Football World Cup: Davids' slingshot decisive

Netherlands 2 Bergkamp 38, Davids 90 Yugoslavia 1 Komljenovic 49 Att: 36,500

EDGAR DAVIDS, who returned from a self-inflicted two-year exile from international football just in time for the World Cup, scored with a stunning left-footed drive two minutes into injury time here last night to take the Netherlands through to their second consecutive World Cup quarter-final. Yugoslavia paid the price for sacrificing adventure in favour of caution, and the Dutch now move on to Marseilles, where they await the winners of tonight's match between England and Argentina.

This was an eagerly anticipated second-round contest between two European sides with fine footballing traditions, but Slobodan Santrac's decision to play Predrag Mijatovic as a lone striker and pack his midfield and defence, either in the hope of stealing a decisive goal on the break or winning on penalties, left Yugoslavia playing a dangerous and disappointingly negative game.

By contrast the Dutch, whose fans remained in the Stade Municipal long after the final whistle to savour the ultimate drama of their victory, know only one way to play and although they have struggled to recapture their halcyon days of the 1970s they have rarely failed to entertain. One exception to that rule was of course Euro 96, when the political in- fighting and back-biting that has frequently undermined their cause reached an all-time low and Davids walked out, not to return until now. After Euro 96 an unhappy spell with Milan, where he broke a leg, was followed by a move to Juventus in January of this year. The form he showed there transformed the Turin club's season and, after settling his differences with Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, his recall to the national side became a formality.

But it was Dennis Bergkamp, undoubtedly one of the players of the tournament so far, who made the first inroads with a shot that Ivica Kralj scrambled away for a corner and a minute later Marc Overmars, tightly marked by Zoran Mirkovic, managed to reach the byline and crossed low, but Phillip Cocu could not quite make the right contact. Cocu and Ronald de Boer then combined skillfully to set up the increasingly influential Clarence Seedorf for a shot that again had Kralj in trouble.

Seedorf's subsequent cross for Cocu's header over the bar proved to be the prelude to the Dutch breakthrough seven minutes before half-time. Frank de Boer hit a hopeful long ball out of defence for Bergkamp to chase but Mirkovic was the favourite to reach it first. Bergkamp, though, muscled the defender aside with a shoulder charge and his near-post shot went through Kralj's hands.

Within three minutes of the restart though, the Yugoslavs were back on level terms as the unmarked Slobodan Komljenovic headed home at the far post from Dragan Stojkovic's free-kick, and two minutes later the match was almost completely turned on its head with a penalty awarded by the referee, Snr Garcia Aranda, against Jaap Stam after Vladimir Jugovic had attempted to go past Manchester United's new recruit. As Stam was holding Jugovic's jersey the decision was technically correct, but it surprised even the Yugoslavs. Mijatovic, however, crashed the spot-kick against the bar. That was the first penalty to be missed at a World Cup finals, other than in shoot-outs, since Enzo Scifo for Belgium against Spain at Italia 90.

The game briefly turned sour in the immediate aftermath of the penalty and Bergkamp was fortunate that the Spanish referee was not quite so vigilant when the Arsenal striker stepped on Sinisa Mihajlovic in a way that had earned France's Zinedine Zidane a two-match ban earlier in the competition.

The Netherlands, finishing strongly, saw Overmars twice go close. Cocu, too, had a header that flashed wide and a volley that found the back of the net only to be disallowed for dangerous play by Bergkamp.

Thereafter both sides seemed happy to settle for extra time but Davids, seizing on a loose ball 20 yards out, put paid to that. Hiddink later revealed that he had been on the point of withdrawing Davids as he was struggling with a leg injury but, as Hiddink himself said, "it was a happy non-decision to let him go to the end."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum