Football: Africa's early Cup win

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The Independent Online
Africa emerged as the biggest winners when Fifa allocated the places for the 1998 World Cup finals yesterday. The governing body of football decided at a meeting in New York that the African representation should go up from the three teams it had in this summer's tournament to five.

Fifa was able to distribute extra places because the number of teams at the 1998 finals onlywill go up from 24 to 32. Europe was also awarded two extra places (going up from 12 to 14), as was Asia-Oceania. An extra place each went to South America and the Concacaf countries.

Issa Hayatou, the president of the African Football Confederation, was jubilant. 'It's a great day for Africa,' he said. 'Nobody would have imagined such a result two months ago.'

Fifa also announced that three points for a win is to become standard scoring in every league and competition around the world. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa general-secretary, made it clear that leagues would not be required to change their scoring system in mid-season but added: 'Three points will be universal and binding for everybody when a new season starts.'

Blatter also said that sudden-death extra time would take place before any penalty shoot-out to determine a winner in later rounds of international championships when teams are level after 90 minutes.

---------------------------------------------------------------- 1998 WORLD CUP FINALISTS ---------------------------------------------------------------- Brazil. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . holders France. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . hosts Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 teams Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 teams South America. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 teams Asia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 or 4 teams* Oceania. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 or 0 teams* Concacaf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 teams ---------------------------------------------------------------- * subject to a play-off ----------------------------------------------------------------

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