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World Cup
4 July 1998 Marseille - Stade Velodrome
Netherlands Argentina
In a match filled with the customary drama and excitement one might expect of a World Cup Quarter-Final, Holland booked their place in the semis, by virtue of overcoming Argentina in the match of the tournament so far. The Dutch looked superb on the attack as they eased past England's South American conquerers with a 2-1 win in Marseilles. However, whether they will be able to achieve the same outcome when they face defending champions Brazil next week is uncertain with the Dutch still not performing to the best of their ability. Holland attacked straight from the kick-off, eager to show that Overmars would not be missed from the starting side, and they came desperately close to opening the scoring after only four minutes. Cocu's cross was deflected into the path of Wim Jonk, but his shot cracked off the post. Given their enterprising start, it was little surprise that the Dutch made the early breakthrough with the recalled Kluivert showing coolness in the finish. Their lead was short lived with Argentina equalising through Lopez. With the game returned to equality, Holland's passing play was an entertaining contrast to Argentina's reliance on balls over the defence for the running of Batistuta, Lopez and Ortega and with both styles proving to cancel the other out, long range efforts appeared to be the only way of testing the 'keeper. Edgar Davids certainly seemed keen to repeat his winner against Yugoslavia and produced two fine opportunities on goal. In 25 minutes a forceful run and shot saw Davids shoot just past the post and then minutes later the midfielder had a 25 yarder palmed away by Carlos Roa. The Argentinian 'keeper beat away a Jonk long range drive as the Dutch pressed in numbers but the South Americans finished the half the stronger and were unlucky not to take the lead. Dangerman Ariel Ortega unleashed a stunning 30 yard snap-shot which rebounded off the right hand post with van der Saar beaten and then on the stroke of half time, captain Diego Simeone curled an effort just over. The second half was never likely to match the poace and passion of the first, and the Dutch dominated possession with Argentina content to hit on the counterattack. Argentina nearly scored on the break just after the hour mark but the woodwork denied the World Cup's leading scorer Gabriel Batistuta. From Veron's slide-rule pass, Batistuta took one touch past Frank De Boer and watched agonisigly as his effort clipped off the foot of the post. Holland introduced a half-fit Marc Overmars as they tried to find the winner, and the winger made an instant impact, providing an inch perfect cross for Patrick Kluivert but Roa was equal to his effort and superbly touched his header over the bar. The sending off of Arthur Numan appeared to swing the game in Argentina's favour but then the dismissal of Ortega gave Holland fresh hope, and Dennis Bergkamp duly delivered with the last minute winner.

(1-0) Kluivert (12). A superb three man move started with a Ronald de Boer run deep into the Argentinian half, he then hit the ball to Bergkamp on the edge of the box. Bergkamp headed the ball into the path of a strong run from Kluivert who hit a right foot shot from ten yards past the advancing Roa.

(1-1) Lopez (18). Argentina gained possession on the half-way line and the ball was played to Veron, inside the Dutch half. Veron played a low ball through the flat back four which Lopez ran on to at the edge of the penalty area with only the advancing keeper to beat. On the edge of the six yard box Lopez dummied Van der Sar and hit the ball with his left foot through the 'keepers legs.

(2-1) Bergkamp (89). Frank de Boer gained possession in his own penalty area and brought the ball out, unchallenged, to near the centre circle. He played a long high ball which Bergkamp brought down and controlled with his right foot on the edge of the area. Bergkamp ran on it the box and with a third touch of his right foot he hit a fierce rising, cross goal, shot in to the roof of the net past Roa's despairing dive.

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