And yet you both forgot New Zealand. Poor Kiwis, no matter what TL they are in they're always left forgotten about.
No, I didn't forget them. I thought they would rely on their ANZAC spirit and trust in their Aussie neighbours...😁

Northern Ireland quietly sobs in the background, forgotten by Kurt, in favour of Canada.
Do you want me to get bombed by the IRA? No sir, not me... x'D
 
1998 FIFA World Cup Seeding and Group Stage
1998 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 1


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After the excitement of the 1994 World Cup, many wonder just what nation might've been suitable to host the final edition before the end of the century. It was then decided that the World Cup would return to Europe for the 1998 World Cup and it would be France that would host, the country of origin which had first come up with the idea of the World Cup.

As always, the 32 teams were seeded though it was quite interesting that following Nigeria's brave run in 1994 [1] that it would be the first time an African team would be seeded and speaking of Africa, following their run during that World Cup, it was decided that a firth spot would be given for African teams via a play off with the runner-up in the OFC Section which would turn out to be New Zealand and the African team who would face them with the lowest points tally in qualification would be South Africa [2].

South Africa would defeat the Kiwis and qualify for their first ever World Cup. Speaking of debuts, this was the tournament in which saw Jamaica make it's first appearance and some pointed out that had the likes of Canada, New Zealand and Northern Ireland had qualified, then it would be almost nearly many members of the Commonwealth playing at a World Cup together [3] though the idea would be floated around to introduce football for the Commonwealth games, hopefully for 2002 games in Manchester but that remains to be seen...[4]

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The drawn teams for the 1998 World Cup
The inclusion of Nigeria among the seeded teams did bring with it a number of problems of ranked teams, largely those that came from the Spanish, Yugoslavian and Welsh football associations who felt they should've been placed in a high ranked position. As with most FIFA controversies, these were ignored and nonetheless the final draw took place and it would be on June 10th that the games began...

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The opening match would be the World Champions, Italy, taking on Norway in a game that perhaps to not many people's surprise, Italy won [5] with Columbia later on that day also claiming victory in their game over Jamaica who would sadly end up being the whipping boys of the group. Italy would end up winning all their group games getting a perfect score and looked set for was hopefully a good chance of defending the cup.

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Italy vs Norway in the opening group game of the 1998 World Cup
Going into second place would be Columbia who would finish a comfortable three points ahead of Norway, though it was in the last game that the South Americans faced them in a winner takes all game and the match would be won by a penalty from Columbia that would be enough to send them through. No one knew how well Columbia could go far in this World Cup though it was an improvement over the last time...

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Final results of Group A at the 1998 World Cup

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The former hosts of the last World Cup, Argentina, would find themselves in a good group in which featured Austria, Scotland and Saudi Arabia. Like with Italy, Argentina would get full points by winning all their group games and it would be the battle for second place that would be the real focus of interest in which Scotland and Austria would fight it out to try and progress to the second round, though it would not be a good start for either of them. Austria would be get beaten in their opening game with Argentina though Scotland arguably had it worst as they could only draw with Saudi Arabia in what was looked on as one of the most embarrassing Scottish performances ever with the blame being set on the advance age of the Scotland team [6].

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Live Fox broadcast of Scotland vs Austria
It would be Scotland that would snatch the second place spot just a point ahead of the Austrians though there still be many Scottish supporters who felt the team had been poor and perhaps didn't deserve to be in that position. With all that said, some felt that Scotland might pick up in the second round while for Argentina, there was much to be expected of what was quite a young and positive team that many felt had a chance...

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Final results of Group B of the 1998 World Cup

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The host nation would be placed in what they felt was quite a soft group to get out from with only Denmark being the one team that looked as if they could trouble them and that would certainly be a thing in which France could only draw with the Danes in their opening game [7] though the hosts would make amends by winning all their next group games to ultimately win the group to progress to the second round.

