Football: Analysis of today's action

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The Independent Online

NOT everything in the German World Cup machine performed with the expected typical Teutonic efficiency in Parc des Princes on Monday. Oliver Bierhoff was not exactly useless against the US but der neue Bomber was not exactly in the Gerd Muller class either. The target man, who topped the Serie A scoring charts (ahead of, respectively, Ronaldo, Roberto Baggio and Del Piero), not only fired blanks but shot them invariably wide. It was Jurgen Klinsmann, rather than the Milan-bound pounds 7.5m man, who was the most striking German asset. Bierhoff will be under the microscope in Lens, with Ulf Kirsten pressing for a place after becoming the third man (following Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge) to collect the silver cannon as top goal-shooter in the Bundesliga for a third time. Yugoslavia will be under pressure too after struggling to beat Iran. Dejan Savicevic could be summoned from the treatment table to provide inspiration, but is unlikely to start.

Probable teams: Germany: Kopke, Thon, Kohler, Worns, Heinrich, Moller, Jeremies, Helmer, Ziege, Klinsmann, Bierhoff.

Yugoslavia: Kralj, Mirkovic, Djorovic, Mihajlovic, Petrovic, Jokanovic, Brnovic, Jugovic, Stojkovic, Mijatovic, Milosevic.

ARGENTINA v JAMAICA (Paris ,4.30pm)

THE Reggae Boyz will have to find some Parisian rhythm or they will preparing for their exodus from France. Ultimately, they were more like World Cup whipping boys in Lens last Sunday, though they did have their moments. Robbie Earle's headed equaliser, worthy of a World Cup stage, was the most memorable of them. But the Womble and his international colleagues will have to produce something more sustained if Argentina show the kind of form that made them pre-tournament favourites in many eyes. Daniel Passarella's team looked nothing like potential World Cup winners against Japan. Their opening performance was summed up when Ariel Ortega missed his lines in injury time with with the wildest of swings at a sitter. Ortega played more like Madonna than Maradona in the blue and white No 10 shirt. He should be more into the groove this afternoon.

Probable teams: Argentina: Roa; Sensini, Ayala, Chamot; Zanetti, Almeyda, Veron, Ortega, Simeone; Batistuta, Lopez

Jamaica: Barrett; Sinclair, Lowe, Goodison; Whitmore, Earle, Cargill, Simpson, Gardner; Hall, Burton.

USA v IRAN (Lyons, 8pm)

It was Mr Blair - Eric Blair, that is, under his Orwellian nome de plume - who famously suggested that sport was "war minus the shooting". He might have had in mind sporting battles like tonight's in Lyons, though there will, of course, be shooting of sorts in the Stade de Gerland. It may be of the powder puff variety if the USA and Iran repeat the less than deadly finishing they produced in their respective opening games. Iran, at least, threatened in their 1-0 defeat against Yugoslavia. They played with some assurance too - unlike the USA, who made little impression against Germany at Parc des Princes. Iran, moreover, will have a nation behind them. In postponing the trial of the mayor of Tehran, who has been accused of corruption, a judge said: "It will allow the population to follow this sensitive and important match." The population of the United States would hardly notice if the World Cup was postponed.

Probable teams: United States: Keller; Pope, Regis, Dooley, Hejduk, Jones, Maisonneuve, Reyna, Ramos, Wynalda, Wegerle.

Iran: Abedzadeh; Khakpour, Pashazadeh, Zarincheh, Mahdavikia, Bagheri, Estili, Mohammadkhani, Minavand Chal, Daei, Azizi.

Leading scorers


Marcelo Salas (Chile)

Christian Vieri (Italy)

Thierry Henry (France)


Luis Hernandez (Mexico)

Davor Suker (Croatia)

Marc Wilmots (Belgium)