118 years of trust
Tuesday, July 21, 1998
  France script a golden chapter
By Amardeep Bhattal
"THE day of glory has arrived," goes France’s national anthem. And indeed it had...
Soccer World Cup highlights
S. Pervez Qaiser
Right people at right places
Teeing off
By K. R. Wadhwaney
International Indian golfing scene at near start of the season has not been as rosy at it ought to have been. Known stars and budding players have failed to strike Derby form to enhance the reputation of the country.

France script a golden chapter
By Amardeep Bhattal
"THE day of glory has arrived," goes France’s national anthem. And indeed it had.At the sprawling Stade de France in St Denis on July 12, Didier Deschamps and his brigade scripted a golden chapter in their country’s soccer history by dethroning Brazil and lifting the glittering World Cup. The historic victory sparked off nationwide celebrations with over 1.5 million people thronging the Champs Elysees in Paris alone to give vent to their ecstatic feelings. According to rough estimates, the revelry surpassed the Liberation Day celebrations of 1944.
The French victory, which incidentally was the first for the hosts in the history of the World Cup, was more of an anti-climax. Not many had placed their bets on the French, as the hosts, despite having an excellent goalkeeper in Fabien Barthez and an enviable defence manned by Lillian Thuram, Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc, lacked a strike force as efficient as that of former champions Brazil, Argentina and Italy, or even that of England, Germany, Croatia and Holland.
However, one man was confidence personified. He was Aime Jacquet, the French team manager. All along he maintained that his squad could go all the way. WhenFrance shocked Italy 4-3 in the quarterfinal penalty shootout, Jacquet went on record saying "We can’t stop now.We still have a lot to give to the French public." Again when France edged out Croatia in the semifinals, Jacquet remarked: "Nothing can stop us now."
And nothing did. The final turned out to be a one-sided affair with defending champions Brazil struggling to match the French resilience before surrendering 0-3. Inspirational midfielder Zinedine Zidane emerged from the shadows to hog the limelight with two superb goals off headers. Emmanuel Petit put the icing on the cake when he struck home in the dying seconds.
Brazil’s showing was indeed pathetic. The team hardly displayed the motivation it is known for.
Star striker Ronaldo was a pale shadow of himself and according to reports he was cleared for the match only half an hour before the crucial tie. As per his own confesssion, he had suffered a fit and had been hospitalised a few hours before the final. Denilson andRoberto Carlos did try to make a match of it through some valiant attempts but these were not enough to subdue the highly-motivated French.
The first round of the World Cup which concluded on June 26, produced results which were more or less on the expected lines barring a few exceptions. Brazil and Norway from group A, Italy and Chile from group B,France and Denmark from group C, Nigeria and Paraguay from group D, Holland and Mexico from group E, Germany and Yugoslavia from group F,Romania and England from group G and Argentina and Croatia from group H qualified for the second round. Among the teams who surprisingly bowed out early were Cameroon, Spain, Bulgaria, Belgium, the USA and Colombia. Those who made stunning progress included Chile, Croatia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay and Noway.
The first round was marred by incidents such a explusion of Colombian star Faustino Asprilla on disciplinary grounds, battering of French policeman Daniel Nivel by German hooligans and attacks on Tunisian fans by English fans in Marseille.
The second round produced some stunning results. These included the 4-1 demolition of Chile by Brazil, victory by an identical margin of Denmark against Nigeria, a one-nil victory for Croatia over Romania and above all a shock 4-3 victory for Argentina against England via the penalty shootout.
It was in fact the Argentina versus England match which generated the maximum excitement. The match saw England reduced to 10 men in the 47th minute when star striker David Beckham was dismissed with a red card following retaliatory action against Argentina’s Diego Simeone. What followed was a ding-dong battle which stretched into extra time and then the penalty shootout which broke the hearts of millions of English fans.
The story of 10 men pitted against 11 was repeated in the quarterfinals when former champions Germany were stunned by Croatia after key German defender Christian Woerns was sent off in the first half for a seemingly rough tackle. After having dominated most of the first half, Germany found it difficult to cope with the changed situation and Croatia exploited the huge gaps to shoot home three goals and send the Germans packing.