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Though Denmark would join the French in the next round, they nearly didn't make it in which they found themselves 2-0 down to Japan in their final group and looked like they were going to make a shock exit. However they would rally round to make the game and tie and thus had what they needed to go through and Japanese hearts everywhere were crushed. Away from this, France knew a lot of pressure would be one their shoulders to win the cup in their backyard. Could they do it...?

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Final Group C results of the 1998 World Cup

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Group D was quite an unusual one in which not many knew how it was going to shape out in which it featured three quite fancied teams in the likes of Spain, Iran, Nigeria and Australia, though it was the African side that many wanted to see complete their heroics from before and they would do that in dramatic style when they defeated Spain in their opening match. Despite winning the group in the end, Nigeria could only draw their following group games and it would turn out that Group D would be the tightest as many results didn't go the way many thought they would.

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Australia vs Iran in their opening match
It would end up being a shock that after many World Cups that had saw Australia reach the second round constantly since 1970, they would miss out on the last 16 by finishing a point behind Spain and this was without Australia losing a single game, though all three games ended in draws and left a nation stunned and angry at how this had happened with many saying the first game with Iran which ended in a draw [8] was to blame. Speaking of which, Iran would end up not doing too badly and might've even gone through to the last 16 for the first time had they beaten Nigeria. Alas, Group D was without shadow of a doubt a truly fascinating Group.

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Final Group results of Group D at the 1998 World Cup

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Group E would be pretty much Group E for England mainly as they would end up winning all their group games and it seems that they were on a high following their Euro '96 victory at home [9] as well as being a large contrast to the poor show in Argentina in 1994. However the surprise team to join England into the next round would be Tunisia who seemed to invoke the spirit of 1978 [10] and did more than enough to go through. Both Paraguay and Czechoslovakia [11] would be flops despite some putting bets on them going through.

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England vs Tunisia at the 1998 World Cup
While it did raise a few eyebrows seeing Tunisia progress, some in FIFA felt that it was justified showing that having a fifth African team was indeed worth the change and with the addition of a fifth African team in the World Cup seemed to only increase hopes among many on the African continent that it wouldn't be long until an African side would win the World Cup...

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Final Group E results of the 1998 World Cup

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In typical World Cup hype fashion, Brazil went into this tournament as favourites to win and would show the world that they meant business in which they blew away all their opponents to win all three group games. While Brazil going through was pretty much a foregone conclusion, Romania and Morocco both hoped to join Brazil in the next round, but in the end they would end up having a disappointing experience in which neither of them got through.

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Live Broadcast of Brazil vs Morocco
The team that would end up joining Brazil would be none other than Mexico. For a team that loved it's football, they had greatly underperformed since reaching the final in their own backyard many years ago and many felt that they were due for some sort of success here by making the second round and maybe actually be a dark horse for this World Cup. In the meantime however, many eyes would be on Brazil and seeing how they might do...

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Final results of Group F of the 1998 World Cup

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Group G might've been joked to be G for Germany, however this group would end up being perhaps the most tightest group of the lot as it would be something of a group of death featuring Germany, Yugoslavia and Cameroon with poor South Korea looking set to be the whipping boys and whom ended up with zero points in the end. However when Germany could only draw with Yugoslavia [12] in their opening match [13], the group seemed to turn on it's head.

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Germany vs Yugoslavia in their opening match
The Germans, Yugoslavs and Cameroonians would all get a victory and two draws between them which meant all three ended up on five points each and it would be settled by goal difference in Yugoslavia ended up winning the group and Cameroon would sneak into second place to deny the Germans a place in the second round which proved to be another shock in itself. Many though would say this German team was very poor and would be part of a transitional period for the national side [14] while for the other two, their World Cup adventure was just starting...

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Final Group G results of the 1998 World Cup

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The final group would see the Dutch grouped with Wales, United States and Chile, though it would be quite a tight group in itself. The Dutch got off to a good start by beating the United States 1-0 while Chile would get the better of the Welsh in their game. However the next games would make things rather crazy in which a pumped up United States shocked Chile while Wales held the Dutch to a 0-0 draw. How was this group going to end up like?

