We’re reaching the business end of the tournament now, with the final group games upon us. There have been shocks, thrashings and a Juan Veron hat-trick. It’s the game that just keeps on giving, so let’s get back to it.
This games happens, which I can’t even begin to pick the bones out of:
Marcus Gayle, you may recall, began his season missing a penalty for me so it is delicious irony that his season finishes on a similar note. It’s not enough for Brazil though as Argentina beat already qualified Norway to progress, and the curret World Champions are out
France beat Australia top top the group but Nigeria beat Yugoslavia to send the Socceroos through. Finidi George got the Nigeria goals, Ipswich fans.
Germany beat Morocco 1-0 and end with an ominous 100% record and 0 goals conceded. Romania beat South Africa but it’s Morocco who go through on goal difference.
Portugal beat Scotland 2-0 and Spain draw 0-0 with Paraguay. Scotland are through!
Denmark put another 5 past Iran, both Laudrup’s on the scoresheet alongside a very young Jon Dahl Tomasson. USA beat Japan to advance alongside the Danes.
England reach new levels of ridiculousness, drawing 2-2 with Switzerland. Russia draw 0-0 with the Saudis, which remarkably puts England through on goals scored.
Both de Boer’s score helping Holland beat Chile 3-2. Mexico’s failure to beat Tunisia means the Dutch go through with Chile.
Italy beat Cameroon 1-0 and Colombia repeat that scoreline against Sweden, meaning both the Italians and Colombia go through with 7 points.
Here’s how all that breaks down:
The knockout stage draw is eagerly anticipated, but it’s rough news for England with Euro 96 fresh in the mindFrance seem to be finding their form, as the Dutch have a good old fashioned capitulation, but when you pick Ed de Goey over Edwin van der Sar you get everything you deserve.
This is as far as England go though, losing 1-0 to the Portugese. Rui Costa gets the goal. It’s a bleak day for the hosts as well, Argentina coming from behind to send France out. Denmark thrash Morocco and Italy ease past Chile. Semi final time.
It’s heartbreak for Argentina as Portugal beat them on penalties. To be honest, I really didn’t expect Portugal to get this far but hey ho. Denmark beat Italy 1-0 thanks to a Panucci own goal and we have a Denmark vs Portugal final. Obviously.
Denmark are strong because they are coming off the Euro 92 win, so many of their players are strong. The Laudrup boys are particularly good so I make them favourites. Italy win the third place playoff on pens, meaning Argentina have lost consecutive shoot outs. Batistuta was among those who missed.
The final is here, and what a white hot game it is:
After the obligatory announcement that Japan will host the 2002 World Cup (sorry South Korea), it’s time for this event, which as a child would mean it was time for a glass of ribena and a game of Tekken, but nowadays I’ll swap for Alt+Tab (and a glass of ribena)