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27 June 1998 Marseille - Stade Velodrome
Italy Norway
Italy became the first side through to the quarter-finals of France 98 after this unconvincing 1-0 victory against a disappointing Norwegian side, in the stamina-sapping heat of the Stade Velodrome, Marseille. Christian Vieri's 18th minute strike ensured a passage that was relatively safe with Norway's late spirited onslaught only producing the one clear-cut headed opportunity for striker Tore Andre Flo. As in previous World Cups the Italians find themselves in the latter stages of the competition after inconsistent form in the qualifying stages, and they will now meet either France or Paraguay in the Stade de France, St Denis on Friday 3 July at 4.30pm. With the temperature at pitch level close to 100 degrees the conditions were always going to be difficult for both sets of players with the Italians possibly more acclimatised to the heat. Indeed it was Italy who began the brighter of the two sides with Vieri hooking an eighth-minute shot high into the side-netting at the far post, following Paolo Maldini's flick from a Francesco Moriero corner. The Norwegians set their stall out as they had in the previous game against Brazil, to make themselves difficult to break down, whilst playing with Tore Andre Flo as a lone striker. Their first effort came from the Chelsea man on 13 minutes but Gianluca Pagliuca fisted away his powerful 20-yard drive. Christian Vieri kept up his record of having scored in every game when putting the Italians into the lead after just 18 minutes. Luigi Di Biagio thread a pass through the eye of the needle to bisect a flat Norwegian back four and the four-goal hitman made it five for the tournament, and outright lead in pursuit of the "Golden Boot", with yet another measured finish. The early goal played perfectly into the hands of Cesare Maldini's side who are past masters at sitting on a one-goal lead and for the remainder of the half it was a typical Italian performance. Although with Norway pressing more men forward, Alessandro Del Piero twice went close on the counterattack, but saw a left-footed cross-shot saved by Grodas before failing to get enough height on his attempted chip on the stroke of half-time. For 20 minutes after the break the game went a little flat, as Italy were quite content to sit back and defend, whilst Norway's over-cautious approach did little to improve the game as a spectacle. Again it was the Italians who had the better of the goalmouth action as Del Piero fired in a couple of right-footed shots before having a great opportunity to double the score on 67 minutes. The striker, who still appeared to be slightly hampered by a lack of match fitness and sharpness, was put clear by Albertini's slotted throughball and with Henning Berg tugging at him from behind, the Juventus man rolled a left-footed shot inches wide. At last Norway seemed to realise the extent of the task ahead of them and the possible prize at stake, and when Mykland delivered a perfect cross from the right on 71 minutes, Tore Andre Flo's header looked certain to provide the equaliser until Pagliuca somehow managed to keep the ball out right on the goal-line. Despite 20 minutes of all-out Norwegian pressure the nervy Italian defence was never really troubled and Stig Inge Bjornebye's curling 25-yard free-kick was the closest they came to snatching an undeserved leveller. Italy may not yet be firing on all cylinders, but they will be provide tough opposition for either France or Paraguay in the quarter-finals, and they traditionally improve the further they go in the competition.

(1-0) Vieri (18). After latching onto Luigi Di Biagio's throughball from just inside the Italian half, the Italians' top marksman won the race of strength and speed with Eggen, muscling into the right side of the area before firing home with a low, right-footed shot across Frode Grodas and into the left-hand corner of the Norwegian net from ten yards.

 
 
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