile 2-2 in Bordeaux. Austria, meanwhile, scored in injury time to draw with Cameroon 1-1 in Toulouse.

The World Cup's first controversy developed on the tying Italian goal. Referee Lucien Bouchardeau ruled a handball in the penalty box zone by Chilean defender Ronaldo Fuentes on a crossing pass from Roberto Baggio in the 85th minute. Television replays indicated he was withdrawing his arm when the ball hit it, making the decision a controversial one.

Baggio proceeded to tie the game with a successful penalty kick.

He admitted his missed 1994 penalty kick in the title game against Brazil had been in his mind. "But I was thinking more about just levelling the score," he said. "If we'd lost this match, it would have made everything much more difficult."

Marcelo Salas scored twice for Chile as the two teams, favored to advance to the second round, went end to end.

Cameroon and Austria played an uneventful game until Pierre Njanka scored for the African nation in the 77th minute after a dramatic 50-yard run, evading several defenders.

Toni Polster evened the match one minute into injury time, taking a header from Anton Pfeffer off a corner kick and calmly slotting the shot.

For the second straight day, no red cards were issued in the World Cup, though some Cameroon tackles were questionable.

Italy 2, Chile 2

at Stade Lescure, Bordeaux

Italy - Gianluca Pagliuca, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Alessandro Costacurta, Fabio Cannavaro, Dino Baggio, Angelo Di Livio (Enrico Chiesa 62), Roberto Di Matteo (Luigi Di Biagio 57), Demetrio Albertini, Christian Vieri (Filippo Inzaghi 71), Roberto Baggio.
Chile - Nelson Tapia, Ronaldo Fuentes, Francisco Rojas, Javier Margas (Miguel Ramirez 63), Pedro Reyes, Nelson Parraguez, Clarence Acuna (Fernando Cornejo 82), Moises Villarroel, Fabian Estay (Jose Luis Sierra 81), Ivan Zamorano, Marcelo Salas.
Goals: Italy - Christian Vieri 10, Roberto Baggio 85 (penalty). Chile - Marcelo Salas 45, 50.
Yellow cautionary cards: Italy - Angelo Di Livio 9, Fabio Cannavaro 32. Chile - Nelson Parraguez 45, Clarence Acuna 54, Francisco Rojas 77.
Referee: Lucian Bouchardeau (Nigeria).
Attendance: 31,800.

Cameroon 1, Austria 1

at Stade Munipal, Toulouse

Cameroon - Jacques Songo'o; Rigobert Song, Raymond Kalla, Pierre Njanka; Pierre Wome, Didier Angibeaud, Patrick Mboma, Augustine Simo (Salomon Olembe 65), Joseph Ndo; Samuel Ipoua (Joseph-Desire Job 65), Francois Omam Biyik (Alphonse Tchami 84).
Austria - Michael Konsel; Wolfgang Feiersinger; Peter Schoettel, Anton Pfeffer; Harald Cerny (Mario Haas 83), Dietmar Kuehbauer, Roman Maehlich, Heimo Pfeifenberger (Peter Stoeger 83), Arnold Wetl; Andreas Herzog (Ivica Vastic 83), Toni Polster.
Goals: Cameroon - Pierre Njanka 77. Austria - Toni Polster 90.
Yellow cautionary card: Austria - Anton Pfeffer 28. Cameroon - Samuel Ipoua 31.
Referee: Epifanio Gonzalez Chavez (Paraguay).
Attendance: 37,500.

Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at