World Cup 1998 Revisited: The best games

As he looks back at the 1998 World Cup, Gary Meenaghan offers up the best single matches from the tournament.
Henning Berg of Manchester United and Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal both go for the ball during a match on March 14, 1998 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Arsenal won the match 1-0. Shaun Botterill / Allsport
Henning Berg of Manchester United and Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal both go for the ball during a match on March 14, 1998 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Arsenal won the match 1-0. Shaun Botterill / Allsport

Netherlands 5, S Korea 0

The Dutch were out to prove a point. Having drawn their opening match with Belgium 0-0, they knew they had to find their scoring boots – and, against a poor South Korea side, they did. Five goals from five players, without response, suggested an attack-minded side worthy of their favourites tag. Phillip Cocu, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Ronald de Boer netted as Guus Hiddink’s men appeared unstoppable. They progressed despite another draw, against Mexico, but after squeezing past Yugoslavia and Argentina, they fell to Brazil on penalties in the semi-finals.

Croatia 3, Germany 0

In their first World Cup, the Croats showed they were not shy on a global stage. They finished second to Argentina in their group, knocked out Romania 1-0 in the last 16 and then came up against Germany, the European champions. When Germany’s Christian Worns was sent off in the first half for a reckless challenge, Croatia took control. Robert Jarni rifled home from long-range and Goran Vlaovic doubled their lead. When Davor Suker netted Croatia’s third in the 85th minute, one of the greatest World Cup upsets of all time was complete.

Nigeria 3, Spain 2

With Real Madrid having lifted the Uefa Champions League only a few weeks earlier, Spain arrived with great expectations. But in their opening match, against Nigeria, things unravelled. Madrid pair Fernando Hierro and Raul scored either side of a Mutiu Adepoju header to give them a 2-1 lead, but when Andoni Zubizarreta palmed Garba Lawal’s cross into his own net, Nigeria were even. With 13 minutes left, a thunderous, 25-yard volley from Sunday Oliseh flew past Zubizarreta. Africa celebrated three crucial points, while Spain would fail to negotiate the group stages.

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE