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12 June 1998 Group C Lens - Stade Felix-Bollaert
Saudi Arabia Denmark
Denmark narrowly squeezed past a tentative Saudi Arabia in a drab Group C encounter in the Stade Felix Bollaert, Lens. Marc Rieper's 68th-minute header decide the outcome of a game woefully lacking in quality all over the pitch. The powerful Danes looked to rely heavily on their physical attributes attempting to utilise the height in their side along with the pace and ingenuity of the Laudrup brothers. Saudi Arabia adopted strange tactics in the first half by sitting back and almost encouraging the Danes to try to break them down. Brian Laudrup was central to all that was creative, setting up Jorgensen who missed badly after 33 minutes. However, the closest either side came to a goal in the opening period was when Saudi's Saeed al-Owairan tested Peter Schmeichel with a superbly struck 25-yard free-kick on 42 minutes. After the interval Saudi Arabia at least upped their tempo and tried to involve the talented Sami al-Jaber and Khalid al-Muwalid, their leading scorer in the qualifiers, but they failed consistently to make in-roads through a resolute Denmark defence. Both sides were afforded plenty of possession, but unforced errors by either side led to a chorus of boos, especially from the Danish contingent in the 38,140 crowd who entertained themselves with a non-stop Mexican wave. However, the jeers turned to cheers on 68 minutes when Denmark's Celtic defender Rieper had the easiest of tasks to nod into an empty net after being picked out by the excellent Brian Laudrup. The Saudis made three substitutions in an attempt to rescue the game, but their initial negativity, for whatever reason, cost them dearly and they never really deserved anything from the match on this poor performance.

(0-1) Rieper (68). Helveg's attempted shot from a partially cleared corner fell at the feet of Jorgensen who set up Brian Laudrup for an inviting cross to the far post where the big defender leapt to head easily home past al-Deayea's right hand from four yards.

 
 
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Page created by Christakis Ioannou on Saturday, 13 June 1998
 
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