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."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam