France 98 – Part 1

The first season has reached it’s close and amidst all the transfer activity, there’s a World Cup to be won. Of course, in real life, France triumped in their home tournament with the infamous ‘Where’s Ronaldo?’ final but in general, it was a great tournament with many memorable moments. Can Zidane reproduce his final heroics? Will England take a chance on a young Michael Owen? Is Eileen Drury in the game? Let’s see how it unravels.

Group A

The curtain raiser for the tournament sees World Champions Brazil take on South American counterparts Argentina, which is a very tasty way to kick off a tournament. Of course the game isn’t clever enough to bother with separating nations in the same federation, so yeah, Brazil vs Argentina, deal with it.

Brazil vs ArgentinaSome great names in there. Anyway Ronaldo is off and running and both sides will be happy with a point. The other teams in Group A are Norway and Jamaica, massive party group all in all. Everybody beats Jamaica but remarkably Norway repeat their success from reality with a stunning win against Brazil. Oyvind Leonhardsen the man writing his name into history

Brazil NorwayWith Argentina taking apart the Reagge boys 4-0 (to go with Norway’s 3-0 beating of them), Norway have qualified and Brazil are left sweating on qualification. They will surely beat Jamaica but they need Norway to beat Argentina.

Group B

Here we find hosts France, paired with Australia, Yugoslavia and Nigeria. Djorkaeff and Deschamps turn over Nigeria to get les Blues up and running but a 0-0 draw with Yugoslavia leaves the group in the balance. Australia beat Nigeria to send the Nigerians out, and Australia join France with 4 points. Yugoslavia, with 2 points, will have a good chance of qualifying if they beat Nigeria.

Gorup B 2 gamesGroup C

Group C is where we find Germany, in a kind group with Romania, Morocco and South Africa. The Germans, with Jurgen Klinsmann leading the line, ease through with a game to spare whilst Morocco are well placed to join them after beating South Africa and drawing 0-0 with Romania. What a dull group. Next.

Group D

Group D is pretty nasty, neighbours Spain & Portugal go up agaisnt each other long with Paraguay and Scotland. For those interested, here’s what Scotland have gone with:

Scot 98The old big Dunc and Ally McCoist strike force will worry Spain and Portugal. Scotland come from 2-0 down to draw With Paraguay (big Dunc at the double) whilst Portugal beat Spain 1-0. Scotland then make me look a fool by beat Spain 1-0 through that man Ferguson again with Andy Goram getting man of the match for a string of saves. Portugal and Paraguay draw 0-0 so Scotland top the group with a game to go. Can Scotland break their hoodoo of never making the second round?

Group E

History is repeating itself in group E as USA face Iran, this time winning 1-0. Denmark and Japan complete group E, Denmark proving they are still quite the force by putting 5 past Japan. The Danes beat the USA and Japan beat Iran, so it is a straight fight between USA and Japan to join Denmark in the knockouts. The highlight of this group so far for me is finding a very young Thomas Gravesen

gravesenGroup F

VINDALOO! England are here, along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. It’s a tame group but Glenn Hoddle doesn’t believe in the exuberance of youth and picks a very experienced squad

england 98Don’t think many will have seen the recalls for Barnes & Pearce, though Batty and Ince are still in there to miss penalties later on. Anyway, Switzerland beat Saudi Arabia and England face Russia in probably their toughest game of the group. Graeme Le Saux grabs an equaliser which should turn out to be a good result.

rus 1 eng 1Disaster strikes though as England labour to a 0-0 draw with the Saudis, and the Russia/Swiss games ends in the same result. It’s a great day for TV audiences everywhere as the final game of the day, in group H, also finishes 0-0. Are England heading out at the first hurdle?

Group G

The Dutch are the star name in group G, though they are immediately on the back foot after losing to Mexico. A nervous 1-0 win over Tunisia gets them back on track, but Chile beating Mexico means the group is tight heading into the final fixtures.

group GGroup H

Beaten ’94 finalists Italy are the favourites here, paired with Colombia, Cameroon and Sweden. Italy see of Sweden 2-0 thanks to Enrico Chiesa and draw with Colombia, so the Italians will be confident of progress. Colombia, with everybody’s favourite hairdo Carlos Valderrama in midfield, beat Cameroon and look set to join them in the last 16.

In part 2 we’ll find out who gets through, and more importantly, if Glenn Hoddle regrets assembling the cast of Dads Army for his trip to France.

1 thought on “France 98 – Part 1

  1. Great read, very funny. I’ve just completed my first season and Scotland won the World Cup in my game, beating Russia in the final!

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