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Wales vs Netherlands in their second group game
The final group games would see the Dutch defeat Chile 2-0 and the Welsh would defeat the Americans 1-0 which was more than enough to see them both go through to the next round while the United States and Chile were left hugely disappointed that neither of them could see them both go through and would now have to look for next time to see it either could go one step better than this time. For the Dutch and Welsh, they were on their way.

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Final results of Group H of the 1998 World Cup
With the 16 teams now in place and the number of shock results that had seen who had gone through, the question would be how many more shocks were to follow here? Time would tell in France...

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  • [1] Look back ITTL's 1994.
  • [2] As what so happened to be in OTL qualification.
  • [3] As some of you members have pointed out! ;)
  • [4] With football being more popular here than IOTL, who would like to see that for TTL's Commonwealth games?
  • [5] As with OTL result.
  • [6] The Scotland team was the oldest team at the 1998 World Cup and got the nickname 'Dad's Army' for good reason.
  • [7] Unlike in OTL in which the French beat them.
  • [8] As what happened in the first leg of OTL play off
  • [9] England win Euro '96 here.
  • [10] Check back on TTL's 1978.
  • [11] So yeah, Czechoslovakia hasn't broken up here due to the 'velvet divorce' being pushed back and eventually falling apart due to the EU only allowing a single entry to enter to to influx of former Soviet countries which they reluctantly accept.
  • [12] Yugoslavia is still together here though that means Croatia are butterflied away here I'm afraid to say sadly.
  • [13] As with OTL.
  • [14] That Germany team was rather poor if you remember, does worse here.

So here we are with 1998 and hopefully you are liking some of the results here. As always, our next set of fixtures:
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Italy vs Scotland

Nigeria vs Denmark

England vs Mexico

Argentina vs Cameroon

Netherlands vs Columbia

France vs Spain

Brazil vs Tunisia

Yugoslavia vs Wales
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So who and why do you think your teams might do well? Until then, stay safe!



 
Italy vs Scotland

Nigeria vs Denmark

England vs Mexico

Argentina vs Cameroon

Netherlands vs Columbia

France vs Spain

Brazil vs Tunisia

Yugoslavia vs Wales
 
1998 FIFA World Cup Last 16
1998 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 2

The opening last 16 game would be with the world champions taking on Scotland [1] and the game itself was pretty much an easier bet to say the Italians were going to win and there wasn't very much to say that right from the start, Italy utterly pulled apart Scotland's aged team with no one having to wait long until Italy opened the scoring in the 18th minute which would remain that way until the end of the first half.

Scotland however at the start of the second did have a chance to equalise through a penalty but the penalty taker, John Collins, made a mess of the kick in which he saw his shot save and Italy would begin to regain their domination of the match in which it would take until the 59th minute in which Italy scored yet again to leave the Scots a mountain to climb.

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Will Scotland get back into the game?
There was nothing else that Scotland could do as Italy would then pull their men back to shut out the Scots which stopped them from scoring and in the end the score was what many expected and there would be no heroics for Scotland like last time and instead they would make the next flight home were now a lot of work was going to be needed to help bring in fresh blood to bring the team forward for their hopes of making it to the 2002 finals in Japan [2], would they make it...?

For Italy though, their hopes of defending the cup now looked a bit more hopeful now and who knows if they might be able to use the talent they had in that squad to go on and try and win the World Cup back-to-back?

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Italian joy after the second winning goal

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Following that game, the next game would see the Netherlands take on Columbia, the latter being very happy to make it this far considering their disastrous trip to Argentina last time round [3]. The Dutch though had a lot to prove following a terrible time at Euro '96 [4] and this was a chance to put things right. Columbia would start off quite well yet they failed to use their advantage to score goals which meant only one thing that could happen...

It would be Bergkamp for the Dutch that scored shortly before the break, though his goal was against the run of of play with Columbia looking like the team that throughout the first half was going to break the deadlock. From that moment onwards, Holland began to take control of the game and they would keep the poor Columbians out to score a goal for the rest of the first half.