The other quarterfinals produced some shocks. Holland stunned Argentina 2-1 with star striker Dennis Bergkamp emerging as a hero with his decisive strike. For former runners-up Italy, the penalty shootout once again dashed the hopes of the Azzuri when they went down to France 4-3.Defending champions Brazil rallied to down a spirited Denmark 3-2 in a tie dominated by the latter.
In the semifinals Brazil had to wait for the penalty shootout to subdue a spirited Holland.It was in fact Brazilian goalkeeper Taffarel’s day as he effected two excellent saves from Philip Cocu and Ronald de Boer in the battle of penalties afer the two sides were locked 1-1 in regulation period. The second semifinal saw hosts France carving out a dream 2-1 win over Croatia.Parma defender Lillian Thuram was the hero of the French win as he blasted home both the goals, incidentally his first in international soccer.
Besides unexpected victories, the 16th edition of the World Cup also saw several stars leaving a lasting impression.Among these were Chile’s Marcelo Salas, German star Oliver Bierhoff, England’s Michael Owen, Holland’s Dennis Bergkamp, Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta,France’s Laurent Blanc, Lilian Thuram and Zinedine Zidane and above all Croatia’s Davor Suker.
Suker in fact captured the hearts of millions of soccer fans with his excellent ball play. The golden boot awarded to him by virtue of being the highest scorer of the World Cup (six goals) was a just reward for the striker who had earlier been consigned to the bench by European League winners Real Madrid.
Moments of glory also had a tinge of sadness as several aging stars bid adieu to the world stage. Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizaretta bowed out after 126 caps, heavy at heart after inadvertently guiding the ball into his own goal against Nigeria.German sweeper Lothar Matthaeus, who appeared in his fifth World Cup and equalled Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal’s record, made his exit with 125 caps and a record 25 World Cup games.Similarly, German skipper Juergen Klinsmann, old Romanian war horse Gheroge Hagi and Hristo Stoichkov of Bulgaria also bid adieu, along with Italian star Roberto Baggio.
One team which impressed was Croatia. Making their debut in the World Cup, Croatia crossed one hurdle after another to finish third. As in England during the 1996 European Championship, Croatia earned the sympathy of millions of viewers worldwide.If France emerged as the greatest force Croatia are definitely the latest craze in world soccer.
France 98 will also be remembered for the red card galore.With FIFA’s new rule banning tackles from behind coming into force, red cards were frequently used to curb such fouls. But what was most alarming was that tricksters sought to win over sympathy of referees with expert diving and feigning injuries. Argentina captain Diego Simeone was one of the leading actors and was responsible for two expulsions besides earning a penalty for his team.
Similarly, Slaven Bilic of Croatia succeeded in winning over the sympathy of referee Jose Manuel Garcia Aranda. Aranda promptly flashed the red card for star defender Laurent Blanc of France after Bilic rolled down grabbing his chest as if in acute pain after Blanc’s palm hit Bilic on the chin in the seminfials. Bilic’s action deprived Blanc the opportunity of playing in the historic final, something which the ardent France fans will neither forget nor forgive.
Although a check on fouls and rough tackles helps in raising the standard of the game, it is this aspect which needs to be looked into seriously.Soccer’s governing body FIFA has already issued a warning to such tricksters who try to take advantage of the new rule by feigning injuries and managing to send opponents out.
On the whole,France ’98 was a new experiment.With an enlarged field and enhanced viewership, it proved to be a perfect climax to the greatest sport show on earth, incidentally the last of this century. Japan and South Korea, co-hosts of the next World Cup in 2002, surely must have learnt a lot vis-a-vis the game and organisational capabilities. Removing the bottlenecks is surely on the agenda of the co-hosts, who have already demonstrated their eagerness to make the 17th edition of the World Cup a memorable one. After all, Asia’s prestige will be at stake.
  Soccer World Cup highlights
  • THE following are the some of the highlights of just concluded 16th edition of the World Cup soccer in France.
  • France trounced holders Brazil 3-0 in the final to win the World Cup for the first time.France are the seventh team to win the World Cup. Brazil, however, still remain the team with most wins (four), followed by Germany and Italy (three each), Argentina and Uruguay (two each) and England (once).France are the only sixth host nation to have won the title. The other five host nations to have won the title are Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), England (1966), Germany (1974), and Argentina (1978). The title has now been equally divided by teams from Europe and South America, eight times each.
  • Brazil’s 0-3 loss in the final is their worst defeat in World Cup history.It was the sixth time that Brazil conceded three or more goals but in all their previous defeats they had managed to score at least one goal.
  • *Croatia defeated Holland 2-1 to win the third place. Croatia are the third team to take the third spot in the World Cup on their debut after Germany (1934) and Portugal (1966). The USA took the third spot in the first World Cup in 1930. The USA and Yugoslavia did not play each other and the USA were eventually ranked third due to their better goal difference.
  • After beating Croatia 2-1 in the semifinal,France advanced to the final for the first time in 10 appearances.
  • France are the first team since 1970 to win the World Cup without losing a match. Brazil were the last team to achieve the same.
  • Brazil beat Holland 5-3 via tie-breaker in the semifinal to enter the final for a record sixth time. Brazil are the only country to appear in all final rounds of the World Cup. It was the fourth semifinal in World Cup history to be decided by penalties. The previous occasions were Germany’s 5-4 win over France in 1982 and both semifinals in 1990.
