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Finals
 
13 June 1998 Group E Lyon - Stade de Gerland
Korea Republic Mexico
This opening game in Group E had everything, four goals, three bookings, a sending-off and some extrovert Mexican goalkeeping. South Korea, the rank outsiders of the tournament, showed themselves to be an able and efficient passing side. Fourth ranked Mexico, on the contrary, did not appear to be the side that many thought would strike fear into the hearts of Holland and Belgium. The game started scrappily, with both sides cancelling each other out in the middle of the park. That was up until the 28th minute when the Koreans were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Mexican penalty area. Ha Seok-Ju's shot was deflected by the defensive wall and wrong-footed Mexico's extrovert 'keeper, Campos. Ha's joy was shortlived though, as a minute later he became the first red card casualty of these Finals. Penalised for a rash tackle from behind, referee Benko had little option but abide by the FIFA directive and dismiss the goalscorer. Mexican coach, Manuel Lapuente made a double substitution for the second period and the introduction of Pelaez paid dividends when he scored six minutes into the half. Mexico began to dominate the game as ten-man South Korea tired and with only 15 minutes remaining any hopes of a draw began to disappear. Mexico's starman, Blanco, always dangerous, put over a deep cross and leading scorer Hernandez beat Kim Byung Ji on the far post. With the Koreans out on their feet, Hernandez netted his second and Mexico's third to secure victory for the Latin Americans.

(1-0) Ha, SJ (28). He struck a 25 yard free-kick, left-footed, curling over the defensive wall but Mexican centre-half, Davino, in attempting to head the ball clear, deflected the shot into the bottom left-hand corner of Jorge Campos' net to leave the extrovert 'keeper wrong-footed.

(1-1) Pelaez (51). Ramirez swung in a near post corner and Pelaez, unable to steer his header goalwards saw the ball break off the Korean captain, Yoo Sang Chui, for him to smash home, right-footed from four yards out.

(1-2) Hernandez (75). Ramirez's deep cross from the left cleared the South Korean defence and Hernandez was waiting at the far post to steer the ball, right-footed, beyond 'keeper Kim Byung Ji into the net from a couple of yards.

(1-3) Hernandez (84). He received the ball just inside the penalty area and turned to shoot low with his right foot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net for his 19th goal in 39 starts for his country.

 
 
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Page created by Christakis Ioannou on Sunday, 14 June 1998
 
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