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The Columbian team prior to their game with the Dutch
Things wouldn't get any better for Columbia despite the fact that the Dutch didn't look like that they had anything left in them to score. As of a result, the second half would end up being quite a strange half in which neither side seemed to find the next goal which would decide the game, however neither side could find it and thus the game would end 1-0 for the Dutch who took great joy and finally getting into the last eight for the first time after many years.

For Columbia, their World Cup adventure was over yet despite how rather anti-climatic it had been, they could take the small bit of joy that they had done better than before and maybe they could use this as a springboard for the next World Cup. For now though, another game done...

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Dutch joy of reaching the last eight

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The following day would see the host make it's appearance in the round of 16 and it would be a big game in which Spain stood in their way and it was so tight that no one could predict just how the game would go, even if France were hosts. The game that followed would be one of the closest matches of that World Cup in which both played a defensive game and clearly didn't want to let in the first goal.

In terms of attacking, there was little to none of that and nothing seemed to happen in either half though Spain did have a penalty claim wrongly refused by the referee which seemed to be the only talking point of the whole game and with that, 90 minutes of play came to an end in which the game would be decided on sudden death with the golden goal [5].

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The Spanish team
Extra time would be really tense as one wrong move would pretty much decide the whole game and no one wanted to mess up. However it would be in the 114th minute that the breakthrough finally happened with Blanc decided to volley a shot from quite far distance and to everyone's amazement, the ball slammed into the back of the net that was all that was needed to give the French the victory to progress.

For Spain, it was a horrid blow and the question of Golden Goal would be brought up if it should really be a thing. For France however, a nation not only breathed a sigh of relief but also joy as they were in the last eight after a long time. Who knows if the hosts could do well on home soil...?

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French joy after beating Spain

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Just after that game would then see Nigeria, the surprise side of the last World Cup, would be taking on a plucky Denmark in which many felt that the African side would get the best of the European side and for good reason. They had done very well in the group and many hoped that going on another run to the last four would be a good way to show the world that their run was no fluke.

However what followed would be total shock in which within 12 minutes, Denmark would take a 2-0 lead and Nigeria were stunned and were totally not expecting this as were likely many more. Nigeria couldn't find a way back into the first half which ended with the Danes holding onto their unlikely lead. Was there a way back for the 4th best ranked team of the World Cup that tournament?

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Denmark vs Nigeria in the last 16 match
If that score line was bad enough for Nigeria, things would go from bad to worse as Denmark went on a rampage to score two further goals to utterly ruin Nigeria and yet despite Nigeria finding a goal in the 78th minute it was nothing more than a consolation goal as Denmark went riding on to book a place in the last eight and to say this was a dramatic fall from grace for the Nigerians would be an understatement [6].

Already though and rather unfairly, the cries of Nigeria's fluke run in 1994 was being called out though it was strange just how much Nigeria had fallen since then. They would have to look at themselves to find out what was needed for 2002. For now though, this was Denmark's time to enjoy the moment...

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Live broadcast of the game

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The following day would see Brazil take on Tunisia and it seemed that from the start, the game would be a foregone conclusion that Brazil would be victorious in this game, though that was what many said when Nigeria went on to play Denmark. This time however there would be no real surprise as Brazil would utterly rout the African side 3-0 in a game that was so comfortable that was nothing to say about it as it was just...well, typical for Brazil.

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Ronaldo celebrates victory that sends Brazil into the last eight
With Tunisia's defeat would mark another African side's dismissal from the World Cup and compared to what had been happening before for African teams before, this was certainly not what many hoped would happen. For Brazil though, it was looking to be business as usual in their hopes to finally get their hands on the cup after all these years. How many times had that been heard before?

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After that game came the turn of England and Mexico to take on each other in what many expected England to take care of the Mexicans. However it wouldn't be quite easy for England as Mexico would make things quite hard for them but this was soon stopped when England won a penalty in which Shearer put it away and England looked to be going on to win it as the first half ended.

