Overseas Football: Dahlin chips in to deny France

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The Independent Online
SWEDEN and France, joint leaders in World Cup qualifying group six, could not be separated in Stockholm yesterday, though the hosts needed an 88th-minute equaliser from Martin Dahlin to secure a 1-1 draw, writes Clive White.

Sweden, outclassed in midfield for much of the game, had fallen behind to an excellent strike from Franck Sauzee in the 76th minute. The tireless Dahlin saved their necks with a chip from a Jonas Thern pass.

Manchester United's Eric Cantona threatened for France, bringing an excellent first-half save out of Thomas Ravelli. The result left the two sides on 11 points with Bulgaria third on nine points, each from seven games.

In South America's qualifying tournament, Brazil improved their chances of reaching the finals with a 2-0 home win over Ecuador in Sao Paulo last night. Bebeto and Dunga scored either side of half-time.

Two former favourites of the Italian game were on target following their return to their native leagues, Frank Rijkaard scoring two goals in Ajax's

4-1 win over Utrecht and Karlheinz Riedle scoring the first in Borussia Dortmund's 3-2 win over newly-promoted Freiburg.

Dortmund, who were in the hunt for the championship until the final day last season, are one point behind the defending champions, Werder Bremen, who head the Bundesliga on goal difference, and Eintracht Frankfurt - but are in sixth place on goal difference.

Bayern Munich crushed the once- powerful Dynamo Dresden club 5-0 in a match between the two most successful clubs in what was West and East Germany, prior to unification. The defeat left Dynamo bottom while Bayern moved up to fourth.

In the Dutch league, Twente Enschede went second behind Ajax with a 3-1 away win over RKC Waalwijk, while last season's runners-up, PSV Eindhoven, won 3-0 at home to Go Ahead Eagles Deventer.

Benfica, though strapped for cash, were good value in a 3-3 away draw with Porto, the defending champions, leading twice in the match. Sporting, coached by Bobby Robson, began their quest to win the championship for the first time in 11 years with a 2-1 win against Salgueiros.

Five out of nine matches in the Greek league had to be postponed due to a strike by referees over a decision to cut the maximum age from 43 to 40.