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21 June 1998 Group H Paris - Parc de Princes
Argentina Jamaica
Argentina produced a devastating display of finishing power to blow away Jamaica's slim World Cup hopes of progressing to the second stage, with this comprehensive 5-0 thrashing in the Parc des Princes, Paris. A stunning hat-trick in the space of ten second-half minutes from Gabriel Batistuta followed two wonderfully taken goals by Ariel Ortega against a Jamaican side reduced to ten men when Darryl Powell was sent off in first-half stoppage time for his second bookable offence. Argentina tore Jamaica apart in a devastating ten-minute opening spell as Batistuta twice went close, whilst Zanetti and Sensini also saw goal attempts saved by Warren Barrett. Darryl Powell was assigned a man-marking job on Argentina's Ariel Ortega whilst Steve Malcolm stuck close to the South American's playmaker Juan Veron. Powell's task was made all the more difficult when he was booked in the fourth minute for a foul on the little number ten, but gradually Jamaica clawed their way back into the match having weathered the early storm. Fitzroy Simpson tested Carlos Roa at his near post after 11 minutes and Deon Burton saw a shot drift wide as players waited for a whistle. Ariel Ortega escaped the clutches of Powell to show why many believe that he is the man to take over Maradonna's mantle, when a magical dribble ended with a shot just poked too high over the bar. However, the same player opened the scoring on 32 minutes with an exquisite finish from Veron's throughball. Apart from the goal the Jamaicans had given a good account of themselves, but on the stroke of half-time they were reduced to ten men when Powell was sent off unnecessarily for a foul on Ortega. After the break Argentina began to turn on the style and Jamaica's brave resistance was broken by another quality goal by Ortega after 55 minutes. Ian Goodison had performed magnificently to keep Batistuta quiet for most of the match but the 'Archangel Gabriel' snapped up a wonderful hat-trick in ten second-half minutes as Jamaica were run ragged. That makes it 47 goals in 64 appearances for Batistuta who jumps to the top of the France 98 scoring charts and is now outright favourite for the 'Golden Boot'. The scoreline was a little harsh on Jamaica who had again done themselves and their supporters proud, but they paid the price of being reduced to ten men against one of the most potent attacking forces in the world. The result now means that Jamaica are eliminated from the competition and Friday's match against Japan offers an opportunity for them to gain their first ever World Cup win, whilst Argentina play Croatia to decide who will top the Group H table.

(1-0) Ortega (32). Veron sliced through the Jamaican midfield playing a one-two with Simeone before sliding an inch-perfect pass into the path of the little number ten down the right side of the box and the exquisite finish with the outside of his right foot was dinked over 'keeper Warren Barrett from eight yards.

(2-0) Ortega (55). He collected a pass from Almeyda 35 yards from goal and played a sharp give-and-go with Claudio Lopez to burst between Jamaican defenders Dawes and Cargill into the box before finishing with another delightful effort, this time lifting a left-footed shot over the advancing Barrett from eight yards.

(3-0) Batistuta (73). Ortega picked up the ball on the halfway line, following great play by Veron, and burst forward to release his strike partner on the right edge of the box, the 'Archangel's' control was instant before drilling home a low right-footed shot across Barrett and just inside the far post.

(4-0) Batistuta (79). Simeone bisected the Jamaican defence with an incisive throughball to the unmarked striker who was played onside by Frank Sinclair, and once again he controlled well before firing home right-footed into Barrett's bottom right-hand corner from just inside the box with the 'keeper managing to get a hand to the shot.

(5-0) Batistuta (83, pen). Ortega was blatantly brought down by Dawes following a clever one-two with Batistuta and the record-breaking striker stepped up to slam home the spot-kick right-footed past Barrett's right hand for the first hat-trick of France 98.

 
 
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Page created by Christakis Ioannou on Sunday, 21 June 1998
 
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