However near the start of the second half, Mexico scored to get themselves back into the game which suddenly seemed to turn the game on it's head. However England would regain the lead thanks to Owen in the 69th minute which proved to be more than enough for England as the game would slow down somewhat and it was all that was needed for the victory to take them onwards to take them into the next round.

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England players celebrate after getting the winning goal.
After their Euro '96 victory at home, England now hoped they could add to their triumph with a victory in Paris in a few days time. Though given the quality of teams still left, that idea might look a little bit foolish to some...

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The final day of the round of 16 started with Yugoslavia taking on Wales in a game that saw both teams quite level and it was unsure by many just as to who would win the game and what the final score would be. As expected, the game would be quite a slow one to start of with as both sides spent about the first ten minutes probing each other trying to see who was going to blink first.

No goals would happen in the first half, however it would happen in the second half that the deadlock would be broken in which Yugoslavia scored in the 48th minute and that seemed to wake up the Yugoslavs to try and make more goals, however a plucky Wales defended for their lives yet at the consequence of not being able to score which would see Yugoslavia move onwards to the next round.

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Yugoslavian fans enjoying themselves in Bordeaux
Wales might've been disappointed at the outcome of the final score yet many did say that with the type of squad they had, that they might've overachieved. With that though, Yugoslavia went plodding along into the last eight in which their dark horse nature always made them one to watch out for...

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With Brazil through, no way were their arch rivals Argentina going to let them leave them behind and standing in their way would be the ever present Cameroon who were no stranger to Argentina and now had developed something of a rivalry between the two. However this was quite a fresh Argentina was more than up for the challenge to take care of this Cameroonian side.

They had a bit of luck in which they were awarded a penalty within six minutes which put them in a good place for the first half which would end with them getting another goal in injury time to give them some space going into the second half. However neither could find another goal in the second half which for Argentina was not a real concern to them as the final score was what they needed to be in the last eight.

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Happy Argentine players after getting the early goal
That match itself would be the last game of the round of 16 and with that saw a number of what many considered the usual teams to be this far at this point. Who just knew who would the team to come out on top of the rest of the pack? Still more twists and turns to follow...

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Final results of the Last 16 of the 1998 World Cup

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  • [1] Fun fact, had Scotland won the second place IOTL, they would've faced Italy in the last 16 then.
  • [2] Let's see if they do better here...!
  • [3] Look back on TTL's 1994 WC.
  • [4] Things go worse for them at TTL's Euro 96.
  • [5] As yes, first time we get 'Golden Goal' in TTL!
  • [6] So yes, the game goes about the same as OTL's result.
So here we are, hope you are all doing well as things with me are quite tense with news of what looks like another lockdown looming which does not feel good for my health...but I'll try and not think too much about as here is the next fixtures:
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Italy vs Denmark

Netherlands vs France

England vs Argentina

Brazil vs Yugoslavia
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So wherever you maybe in the world or closer to home, stay safe and hope to hear from you soon. Stay tune for next time.
 
1998 FIFA World Cup Quarter Finals
1998 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 3

The opening match of the Quarter-Finals would pair up France with a very good Dutch team and yet despite the home advantage, it would be the French that would find themselves on the backfoot within 16 minutes of the game as the Dutch took a shock lead and seemed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the French. However Zidane would quickly reply with a goal in the 27th minute that gave much of the home crowd much of a sigh of relief.

The Dutch though never gave up and always gave the French many scares in that first half and looked set to score again, however Zidane would come to France's aid again with another goal that not only came against the run of play but also right in injury time to give the French the lead. At halftime, the Netherlands team walked off wondering how they had let the game slip from their grasp and hoped that things would get better in the second half.

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Zidane leads France in the Quarter-final
The second half would start off in quite explosive fashion in which the Dutch won a penalty in the 52nd minute and looked like they were going to get back into the game, however it would end up being saved and from then on the poor Dutch struggled to find the back of the net as the French began to defend and it would all end up blowing in the face of the Dutch when Petit would score right in the final seconds of the game for France that helped booked their place in the last four and the Dutch were left heartbroken. Despite what the score line might suggest, the game was a lot closer than many would admit and many would ask if France deserved to be there [1]. With that though, the Quarter-finals had began.