  • By beating Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinal, Croatia became the ninth country to enter the World Cup semifinal on their debut. The others were Uruguay,Argentina, the USA and Yugoslavia in 1930, Germany Austria, Czechoslovakia and Italy in 1934 and Portugal in 1966.
  • Holland entered the semifinal for the third time in seven appearances by beating Argentina 2-1 in the quarterfinal.
  • South Africa became and 62nd team to play in the World Cup finals. South Africa played their first match against France at Marseille on June 12.
  • Germany’s Lothar Math-aeus set a new record of most appearances in the World Cup when he played his 22nd match against Yugoslavia at Lens. He jointly shared the honour of most matches (21) with compatriot Uwe Seeler, Poland’s Wladyslaw Zmuda and Argentina’s Diego Maradona. Lothar also equalled the long standing record of five appearances by former Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal. Carbajal played 11 matches in four World Cups between 1950 to 1966. Lothar Mathaeus played his 24th match against Mexico and being on the field right through the entire encounter, the former skipper set the all time record of total minutes played by a player in the World Cup. He erased the previous record held by compatriot Uwe Seeler who played 1950 minutes in 21 matches. Lothar Mathaeus bettered his own record by playing full time in the next match against Croatia. It was his 25th match in the World Cup.
  • Japan became the 63rd team to play in the World Cup finals.Japan played their first match against Argentina at Toulouse on June 14.
  • Croatia became the 64th and Jamaica 65th team to play in the World Cup. Both teams played each other at Lens on June 14. By beating Jamaica 3-1 Croatia achieved their first victory in their first match. Croatia are the 45th country to win a match in the World Cup finals.
  • Croatia’s Robert Prosinecki became the first player to score for two different teams in the World Cup finals.He achieved this feat when he scored against Jamaica. In 1990, Prosinecki represented Yugoslavia and scored.
  • Mario Stanic became the first Croatian player to score in a World Cup final round match. He achieved this feat against Jamaica.
  • Claudi Lopez’s equaliser against Holland in the quarterfinal was Argentina’s 100th goal in 57 matches in the World Cup. With this Argentina became the fourth team after Brazil, Germany and Italy to score 100 goals in the World Cup final round.
  • Brazil’s 2-1 victory over Scotland in the first match of this edition was their 50th in the World Cup. With this victory, Brazil became the first and only team t o win 50 or more matches in the World Cup.
  • Di Biagio’s goal against Cameroon was Italy’s 100th goal in the World Cup. Italy’s 100th goal came in the 63rd match.
  • France’s Laurent Blanc scored the first ‘golden goal’ of the World Cup. He struck six minutes from the end of extra time to sink Paraguay 1-0 in the second round match at Lens.
  • Yugoslavian Predrag Mijatovic’s missed penalty against Holland on June 23 has broken a series of 37 penalties converted in a row in the World Cup. The last missed penalty dates back to June 21, 1990 in Verona where the Belgian midfielder Vincenzo Scifo missed a spot kick in the match against Spain.
  • Germany’s Jurgen Klinsmann became the ninth player to score 10 or more goals in the World Cup. He achieved this feat when he scored his 10th goal against Iran. Klinsmann scored his 11th goal against Mexico and is now fourth in all time ranking together with Sandor Kocsis (Hungary). Only Pele (Brazil, 12 goals). Just Fontaine (France 13 and Gerd Muller Germany 14) have scored more. The German skipper has figured in 17 World Cup matches till date.
  • Brazil have now played 80 matches in World Cup which is a record. Germany and Brazil jointly shared the top spot with 73 matches till the last edition. In the 16th edition Brazil played seven matches while Germany appeared in five.
  • Brazil’s Claudio Taffarel equalled Germany’s Sepp Maier’s record of most matches in the World Cup by a goalkeeper. The final match was Taffarel’s 18th in the World Cup. Germany’s Maier played in four World Cups between 1966 and 1978.
  • By finishing second, Brazil equalled Germany’s record of finishing top four on most occasions.Germany have been among the first four, nine times in their 13 previous participations.
  • Germany became the first team in the World Cup to concede 100 goals. Mexican Luis Hernandez scored the 100th goal in Germany’s 77th match in the World Cup.
  • By awarding three penalties, Chilean referee, Mario Sanchez Yanten who supervised the South Africa-Saudi Arabia match in Bordeaux, equalled a record held by Ernesto Codesal Mendez of Mexico and Ulises Saucedo of Bolivia. Codesal awarded three penalties in the quarter final match played on July 1, 1990 in Neples between England and Cameroon. On July 19, 1930 in the first round match between Argentina and Mexico, Saucedo awarded three penalties.
  • SouthAfrican Pierre Issa’s own goal in the 78th minute in his team’s 0-3 loss to France at Marseille on June 12 was the 1600th goal in the World Cup. Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Kamljenovic scored the 1700th goal. He achieved this milestone against the USA in Nantes on June 25.
  • The joint appearance of Michael Laudrup and his younger brother Brain Laudrup for Denmark against Saudi Arabia at Lens was the seventh instance when two brothers appeared in a World Cup match.
  • Ha Seok Ju of South Korea who red-carded against Mexico was the first player in 36 years to be sent off in a World Cup final match after scoring a goal. The last player to suffer the same fate was Brazil’s Garrincha who was dismissed after scoring in Brazil’s victory over Chile in 1962.
  • Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta scored the only hat-trick of France 98, against Jamaica in Paris. It was his second hat-trick and 41st in the World Cup. There are three other players who have twice scored a hat-trick in the World Cup, Sandor Kocsis of Hungary in 1954. Just Fontaine of France in 1958 and Gerd Muller of Germany in 1970. Batistuta’s hat-trick was the fastest hat-trick in the World Cup. He took only 11 minutes to complete this.

