World Cup: Norway beats Brazil, advances with refereesí help.By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service
(Tuesday, June 23, 1998) -- Morocco and Cameroon came close to joining Nigeria as African representatives in the second round of the World Cup, but both fell victim today, with officiating decisions playing key roles -- one direct, one indirect.
Morocco appeared to be qualified from Group A following a 3-0 rout of Scotland, and with Brazil leading Norway 1-0 after Bebeto's goal in the 78th minute.
But Norway, needing a win, scored two goals in the last eight minutes. With time running out, U.S. referee Esse Baharmast called defender Junior Baiano for excessive contact with striker Tore Andre Flo in the box, and Kjetil Rekdal converted the ensuing penalty kick in the 89th minute.
Brazil players protested, saying the contact was minimal if at all, but to no avail. The victory put Norway at 1-0-2 and five points, one ahead of Morocco, which finished at 1-1-1 and four points.
Brazil already had clinched Group A with two earlier victories but went all-out against a Norway team that in two matches the past couple years had beaten Brazil once and drawn once -- and whose coach Egil Olsen had boasted about it. "It's incredible," Olsen said. "I'm amazed at what happened."
Added Flo: "We made history in Norway today."
Cameroon, meanwhile, tied Chile, 1-1, and a more heated situation developed, with complaints voiced about a disallowed second goal that would have put it in qualifying second place in Group B.
Cameroon had fought back to tie, 1-1, on a goal four minutes after defender Rigobert Song Bahanag's early-second half ejection for elbowing striker Marcelo Salas, who theatrically fell to the ground. The uproar came two minutes later as Patrick Mboma beat Ronaldo Fuentes on a header and flicked the ball ahead to Francois Omam Biyick for an apparent go-ahead goal.
Referee Laszlo Vagner of Hungary whistled Mboma for a pushing foul, and the game remained tied. "I didn't commit a foul," Mboma said. "I can't believe it. It was an unjust decision. Very unjust."
"I can accept a lot of things, but I can't accept that one," coach Claude Le Roy said. "The decision was an incompetent one. If this is what football is all about, I hope (FIFA president Sepp) Blatter was watching. There wasn't a shove or a foul . . . Perhaps he (Blatter, who has called for more red cards on violent tackles) should stick to administrative tasks."
Bahanag four years ago became the youngest player ever ejected when he got a red card against Brazil at the age of 17 years, 358 days.
Italy, outshot by Austria, suffered bad news even though winning 2-1. Central defender Alessandro Nesta was lost for the tournament with torn right knee ligaments. Giuseppe Bergomi, a veteran, was brought in as a replacement.
Second round pairings: Italy vs. Norway; Brazil vs. Chile.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chile 1, Cameroon 1
Chile -- Nelson Tapia, Ronaldo Fuentes, Francisco Rojas (Miguel Ramirez
77), Javier Margas, Pedro Reyes, Nelson Parraguez, Clarence Acuna, Jose Luis
Sierra (Fabian Estay 71), Moises Villarroel (Fernando Cornejo 71), Ivan
Zamorano, Marcelo Salas.
Italy 2, Austria 1
Italy -- Gianluca Pagliuca, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro
Costacurta, Alessandro Nesta (Giuseppe Bergomi 4), Gianluca Pessotto, Dino
Baggio, Luigi Di Biagio, Fransesco Moriero, Alessandro Del Piero (Roberto Baggio
73), Christian Vieri (Filippo Inzaghi 61).
Norway 2, Brazil 1
Norway -- Frode Grodaas, Stig Bjornebye, Henning Berg, Ronny Johnsen,
Roar Strand (Erik Mykland 46), Dan Eggen, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Kjetil Rekdal,
Tore Andre Flo, Vidar Riseth (Jostein Flo 79), Haavard Flo (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 68).
Morocco 3, Scotland 0
Morocco -- Driss Benzekri, Abdelilah Saber (Youssef Rossi 72),
Noureddine Naybet, Lahcen Abrami, Smahi Triki, El Moustafa Hadji, Raghib Amzine
(Rachid Azzouzi 77), Youssef Chippo (Jamal Sellami 88), Tahar, Abdeljlil Hadda,