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The following match would see the World Champions, Italy, playing against underdogs Denmark and though many would say that Italy had this game in the bag though it would be a shock that Denmark would end up taking the lead within the first two minutes of the match though Italy wouldn't take long to get a goal back within a few minutes and then in the 27th minute, Italy got another goal to complete the turn around which end the first half seeing Italy lead 2-1.

If Italy though thought they were going to get it easy then they were in for a shock as Denmark scored within five minutes of the first half starting and that really gave this game a different edge with Denmark starting to cause many problems for the champions and there would be controversy in the 57th in which Denmark were denied a penalty which should've been given which to top it off a few minutes later would see Italy pop up with another goal that proved to the one needed to win the game for the Italians and onwards to the Semi-finals [2].

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Though the result overall had been something many expected, a good few did give the Danes credit for given the champions a scare and if Italy were going to try and defend their crown, then they would have to do better. With that though, the first two had made it through and the following day would see another two hoping to make it into the Semi-finals.

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The following day would open with rivals England and Argentina taking on each other in what was their first encounter at the World Cup since 1990 [3] and there was a lot riding on this as the prize was a place in the last four. It would be Argentina who would open scoring via a penalty, though incidentally England would get back into the game via a spot kick themselves. However England would then take the lead thanks to a wonder goal from Owen [4] which looked like it was going to help get England to move forward but Argentina would strike at the death of the first half to put the game level.

The second half would be well documented for David Beckham's infamous sending off and the game would see a number of yellow cards being shown and despite all this, neither could find the winning goal though Sol Campbell did have a goal chalked off which might've won the game for England, all in all, the game would end up going into extra time and yet even then neither could find a winner [5]. Penalties it would be then.

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Beckham's sending off
When it came to the spot kicks, it would be Argentina that held their nerve and thus saw them progress to the Semi finals from a game that many would say was one of the great Quarter-final games and this wasn't the first time that England had lost to Argentina on penalties. Beckham would end up being blamed by the English press for England's failure [6] and he would need to prove himself for the future to gain their respect. For now though, they would have to wait another few years...

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Despite being a country gripped with ethic tension, the Yugoslavian football team had been a very welcoming for many and here standing in their way for an unlikely place in the last four was Brazil. Yugoslavia would actually cause some problems by keep their defence tight yet brazil kept pressing the Yugoslavs up the field and it seemed only a matter of time until it was breached and that would happen in the 27th minute with a powerful shot from Rivaldo which gave Brazil the lead.

Despite trying to get more goals, Brazil couldn't seem to break down the Yugoslavs and the first half ended with a slender lead for Brazil. Truth be told Yugoslavia didn't look like scoring themselves with it looking like their main plan was to simply keep Brazil out as best as they could but yet Brazil would get some breathing space in the 60th minute with another goal that was all that was needed to claim victory and their passage into the last four.

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Brazil vs Yugoslavia in the Quarter final
Despite the loss, Yugoslavia hadn't done too badly as it might've been more for Brazil, however no one ever thought that Brazil might be troubled and once again looked like they were going to go all the way to the final. With that final Quarter-final, the last four had made it and now with two teams from Europe and South America each, no one knew exactly who was going to make it...

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Final results of the 1998 Quarter-finals

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  • [1] As with OTL Quarter-final, France struggled in that game like here.
  • [2] The game is the same outcome for Denmark though this time they lose to Italy.
  • [3] From TTL.
  • [4] As with OTL.
  • [5] The game is pretty much the same as OTL Last 16 game.
  • [6] Beckham still is getting abuse ITTL.
So there we are, sorry for the delay, just had work to do and I haven't had time to get this updated. Anyway, here is our last four:
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Italy vs Argentina

Brazil vs France
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So as always, who will go all the way and from 2002 onwards here, should I include a vote for which country should host the World Cup for TTL? Remember, football is more popular here so we can go somewhat off the beaten track here, though FIFA corruption aside...

