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30 June 1998 Saint-Etienne - Stade Geoffrey-Guichard
Argentina England
After extra time and penalties.
A proud but distraught England side are on their way home from France 98 after suffering the heartbreak of yet another penalty shoot-out defeat, this time 4-3 against old enemies Argentina in the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne. Paul Ince and David Batty were the two reluctant penalty-takers who cruelly saw efforts saved, after Glenn Hoddle's lions had fought out a superb 2-2 draw, despite having David Beckham sent off on 47 minutes for an act of petulance, when kicking out at Diego Simeone in retaliation. An early Gabriel Batistuta penalty was cancelled out by Alan Shearer's similar effort, then Michael Owen's magnificent solo effort put England ahead, only for Javier Zanetti to equalise following a cleverly worked free-kick on the stroke of half-time. It is the third time in recent years that England have lost out in shoot-out's, bringing back memories of Italia '90 and Euro '96 when the dreaded one-on-one's denied progression twice against Germany. Glenn Hoddle named the same England side that had performed so well in the 2-0 triumph over Colombia and they took to the field in an all-white strip, reviving memories of 1966, when Geoff Hurst's headed goal brought a 1-0 victory against Argentina. With the South American fans, by far outnumbering their English counterparts, whistling their disdain at the National Anthem, the scene was set for battle to commence. It took only six minutes before Argentina drew first blood when the name 'Diego' came back to haunt the English. However, this time it was Simeone not Maradonna who went down under a challenge from David Seaman and the Danish referee Kim MIlton Nielsen immediately pointed to the spot. The 'Archangel Gabriel' Batistuta stepped up to open the scoring although Seaman was desperately close to keeping the effort out. Four minutes later England were on level terms when Owen revealed his devastating pace to the Argentine defence for the first time, and when Roberto Ayala blocked the surging run of the 18-year-old, the official awarded the second penalty of a dramatic first ten minutes. The skipper, Shearer, made no mistake striking his right-foot effort high into the net for the equaliser as England hit back immediately. Just six minutes later the capacity 36,000 crowd witnessed one of the great moments of this World Cup, when Michael Owen sensationally put his side 2-1 ahead with a stunning 'Goal of the Tournament' contender. Receiving a pass from Beckham just inside the Argentine half, the youngster took the ball superbly in his stride with the outside of his right foot, before mesmerising defender Ayala to shoot high into the back of Carlos Roa's net. The goal had the world on it's feet in acclaim as the Liverpool striker once again demonstrated his mercurial talents and his cool, lethal finishing. While the 5,000 English fans chanted: "There's only one Michael Owen!", the South Americans were thankful that that was the case. Ariel Ortega was at the heart of everything good from Argentina, as he continually prompted and probed in an attempt to break down a stubborn and resilient England defence. However, apart from a number of long-range efforts David Seaman's goal was barely threatened. Indeed it was the men in white who should have put the game beyond doubt on 39 minutes when Paul Scholes latched onto a great flick by Shearer, but he just screwed an eight-yard shot wide with his unfavoured left foot. With the fourth official indicating one minute of first-half stoppage time, the Argentinians won a free-kick just outside the England penalty area within Batistuta shooting range. Everyone expected a shot on goal, but instead the striker ran over the ball and Veron laid in Zanetti who scored left-footed beyond Seaman with the defence all-at-sea. Two minutes after the interval came the moment that possibly cost England the match, as Beckham received his marching orders. Simeone crashed into the back of the midfielder sending him to the floor, but with the referee just yards away the Manchester United man kicked out at his opponent and was stupidly, but deservedly red-carded. Glenn Hoddle's ten-men were forced to regroup and Graeme Le Saux was replaced by Gareth Southgate as England reverted to a four-man defence with the excellent Sol Campbell moving to left-back. The players worked tirelessly for one another and amazingly continued to restrict the Argentine attack to hopeful shots from distance. On 82 minutes Sol Campbell was celebrating his first England goal, but the celebrations were short-lived when the goal was disallowed for a foul by Shearer on Roa and this enthralling match now entered 'Golden goal' extra time. Hoddle introduced David Batty for Darren Anderton in an attempt to keep things tight, as well as provide fresh legs in central midfield, and both sides had half-chances to win the game. Tony Adams went close with a header in the 118th minute, but by now the players were readying themselves for the dreaded penalty shoot-out. The England camp appeared more relaxed as Argentina won the toss to take the first kick, which Berti scored and Shearer levelled, but when Seaman saved Crespo's next effort, Roa then did the same to Ince. Veron, Gallardo and Ayala netted for the South Americans and Merson and Owen scored for England, before David Batty stepped up to see his first ever penalty-kick saved by Roa. Argentina go through to the quarter-final where they meet Holland in Marseille on Saturday 4 July at 4.30pm. Meanwhile, England can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they did themselves and their country proud. Not only did they hold one of the best teams in the world to a 2-2 draw, having to play the final 75 minutes with ten men, but they were also involved in the best match witnessed so far at France 98.

(1-0) Batistuta (6, pen). Ortega's floated cross into the area was flicked on by Batistuta to Simeone, who fell theatrically after leaving his foot in when confronted by Seaman, however, the Danish referee had no hesitation but to award a penalty and the Argentines' ace marksman drove home right-footed to the 'keeper's right, with Seaman, guessing the right way, unlucky not to keep the effort out.

(1-1) Shearer (10, pen). Scholes flicked on a header to Owen some 40 yards from goal and the young striker tore towards the Argentine area only to be felled just inside by a block challenge from Ayala, once again the official pointed to the spot and the skipper stepped up to fire his spot-kick high past Roa's right hand into the top corner of the net.

(2-2) Zanetti (45). A free-kick was awarded when Campbell fouled Claudio Lopez 24 yards from goal and with everyone expecting Batistuta to shoot, Veron slid a pass down the side of the wall into Zanetti, who had peeled around the back of the English barrier, he controlled the ball instantly with his right foot before swivelling to fire home left-footed high past Seaman's right hand from 12 yards.

(1-2) Owen (16). He collected a pass brilliantly from Beckham just inside the Argentine half to race away from Chamot and cut across the defender, he then scorched past Ayala after a dummy and a side-step left the second defender flat-footed, before firing home an unstoppable rising drive high past Roa's right hand into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

Penalties
(3-2) (1-0) Berti
(3-3) (1-1) Shearer
(3-3) (1-1) Crespo (saved)
(3-3) (1-1) Ince (saved)
(4-3) (2-1) Veron
(4-4) (2-2) Merson
(5-4) (3-2) Gallardo
(5-5) (3-3) Owen
(6-5) (4-3) Ayala
(6-5) (4-3) Batty (saved)
 
 
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