World Cup: Quarterfinals feature Argentina-England matchup.By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service
(Friday, June 26, 1998) -- It will be Argentina vs. England . . . in the second round of the 1998 World Cup. That's the result of Argentina winning Group H, as expected, and England finishing second in Group G, which was not expected, as first-round play concluded today.
The two teams collide Tuesday in a match that shares the second-round spotlight with the Yugoslavia-Netherlands game Monday. England, led by two first-half goals, one by midfielder David Beckham returning from a controversial two-game benching, easily downed Colombia 2-0 while Romania rallied to tie winless Tunisia 1-1 to win Group G.
Argentina handled Croatia 1-0 in a battle of Group H unbeatens, with both teams advancing. Jamaica provided some solace for CONCACAF by posting its first victory, 2-1, against Japan, which was one of two teams to lose all three games and finished 31st.
The other was the United States, which wound up dead-last, 32nd, with a minus-four goal differential, compared with Japan's minus-three.
Today's action may have seen the end of a distinguished international career for Colombia midfielder Carlos Valderrama, a starter in three straight World Cups. The playmaker is expected to return soon to Major League Soccer with the Miami Fusion.
"England closed down all the spaces, defended well, and really did not let us play," Colombia coach Hernan Gomez said.
Added delighted England coach Glenn Hoddle: "Overall it was a terrific performance. The lads were very positive . . . and responded to the challenge . . . We're on our way but let's not get carried away."
Argentina impressed Croatia coach Miroslav Blazevic. "Argentina have the best defense in the world," he said about a unit that kept his team from seriously threatening. Argentina has gone 739 minutes, including 270 in the World Cup, without letting in a goal.
It used three new defenders against the usually explosive Croatians due to injuries and worries about yellow card accumulation.
Romania gambled with five new starters, also due to yellow card concerns, and injuries, and would have finished second in the group and been forced to play Argentina if Viorel Moldovan hadn't scored in the 72nd minute to deadlock Tunisia. "We had a bad first half, and our defense made many marking errors," coach Anghel Iordanescu said. "Then we started to panic. I'm responsible for the poor game organization because we tried to rest some of our standout players. Those who replaced them lacked ambition and freshness, they didn't show they were worthy to play in our team. But we attained our purpose to finish first and will play Croatia, a team which we know very well."
Romania was fortunate not to have any yellow card calls in a game that
featured considerable contact.
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.
Argentina 1, Croatia 0
Argentina -- Carlos Roa, Nelson Vivas, Roberto Ayala, Pablo Paz, Javier
Zanetti (Diego Simeone 68), Matias Almeyda, Juan Veron, Marcelo Gallardo
(Sergio Berti 81), Hector Pineda, Ariel Ortega (Claudio Lopez), Gabriel Batistuta.
Jamaica 2, Japan 1
Japan -- Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, Akira Narahashi, Masami Ihara, Norio
Omura (Takashi Hirano 58), Yutaka Akita, Naoki Soma, Hiroshi Nanami (Shinji Ono
78), Hidetoshi Nakata, Motohiro Yamaguchi, Shoji Jo (Wagner Lopes 58), Masashi
England 2, Colombia 0
England -- David Seaman, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Darren
Anderton (Robert Lee 80), David Beckham, Paul Ince (David Batty 83), Paul
Scholes (Steve McManaman 74), Graeme Le Saux, Alan Shearer, Michael Owen.
Tunisia 1, Romania 1
Tunisia -- Chokri El Quaer, Sami Trabelsi, Mounir Boukadida, Ferid
Chouchane, Zoubeir Baya, Kaies Ghodbane (Tarek Thabet 83), Adel Sellimi, Riadh
Bouazizi, Sirajeddine Chihi, Skander Souayah (Imed Ben Younes 92), Mehdi Ben
Slimane (Riadh Jelassi 55).