Until then though, take care and see you soon.
 
1998 FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals
1998 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 4

For the third time in a row at the World Cup, Italy and Argentina would find themselves facing off each other in what was starting to turn into a rivalry between as by this point, both had been knocked out by the other in their respected countries when they were the hosts. This time nobody knew what quite to expect. The first half would prove to be quite a tedious affair in which nothing of note seemed to happen though many would note that Italy looked a little bit better than Argentina due to the latter having played extra-time in their last game.

After a boring first half, things would pick up for the best in the second half when in the 57th minute Di Baggio scored what was at that point a well deserved goal for the Italians and it looked as though Italy might add to their lead, however Argentina didn't give up in one of the strange moment in which the losing time started to play better Argentina were going for it but were running out of time as the game reach it's final five minutes. Then it happened in which Argentina snatched a goal in the 88th minute which now saw the game dragged into extra-time.

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Di Baggio before the goal
Extra-time would prove to be quite an end-to-end affair, a far contrast to the boring first half, though it meant that both side's defence was pretty much non existent as goals looked set to be flying in from all angles. Yet despite this, neither side could find the golden goal that would help them win the match and thus the game would be sorted out on spot kicks. Sadly for Argentina, they were exhausted from playing yet another game of extra time and their final two penalties would ultimately be saved which handed victory to the Italians.

For the champions, the hopes of defending their crown now looked a real possibility and for a nation that for so many years had failed to get into a final, they had managed to pull that off twice on the trot but could they get back-to-back World Cup victories? That would be a thought for another day but for now, a nation celebrated reaching the final while for Argentina, it was heartbreak for them. So close yet so far...

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Argentine players celebrated the goal near the end of the second half that they thought would take them all the way

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The following evening would see the host nation taking on Brazil and although France may have had the home advantage, no one was ever going to doubt that Brazil would roll in and crush the French in their own backyard. A humiliating thought that the French feared would arise in following game. Fears looked to be coming true as right from the get go, Brazil were running circles around the French team with their star man, Ronaldo, showing everyone why he was the talk of the World Cup [1].

However combined with some stubborn defending and a mostly partisan crowd backing the home team, France would keep the Brazilians out from causing them grief though many knew that at the way the game was going, it would only be a matter of time until Brazil would find the opening goal. However they couldn't and the first half ended 0-0 with France breathing a sigh of relief and many of their supporters' nails being bitten off by this point...

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France vs Brazil during the Semi-Final
Although Brazil were still looking the better team, there was a growing feeling starting to be felt throughout the second half that no matter how hard Brazil tried that it wasn't looking to be their day as France started to probe Brazil for weaknesses and it was clear by the end of the second half that with no goals still scored, the South American giants were tired and frustrated of how they hadn't been able to find one goal.

Extra-time was when France really came into their own and the tables were really turned on a stunned Brazil who's bad luck finally came to ahead when Zidane fired in a winning golden goal that sent the hosts to the final [2] and across the nation, many celebrated well into the early hours of the following day and felt that after defeating Brazil, they could do almost anything.

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Zidane's winning golden goal
To say the loss was a horrendous one for Brazil would be an understatement. Their failure to win the World Cup since 1970 was starting to become something of a national crises and many began to wonder if that day would ever come [3]. For the rest of the world though, the end of the 1998 World Cup was near...

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Final results of the 1998 World Cup Semi-Finals

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  • [1] Ronaldo plays better here due to not having his seizure which in turn...
  • [2] France may have beaten Brazil like in OTL, though in a much closer game due to the team not being distracted as what happened on the day of the final.
  • [3] It is starting to look grim for Brazil at this point...will they ever win the World Cup ITTL...?
There we are, not much to say but Italy play France in the final and who knows how that'll end up? Anyway 2002 will be set in Japan though for 2006, would you like to see South Africa host it here and thus see an early change of FIFA's voting system? Until then, see you guys soon...
 
