Football World Cup: Davids' slingshot decisive
Netherlands 2 Bergkamp 38, Davids 90 Yugoslavia 1 Komljenovic 49 Att: 36,500
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."
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Gareth Bale puts five-bedroom Essex mansion up for sale at £2.2m following £86m switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid
Former England captain Mick Mills 'turned a blind eye' to initiation ceremony abuse at Stoke City, which included sexual assault dubbed 'The Glove'
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...