They think it's all started. It has now ...with defeat for brave- hearted Scots

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The Independent Online
GALLANTRY in defeat, sporadic brilliance in victory, the reputations of both sides survived the ceremonial opening to France 98 in front of a crowd of 80,000 at the high-tec Stade de France and an estimated global village of 500 million.

An own-goal by Tom Boyd, the Scottish full-back, 17 minutes from time, proved decisive after John Collins had equalised Cesar Sampaio's early header from a penalty in the first half.

"I didn't know a thing about it," Boyd said after Brazil's 2-1 victory. "But this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in football."

The only glitches in an otherwise flawless occasion came from the kilted section of the crowd at the brand new pounds 60m stadium. The Scots jeered loudly as Joao Havelange, the outgoing president of Fifa, football's governing body, made the official speech of welcome. A reaction to the limited number of tickets put on sale. The French president Jacques Chirac completed the verbal cutting of the tape moments before the start of the 33-day "fete de football", the biggest sporting spectacular in history.

The discordant sound of the samba drums and the bagpipes could be heard on the concourse of the stadium fully two hours before the scheduled kick- off. After four years, two hours was nothing. But security arrangements were predictably tight. All baggage was searched, all spectators frisked. The opening ceremony began with a radio-controlled football, vainly pursued by five ball boys, symbolising the freedom of the game, and ended with 32 trapeze artists from the Fratellini Circus School in Paris unfurling the flags of the 32 nations.

Scotland, who have never qualified for the second phase of the World Cup, now move on to Bordeaux to play Norway on Tuesday, needing to win or draw. Two down, 62 matches to go.

In Glasgow and Rio, page 3

Sport, page 32

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