1998 FIFA World Cup Third-Place game and Final
1998 FIFA WORLD CUP
Part 5

Although many had hoped that Argentina and Brazil would face each other in the final, that wasn't to be the case as both had fallen at the Semi-Finals and now they would be play in the Third-Place match in which was in many ways nothing more that a battle for bragging rights. Although both teams were tired from playing extra-time in their last matches [1] both would give everyone there in attendance a thrilling game as what most would expect when these two rivals played each other.

Argentina would take the lead early on on the 17th minute and that goal did stun Brazil for a good period of the first half and Argentina looked like they were going to give Brazil a spanking for goals. However Brazil didn't give in so easily and they would score in the 34th minute which did come from against the run of play which from then it looked as though that it might've stunned Argentina.

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Brazil vs Argentina in Paris
The second half would end up being a more tighter affair as nobody wanted to slip up but in the end it would be Argentina that blinked first as Brazil would take the lead via a free kick that despite Argentina throwing men forward to find an equaliser, it would all come to nothing as that Brazilian goal would ultimately win the match for them and thus claimed the honour of being the third best team in the world [2].

Despite the victory, many in Brazil felt that they were well overdue for a World Cup victory and with Japan just around the corner and the experience they had gained here, surely their time would come at last...?

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Final result of the 1998 Third Place match

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Finally came the day of the final and with the hosts in the final taking on the current World Champions, many were licking their lips at the prospect of what many hoped would be a truly epic World Cup final to end on. However what followed would be in many ways quite a poor games in terms of lack of goals in which France started off well for chances yet failed to use them to score. Italy would be no better and it was clear that playing extra time in their last games had done either any favours.

There were many attempts in the first half to get the opening goal with perhaps the best falling to France right at the death of the first half yet like so many chances before, they couldn't seem to get the breakthrough and from that, the first half ended 0-0 which depending on who you asked was either a tense or boring affair. Truly no one had a clue as to who would come out on top...

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France vs Italy in teh Final, note the French playing in their away colours
The second half would be much like the first...no one had any luck in the second half in trying to find the goal that increasingly was looking like would be the winning goal to whoever would get it. With neither getting the goal in 90 minutes, extra time loomed in which surely then someone would get the goal and it was in Extra time in which Baggio nearly gave Italy a stunning golden goal via a volley but it sadly just went wide of the post [3]. It was the best chance of the game and with no goals scored, it would the first time a World Cup final would be sorted out be penalty kicks [4].

Neither side had really done that good on spot kicks, especially Italy who despite bosting a number of good players had never won a shoot out in a World Cup though the French could claim to have one victory in 1982 which had sent them to the final then [5]. In the end, it would be the hosts that held their nerve by winning the shootout 4-3 [6] and at last, the nation that had invented the World Cup had finally won it themselves.

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French joy at winning their first World Cup in their backyard
The celebrations went on for a few days after that across the nation and while some would claim that it wasn't the greatest final that had been seen, try telling that to the host nation who had now entered the elite of world football. However as a century ended, a new and more global one was about to emerge as the next World cup would be hosted for the first time in Asia.

By the time the World cup returned, a brave new world would soon be here...

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Final result of the 1998 final

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Final results of the 1998 World Cup knockout stage


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  • [1] Look back on TTL's Semi-Finals.
  • [2] Unlike IOTL in which they became only the second best team in the world, plus Ronaldo doesn't have a seizure here due to that happening a day later on the final.
  • [3] Baggio misses that golden goal like in OTL, what an amazing goal to win on had it gone in...
  • [4] The first IOTL as we all know was 1994.
  • [5] Look back on TTL's 1982 WC
  • [6] So yeah, the OTL Quarter-Final becomes TTL's Final here.
There we are then, 1998 is done and with that...not sure what else to say here. Anyway it'll be Japan 2002 next and expect some results to be not so...controversial here. Hope you enjoyed the TL so far and I'd be happy to hear from anyone here what else you want to know what else has happened football wise by the time we get to 2002. Anyway here are the teams lined up for 2002 as follows...

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Who will go all the way here and who should get better compared to what happened to several teams if you remember? Until then though, catch you guys later!
 
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