World Cup: Romania shocks England; Colombia down Tunisia.
By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service
(Monday, June 22, 1998) -- Two aging teams showed today they still had some life left in the 1998 World Cup.
Romania pulled off the biggest shocker of the tournament, vaulting to the top of Group G with a 2-1 conquest of England. Colombia, in upheaval with the dismissal of a star player, remained in contention with a 1-0 win against Tunisia.
Romania joined Brazil, France, Nigeria, Argentina and Croatia in advancing to the second round. England needs only a draw Friday against Colombia to qualify, likely for the second spot.
The upset by Romania could lead to an England-Argentina imbroglio in the second round if Argentina is able to at least tie Croatia in their Group H-deciding match, also Friday. "We deserved to win," Coach Anghel Iordanescu said. "The difference was the English mistakes."
"We gave away two terrible goals," England coach Glenn Hoddle said. "If you defend like that at this level, you're going to get punished. We did enough to win the game. We had (scoring) chances all night, and we didn't take our chances."
Dan Petrescu scored in the 90th minute from six yards out while outwrestling defender Graeme Le Saux, slipping the ball through goalkeeper David Seaman's legs.
England had evened the count on a dramatic 83rd-minute goal by 18-year-old substitute Michael Owen, sliding in a shot after Paul Scholes knocked down Alan Shearer's cross.
Owen also hit the post from 25 yards after Petrescu's goal.
Carlos Valderamma, criticized by since-fired teammate Faustino Asprilla as being untouchable, saved Colombia with a magnificent pass in the 83rd minute to substitute Leider Preciado, who held off two defenders before shooting past Tunisia goalkeeper Chokri El Quaer. He got a hand on the ball but couldn't stop it.
"I don't care whether we deserved it nor not," the 36-year-old star for Miami Fusion (Major League Soccer) said. "The important thing was to win. There is one winner in football, and tonight that's us."
Valderrama was ineffective much of the first two-thirds of the match, but made several key plays late in the second half. Antony de Avila, a former starter with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (MLS), played the full 90 minutes for Colombia.
Tunisia dominated most of the game. "We deserved to win, but it's a pity we
didn't make the most of it after creating some good chances," coach Henry
Kasperczak said. "We need players who score when the situation presents itself."
Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at
Jerry Langdon is sports editor of Gannett News Service and can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
Colombia 1, Tunisia 0
Colombia - Farid Mondragon, Evert Palacios, Jose Santa, Jorge Bermudez,
Wilmer Cabrera, Maurizio Serna (Jorge Bolano 62), Harold Lozano, Carlos
Valderrama, Freddy Rincon (Victor Aristizabal 57), Adolfo Valencia (Leider
Preciado 57), Antony de Avila.
Romania 2, England 1
Romania - Bogdan Stelea, Liviu Ciubotariu, Dan Petrescu, Gheorghe
Popescu, Iulian Filipescu, Constantin Galca, Gheorghe Hagi (Ovidiu Stinga 73,
Lucian Marinescu 84), Dorinel Munteanu, Gabriel Popescu, Adrian Ilie, Viorel
Moldovan (Marius Lacatus 86).