Portugal Downs Croatia 3-0 to Top Group, Danes Down Turks But Go Out
LONDON (AP) _ Italy went out of the European Championship after a night of passion, tension and see-sawing drama before a celebrity audience Wednesday but without a goal against Germany.
The 0-0 tie at Old Trafford, in which Gianfranco Zola missed a seventh-minute penalty and Germany had Thomas Strunz sent off, meant the Germans advanced to the quarterfinal from Group C along with the Czech Republic, which tied 3-3 with Russia at Anfield.
The Italians and Czechs tied for second place behind the Germans on points and were separated by the Euro 96 rule that states head-to-head results count. That meant the Czechs’ 2-1 victory over Italy last Friday was the deciding factor.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker were among the German fans in the 53,740 crowd at Manchester United’s Old Trafford. But there was as much fever and action among the Italians fans as on the field, as the scores from Anfield were relayed to them.
When the Russians turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead with five minutes remaining, the Italian fans went wild. Then they heard that Vladimir Smicer had tied it a minute from the end. It was sheer agony for the fans and for the Italian players when that news was passed on.
It would have been different had Zola scored from the penalty spot after Pierluigi Casiraghi was upended by goalkeeper Andreas Koepke. His kick was weakly hit and the keeper made an easy diving save.
It was the closest Italy got even though the Germans lost Strunz in the 59th minute for his second yellow card.
At Anfield, Jan Suchoparek in the sixth minute and Pavel Kuka in the 20th gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead before the Russians hit back through Alexandr Mostovoi (48th), Omar Tetradze (53rd) and Vladimir Beschastnykh (85th).
Smicer ran on to a deep pass from Lubos Kubik and rifled the tying goal past Stanislav Cherchesov to put the Czechs through.
The Czechs now face Group D winner Portugal in one quarterfinal Sunday while two-time titlist Germany faces Croatia. The other games are England-Spain and France-Netherlands, both on Saturday.
Portugal downed Croatia 3-0 to leapfrog the Croats and finish atop the group. First-half goals by Luis Figo and Joao Pinto and a late strike by Domingos Oliveira gained the three points which sent the unbeaten Portuguese to the top of Group D.
Portugal finished with seven points and Croatia six with Denmark, the defending champion, going out of the competition despite beating Turkey 3-0 to wind up with four.
Brian Laudrup scored twice to take his total for the competition to three and Allan Nielsen netted the other at Hillsborough. That result meant the Turks go home without a point from three games.
Already sure of a quarterfinal place, Croatia fielded virtually a reserve side at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, with standards like Zvonimir Boban, Davor Suker, Aljosa Asanovic, goalkeeper Drazen Ladic, Igor Stimac, Marijo Stanic and Alen Boksic sitting on the bench or not even in the lineup.
Boban, Sukur and Asanovic were sent on for the second half but by then the Croats were 2-0 down.
In the fourth minute, Secretario made a break down the right and Figo provided the overlap to chest the ball down and shoot home from 12 yards.
The second came in the 32nd minute when Fernando Couto headed on a right wing corner, Ricardo Sa Pinto hooked the ball into the danger area and found Pinto unmarked in front of goal. Despite the presence of eight Croatian defenders in the area, Pinto had plenty of time to shoot home from six yards.
The third goal eight minutes from the end was the result of a Croat defensive blunder. A slack pass by Dubravko Pavlicic inside his own half struck fellow defender Slaven Bilic. The ball dropped to Domingos, who chested it down, ran clear of the defense and scored the third goal.
At Hillsborough, Glasgow Rangers striker Brian Laudrup opened the scoring in the 48th minute. He got behind the Turkish defense, latched on to a header from Erik Bo Andersen, coolly rounded the keeper and side-footed the ball into an open goal.
Allan Nielsen got Denmark’s second goal in the 58th minute with a fierce 10-yard shot from Thomas Helveg’s back-heel pass from the sideline.
The third goal came seven minutes from the end when Andersen, controlling the ball skilfully near the penalty area, drew three Turkish defenders away from Laudrup. Andersen made a short, inch-perfect pass which Laudrup, racing through the defense, fired in from 15 yards.