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21 June 1998 Group F Lens - Stade Felix-Bollaert
Germany Yugoslavia
Germany and Yugoslavia, the two favourites for qualification from Group F, fought out an unlikely 2-2 draw in an astonishing turnaround in the Stade Felix Bollaert, Lens. With Yugoslavia 2-0 up and cruising with 17 minutes to go against an unrecognisably poor German side, the three-times World Cup winners came back to snatch the game out of the fire. Leading with goals from Stankovic and Stojkovic the Yugoslavs saw Tarnat's deflected free-kick and Bierhoff's header wipe out their comfortable lead. Yugoslavia, still reeling from criticism received for their poor showing against Iran in their first match, started brightly and confidently with Stojkovic running the show in midfield. German boss, Bertie Vogts, sends eight coaches to every World Cup match who then fax back reports of possible future opposition. However, the information collated following Yugoslavia's 1-0 victory over Iran would not have prepared the Germans for the rejuvenated Yugoslavs. It was no surprise when Slobodan Santrac's side took the lead in bizarre fashion when Mijatovic's 13th-minute cross from the left appeared to elude everybody and bounced into the net off the far post. However, at half-time FIFA made an official announcement that the goal was to be credited to Dejan Stankovic who had gone close to getting a touch. The Germans typically refused to touch the panic button, but were struggling to get to grips with their lively opposition, and Jurgen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierhoff were becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of quality service from all areas of the pitch. Indeed it was Yugoslavia who went close to increasing their lead in the first half when Zeljko Petrovic, Darko Kovacevic and Vladimir Jugovic were all denied by some excellent goalkeeping by Andreas Koepke. The closest the Germans came was in the final minute of the half when Klinsmann just failed to take a half-chance, and one could visualise the half-time scene in the German dressing room with Bertie Vogts, Lothar Matthaeus and Klinsmann all having their say. Matthaeus broke World Cup records when replacing the woeful Dietmar Hamann at the start of the second-half, making his 22nd finals appearance and becoming the first outfield player to feature in five tournaments whilst also winning the 125th cap for his country. Nevertheless, it was Yugoslavia who continued to dominate and deservedly doubled their lead on 54 minutes when Koepke made a complete mess of Kovakevic's low cross-cum-shot and Stojkovic easily prodded home. At this stage on the longest day of the year there appeared no way back for the Germans who were fielding the oldest side - average age 31 - in the competition. However, a piece of good fortune brought them back into the match when substitute Tarnat's left-footed free-kick cannoned off Mihajlovic and into the Yugoslav net on 73 minutes. The Germans now with their tails up sensed that maybe they could still rescue an unexpected point from the match and constant pressure led to a succession of corners with Bierhoff finally heading home the equaliser on 80 minutes. Klinsmann was stretchered off with a rib injury after taking the full force of Mihajlovic's 87th-minute free-kick as the match eventually ended honours even. Yugoslavia will be wondering how they failed to gain all three points as both teams showed their 'Jeckyll and Hyde' sides. Germany had previously beaten Yugoslavia on the way to winning each of their three World Cups, and they now face Iran in Montpellier on Thursday, while Yugoslavia play the USA in Nantes.

(1-2) Mihajlovic (73, og). The substitute lined up an optimistic 30-yard free-kick from the left and his superbly struck left-footed shot was goalbound before deflecting wickedly off the outstretched leg of Mihajlovic to fly into the net past the helpless 'keeper Ivica Kralj. The goal was credited as an own goal by Mihajlovic two days later on a decision by FIFA.

(0-1) Mijatovic (13). Mijatovic's curling low cross into the German box was aimed for Stankovic, but it appeared that the striker failed to make contact as he stuck out his right foot, Koepke dived to save, only for the ball to bounce off his thigh and into the net via the far post - FIFA later officially credited the goal to Dejan Stankovic, but video evidence was inconclusive to the fact that the striker claimed he got a touch and it appeared that Mijatovic's cross had gone straight into the net. In fact two days later FIFA after studying video evidence decided to credit the goal to Mijatovic.

(2-2) Bierhoff (80). Olaf Thon's corner from the right was swung across the six-yard box and the big striker arrived unmarked between two defenders to crash a downward header past 'Kralj and into the net from a central position.

(0-2) Stojkovic (54). Jokanovic surged through the German midfield on a forward run and laid a pass out to Kovacevic on the right whose powerful, low cross-cum-shot was spilled by 'keeper Koepke straight to the feet of the Yugoslav captain who scored easily into an empty net from a yard.

 
 
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