World Cup: France advances with rout of Saudis; Denmark, South Africa tie.
By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service
(Thursday, June 18, 1998) -- France prevailed today by routing Saudi Arabia, 4-0, to clinch a berth in the second round of the World Cup, but the outcome was marred by an injury suffered by striker Christophe Dugarry and a red card issued star playmaker Zinedine Zidane.
Denmark virtually earned the second Group C advancement slot after tying South Africa 1-1.
Following midweek admonitions from FIFA world soccer governing body president Sepp Blatter and World Cup co-president Michel Platini that not enough red ejection cards were being issued for illegal tackles, referees issued 16 cards in the two games, five of them red.
Platini said officials had over-reacted to criticism. "One moment they don't hand out enough cards and the next they hand out too many," the former French star said. "The referees need to be bit more careful."
Zidane, who had a yellow card the first game, was sent off for stamping on Saudi Arabia captain Fuad Amin, which he said was accidental following a challenge. "Zidane deserved to be sent off as you can not behave like that on the football pitch," coach Aime Jacquet said. "Players have to exercise more control and discipline. We have not only lost him for two matches but it looks likely that Dugarry has suffered a serious injury to his right leg and will be out for a fortnight at least."
Dugarry appeared to pull a hamstring when he lifted his right leg to settle a high ball.
Two Denmark substitutes were issued red cards -- equalling the total the nation had received in the past 12 years. "The guy didn't even touch me, and the referee gave him a stupid red card," South African striker Benedict McCarthy said about Morten Wieghorst being sent off in the 85th minute. "It was like Amateur Hour for the referee."
South Africa has an outside chance of catching Denmark, but needs a big
victory against Saudi Arabia, and a sizeable France win over the Danes since it
has one point and a minus-three goal differential, while Denmark has four points
and a plus-one.
Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at
Denmark 1, South Africa 1
Denmark - Peter Schmeichel, Marc Rieper, Jes Hoegh, Soren Colding,
Michael Schjonberg (Morten Wieghorst 82), Thomas Helveg, Allan Nielsen, Martin
Jorgensen, Michael Laudrup (Miklos Molnar 58), Brian Laudrup, Ebbe Sand (Jan
France 4, Saudi Arabia 0
France - Fabien Barthez, Bixente Lizarazu, Marcel Desailly, Laurent
Blanc, Lilian Thuram, Alain Boghossian, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps,
Thierry Henry (Robert Pires 78), Bernard Diomede (Youri Djorkaeff 58);
Christophe Dugarry (David Trezeguet 30).