Related topics

World Cup Soccer Roundup

July 1, 1998

PARIS (AP) _ In Bordeaux, Croatia got its upset over Romania. In Saint-Etienne, residents hoped that their match, too, would be remembered for what happened on the field and not in the streets.

With about 1,600 police patrolling Saint-Etienne in southeastern France, some scuffles broke out but there was little violence Tuesday night after Argentina defeated England 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 tie.

The night before, fighting between English fans and local youths eager to gain retribution for clashes two weeks ago in Marseille, resulted in 10 arrests, nine French youths and one Englishman. On Tuesday, police arrested another English fan, whom British authorities identified as a soccer hooligan.

As for the game, Argentine goalkeeper Carlos Roa saved a penalty kick from David Batty for the dramatic victory. Argentina will play the Netherlands on Saturday in an attempt to get to the semifinals for the fifth time and the first since 1990.

``It’s the most dramatic way to end a game,″ said Argentina coach Daniel Passarella, who captained the team to its first World Cup championship in 1978. ``It’s very hard to watch it from the sidelines.″

Penalty kicks were England’s curse for the third time in eight years in a major championship. After losing to the Germans in the 1990 World Cup semifinals on penalties, it was ousted again by Germany in the 1996 European Championship semis on home soil by penalty kicks.

``We are almost distraught,″ England coach Glenn Hoddle said. ``It’s a bitter, bitter pill to take.″

Penalties played a major part in regulation as well.

Gabriel Batistuta and Alan Shearer traded penalties in the first nine minutes before Michael Owen gave England the lead in the 16th minute. Javier Zanetti then deadlocked the game just before halftime.

But England had to play a man down after David Beckham was ejected at the beginning of the second half for intentionally kicking Diego Simeone.

That forced England to play at a disadvantage for the final 73 minutes, and its hopes of avenging its 1986 World Cup semifinal loss to Argentina, the ``Hand of God″ game, dwindled.

The match was a focus of many because of the tensions between the two countries and teams. Besides Diego Maradona’s goal that lifted Argentina to victory in 1986, the two fought in 1982 over the Falklands Islands just off the coast of South America.

``It’s very sweet to send the English back home,″ Passarella said. ``Very sweet.″

In Bordeaux, Croatia became the first team to reach the quarterfinals in its World Cup debut since East Germany in 1974, beating favored Romania 1-0. The lone goal came on Davor Suker’s penalty kick at the end of the first half.

Argentine referee Javier Castrilli called the crucial foul on midfielder Gabriel Popescu, whose legs became entangled with those of Aljosa Asanovic as they chased a pass in the penalty area. Popescu protested with arms raised high, but to no avail.

Then Suker had to take the kick twice. His first attempt was good, but Castrilli ordered a do-over because Croatian players ran into the penalty arc before the shot.

Suker stepped up again and whipped a left-footed drive into the same spot _ the lower right corner of the net.

``We have eliminated a team with a great tradition,″ Croatia coach Miroslav Blazevic said. ``Our players achieved a big goal. We’re happy, happier, the happiest.″

The victory put Croatia into a quarterfinal meeting with Germany on Saturday at Lyon, giving organizers a break after a string of politically charged matches. Germany was one of the first nations to recognize Croatia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

If Croatia were to advance to the semifinals, its trip would not be unprecedented. Portugal reached the semis in its first try in 1966.

Update hourly