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World Cup
Finals
 
7 July 1998 Marseille - Stade Velodrome
Brazil Netherlands
After extra time and penalties.
Champions Brazil will defend their World Cup title in the Stade de France on Sunday, against France or Croatia, following tonight's breathtaking 4-2 penalty shoot-out semi-final win over Holland in Marseille. Brazilian 'keeper Taffarel saved the third and fourth spot-kicks from Dutchmen Philip Cocu and Ronald de Boer to send the samba fans wild, whilst the Dutch were left ruing a number of missed chances. The two top-scoring teams in the competition met in what was billed as the classic confrontation between attack-minded nations, and after a rather cagey opening 45 minutes, with just the one attempt on target, the contest exploded into action. A minute after the interval Ronaldo gave the South Americans the lead they looked like holding until Patrick Kluivert levelled with just three minutes remaining to send an enthralling match into golden goal sudden death extra-time and the eventual dreaded shoot-out. It was evident early on that neither side would be throwing too much caution to the wind, with a number of tactical battles providing fascinating action all over the pitch. Mario Zagallo introduced Ze Carlos in place of the suspended Cafu as right wing-back and the debutante was singled out as a weakness by the Dutch, who concentrated most of their attacks down the left with Boudewijn Zenden and Cocu. While Roberto Carlos was given special attention down the Dutch right with Michael Reiziger and Ronald de Boer doubling up on the flying left wing-back. Dennis Bergkamp sent a 20-yard chip just over Taffarel's crossbar after just three minutes as the first 15 minutes saw both sides approach this semi-final with total respect for each other. With Ronaldo and Bebeto superbly shackled by Jaap Stam and the outstanding Frank de Boer the Brazilians were struggling to find their normal fluency, and similarly the Dutch, with Bergkamp anonymous, failed to create any real opportunities until the 29th minute. Cocu and Zenden combined down the left with the latter's inviting delivery met by the head of Kluivert, who will be disappointed not to have hit the target from eight yards as his effort sailed inches over the Brazilian bar. Apart from a couple of typical long-range efforts from Roberto Carlos, of which a ludicrous 45-yard free-kick attempt on 44 minutes needed saving by van der Sar, Brazil had been very disappointing in attack and another Kluivert header shaved their crossbar right on the stroke of half-time. The Dutch were caught napping just seconds after the interval when Ronaldo escaped the clutches of his markers to open the scoring with a low left-footed shot through the legs of Edwin van der Sar, for his 29th goal in 43 amazing appearances. Holland now had to play to create themselves, and the old cliche that the 'game had needed a goal' was never more true, as they immediately went close to grabbing the equaliser. Wim Jonk's corner from the left was whipped in right-footed and Kluivert's glancing header was met by Frank de Boer at the far post but somehow Taffarel kept out his point-blank shot as Brazil scrambled the danger away. It was end-to-end entertainment of the highest quality and Ronaldo demonstrated astounding pace to latch onto a one-two with Bebeto with van der Sar smothering bravely, whilst Kluivert continued his one-man mission, going close with another header and a left-foot shot. On 73 minutes Ronaldo looked sure to end the game as a contest when racing clear onto a throughball from substitute Denilson only to be denied by a wonderful last-ditch tackle by Edgar Davids with the ball trickling agonisingly wide. Rivaldo then had a chance to sew it up following Denilson's mesmerising run and dribble but van der Sar produced another outstanding stop, before Kluivert again fired wastefully over from substitute van Hooijdonk's measured low cross with ten minutes remaining. However, just five minutes later the Dutch striker, Kluivert, finally and deservedly headed home the equaliser from a quality cross from Ronald de Boer, to take this intriguing match into golden goal extra time. Although the Dutch did appeal in vain for a controversial last-minute penalty when van Hooijdonk went down in the area, only to be booked for diving. Far from sitting back and waiting for the agony of the shoot-outs, both sides were positive during the two sudden death periods with chances at both ends. Ronaldo saw his overhead-kick cleared off the line before van der Sar produced a fantastic diving save to deny the brilliant 21-year-old, whilst van Hooijdonk tested Taffarel with a 35-yard free-kick and Kluivert's left-footed volley scraped the paint off a post with the 'keeper beaten. Brazil were first up in the shoot-out with Ronaldo firing high into the net and the next four kicks were all successful, with Frank de Boer and Bergkamp scoring for Holland and Rivaldo and Emerson putting the world champions 3-2 ahead, before Cocu and Ronald de Boer's failures sandwiched a strike from Dunga. The stage is now set for the World Cup Final on Sunday evening with Brazil aiming to lift the trophy for the fifth time, whilst the winners of France and Croatia will be making their first ever appearance in the Final.

(1-0) Ronaldo (46). .

(1-1) Kluivert (87). .

Penalties
(2-1) (1-0) Ronaldo (2-2) (1-1) de Boer, F
(3-2) (2-1) Rivaldo (3-3) (2-2) Bergkamp
(4-3) (3-2) Emerson (4-3) (3-2) Cocu (saved)
(5-3) (4-2) Dunga (5-3) (4-2) de Boer, R (saved)
 
 
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