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World Cup: Germany battles back to tie Yugoslavia.

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

(Sunday, June 21, 1998) -- Don't ever count Germany out.

The three-time world champions were outclassed the first half today by Yugoslavia, and were fortunate to be trailing just 1-0. And they yielded a bad goal early in the second half to compound matters.

But Germany fought back, as is its legacy, scoring once on a fluke deflection off a free kick in the 74th minute, and then evening the game with an 80th-minute header by Oliver Bierhoff.

Germany, by virtue of goal differential (plus-two), is ahead of Yugoslavia (plus-one), in Group F, and will try to maintain that edge in the final game Thursday against Iran -- and avoid a probable second-round date against the Netherlands of Group E.

"We know the German team well and we knew they wouldn't lie down until the final whistle even when they were 2-0 down," Yugoslavia coach Slobodan Santrac said. "Generally, I'm pleased with my team's performance. They played much better today than they did in our first (1-0 against Iran) match. And I hope they'll play even better in our next game."

Said German coach Berti Vogts: "The team was on its knees but in the last 25 minutes . . . we made the possible out of the impossible. They wanted to toy with us instead of trying to score a third goal, and they got punished for that."

Yugoslavia was a step or two ahead of Germany for the first 70 minutes, clicking on passes to open players, moving at will in midfield -- and thwarting any German scoring thrusts. The Germans finally cashed in after a third striker, Ulf Kirsten, was inserted, followed by Michael Tarnat. Lothar Matthaeus, appearing in a record-setting match in his fifth World Cup, came in to start the second half and sparked the defense.

Veteran striker Juergen Klinsmann was carried off the field in the closing minutes after being hit in the liver with a free kick by Sinisa Mihajlovic moments after being kicked in the head during a goal-mouth scramble at the other end of the field by Vladimir Jugovic, defending his attempt to get a go-ahead goal for Germany.

Yugoslavia opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Predrag Mijatovic crossed the ball to a cutting Dejan Stankovic. Whether he touched the ball was unclear, but it bounced off a sliding goalkeeper Andy Koepke's leg and rolled over the goal-line.

The second goal came early in the second half, when Darko Kovacevic's hard shot from the right wing was bobbled badly by Koepke, to an open nearby Dragan Stojkovic, who tapped in the shot to make it 2-0 in the 54th minute.

Germany's first goal wasn't pure, either, with Tarnat's free kick deflecting off Sinisa Mihajlovic, past goalkeeper Ivica Kralj, who was going the opposite way.

Bierhoff came through the winner five minutes later, heading in a corner kick from five yards out. "We were outplayed for most of the match," he acknowledged. "For around 60 or 65 minutes I was very angry with the players," Vogts said. "Some of them didn't seem to be aware that we are at the World Cup."

In another result, Argentina routed Jamaica, 5-0, in Group H, giving it a goal-differential edge against Croatia going into the battle of unbeatens Friday.

The second-place team plays the Group G winner, likely to be England, in the second round. The win put Argentina in the second round along with Croatia, Brazil, France and Nigeria.

Ariel Ortega had the first two goals, and then Gabriel Batistuta scored three times in 12 minutes near the end of the match. "We expected a more difficult game; they sort of went home after the first goal," Batistuta said.

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

Group F

Germany 2, Yugoslavia 2
in Lens

Germany: Andy Koepke, Olaf Thon, Juergen Kohler, Christian Woerns, Joerg Heinrich, Andy Moeller (Ulf Kirsten 58), Jens Jeremies, Dietmar Hamann (Lothar Matthaeus 46), Christian Ziege (Michael Tarnat 67), Juergen Klinsmann, Oliver Bierhoff.
Yugoslavia: Ivica Kralj, Goran Djorovic, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Slobodan Komljenovic, Zeljko Petrovic (Miroslav Stevic 75), Slavisa Jokanovic, Dragan Stojkovic, Dejan Stankovic (Dejan Govedarica 68), Vladimir Jugovic, Predrag Mijatovic, Darko Kovacevic (Perica Ognjenovic 58).
Goals: Yugoslavia - Dejan Stankovic (13), Dragan Stojkovic (54). Germany - Michael Tarnat (74), Oliver Bierhoff (79).
Shots at goal: Yugoslavia 11, Germany 15.
Shots on goal: Yugoslavia 6, Germany 8.
Yellow cautionary card: Germany - Lothar Matthaeus 77.
Referee: Kim Nielsen (Denmark).
Attendance: 41,275 (estimated).

Group H

Argentina 5, Jamaica 0
in Paris

Argentina: Carlos Roa, Roberto Ayala, Jose Chamot, Roberto Sensini (Nelson Vivas 25), Javier Zanetti, Matias Jesus Almeyda, Diego Simeone (Hector Mauricio Pineda 80), Ariel Ortega, Juan Veron, Claudio Lopez (Marcelo Gallardo 75), Gabriel Batistuta.
Jamaica: Warren Barrett, Ian Goodison, Ricardo Gardner, Frank Sinclair, Stephen Malcolm (Walter Boyd 62), Christopher Dawes, Fitzroy Simpson, Theodore Whitmore (Robbie Earle 75), Darryl Powell, Deon Burton (Peter Cargill 46), Paul Hall.
Goals: Argentina - Ariel Ortega 32, 55; Gabriel Batistuta 73, 79, 83 (penalty kick).
Shots at goal: Argentina 23, Jamaica 8.
Shots on goal: Argentina 15, Jamaica 1.
Yellow cautionary cards: Jamaica - Darryl Powell 4, Peter Cargill 88. Argentina - Jose Chamot 66.
Red ejection card: Jamaica - Darryl Powell 45.
Referee:Rune Pedersen (Norway).
Attendance: 49,300 (estimated).