— S. Pervez Qaiser

  Right people at right places
By K. R. Wadhwaney
International Indian golfing scene at near start of the season has not been as rosy at it ought to have been. Known stars and budding players have failed to strike Derby form to enhance the reputation of the country.
Chiranjeev Milkha Singh, who missed his ‘chum’s’ marriage, also missed qualifying for the prestigious British Open by a solitary stroke. It was a hard luck for him indeed at Royal Bridale where weather conditions made the going for golfers tough. But professional stalwarts of international reckoning are expected to take all conditions — good, bad and indifferent — in their stride.
The five Indians, including Jeev, did not come to terms with their game in the prestigious competition. The close study of Jeev’s game reveals that he seldom plays with the sharpness and consistency required of a player in a four-day contest. He is the type of a player who strikes superlative form one day and is down in the dumps the following day.
Unquestionably, Jeev is one of the finest players from Asia. He will be a great force to reckon with in international circuit if he wears a more relaxed composure than he does. Talentwise he rivals his father. But in tenacity and unbending will to rise he has yet to match Milkha.
Gaurav Ghei has not been playing as strongly as he did last year when he became the lone and only Indian to qualify for the British Open. A thinking player, he is said to have done a lot of soul-searching but he has not been able to work out why has he not been playing well. Maybe, it is a temporary sluggish phase and he may emerge out of it as the season unfolds. In his success will be the happiness of a majority of Delhiwallahs because he is a player of good calibre and high sporting spirit.
Three others — Arjun Atwal, Arjun Singh and Vivek Bhandari — also could not find their silken touch. If the Indian struggled, Korea’s Choi Kyung-Ju succeeded in making the cut.

Juniors flop

A four-member Indian team left with high expectations for the Junior World Cup. All four, trained by a renowned professional Ajay Gupta, were wayward in their strokes and putting and could finish 10th among 11 participating countries.
While inability to perform credibly in arduous conditions abroad is nothing new to Indians, what the most disappointing was that players between 14 and 17 complained of lacking in physical ability to play well on ‘high’ course. This amply demonstrated that our country’s elite youth need to be trained the hard way.
The summer training programme, run by Gupta at the Delhi Golf Course, indeed was a grand success from the point of number of caddies, girls and others attended the course. But judging from the performance of the juniors, it can be concluded that the plan of coaching needs to be re-drafted by paying greater attention to physical attributes than has been the case. In addition to physical toughness, the players of all ages have to be mentally sharp and alert. International competition, let it be reiterated, is not merely a combination of a foot and a hand but also of mental faculties. Unless our players are mentally robust, there is no way the Indians can make their mark in the arena of international competitions.
Take, for example, football. Many tiny countries, which are much more under-developed than India, did qualify for the recently - concluded World Cup, which France won in their hone country.
India did not qualify although in 1950s India was one of the leading football nations. Now it is one of the weakest countries and is unlikely to qualify for the mega event for a decade or two as long as football, like many other sport disciples, is in the hands of people who have no credentials whatsoever to run the game. India does not need foreign coaches. But India desperately needs foreign administrators to draft intelligent programme.
Similarly, India requires officials in Indian Golf Union and Professional Golfers Association in India (PGAI) with greater dedication and knowledge than has been the case. There is no dearth of talent and knowledgeable people in the country. What is needed is to have a clean system to induct right type of people at right places.

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