Young and old
Vieri, Baggio goals help Italy win 2-1, avoid Brazil
Posted: Tuesday September 15, 1998 07:30 PM
Christian Vieri fired his fourth goal of the World Cup and the first goal of the game for Italy David Cannon/Allsport|
ST. DENIS, France (CNN/SI)
cruised into the second round of the World Cup on Tuesday when its youngest
and eldest strikersfound the back of the net early, and the Italians
survived late when Austria scored
a stoppage time goal.
A 2-1 win at the Stade de France -- the site
of the July 12 final -- gave the Italian team first place in Group B,
allowing it to avoid a clash with Group A winner Brazil in the
Italy completed the first round with seven points from
three games, with two wins and one draw.
The Austrians return home
with two draws and one loss to show for their eforts.
Vieri fired his fourth goal of the World Cup when he found the back of the
net, and Roberto Baggio scored the game's second goal and his second of the
tournament, to lift Italy to a hard-fought victory.
strke came in the 49th minute.
Alessandro Del Piero, who had just
been fouled, took a delicate free kick from the left of the penalty area,
and the 23-year-old Vieri climbed high above the Austrian defense to head
powerfully past goalkeeper Michael Konsel.
Del Piero, starting in
his first World Cup match after recovering from a right thigh strain, was
especially targeted by Austrian defenders, aware that the young forward is
the main inspiration in Italy's play.
Fouls on Del Piero cost Peter
Schoettl and Ivica Vastica yellow cards -- and the free kick that led to
Italy's first goal.
In the frantic closing minutes, substitute
Baggio made the score 2-0 before Austria pulled a goal back with a penalty
in the dying seconds.
Austria had scored injury-time equalizers in
the previous matches against Cameroon and
Baggio's goal came in the 90th minute. The 31-year-old striker had tallied
another late goal, on a penalty, in Italy's 2-2 against Chile.
Filippo Inzaghi, another second-half substitute, broke through on the right
as Austria surged forward in search of an equalizer, and crossed to Baggio
who tapped into an open net.
Baggio, playing his third World Cup,
entered the field as a substitute for Del Piero, who was fading after a
Andreas Herzog scored for Austria with a penalty in
the 92nd minute after Hannes Reinmayr had been pulled down, but the goal
was not enough to save Austria from first round elimination.
replaced Del Piero and Vieri in the second half because both looked
extremely tired. It's good to have two great strikers on the substitutes'
bench and have the chance to rotate them," said Italian coach Cesare
Maldini. "I am happy to have avoided Brazil in the next round, but I want
to enjoy our victory and not think too much about the next match."
His son Paolo, the team captain, agreed it was important to qualify as
group winner and avoid a confrontation with Brazil, the defending champion.
"I believe that the Brazilians too are satisfied not to meet Itly too
early," Paolo Maldini said.
Italy's qualification came at a heavy
Defender Alessandro Nesta injured knee ligaments in a fourth
minute clash with Austrian midfielder Heimo Pfeifenberger and is considered
unlikely to play again in the World Cup.
"It's very sad news.
Alessandro [Nesta] will probably not play in the rest of the tournament. A
final decision will be taken after the player undergoes a magnetic
resonance scan in the next 24 hours."
Despite his team's
elimination, Austria coach Herbert Prohaska said his players competed well
throughout the first round.
"We've showed that we had a rightful
place in this tournament," Prohaska said. "Italy showed that it has a very
clever squad, and could wait for counter-attacks."
"We were lacking a
bit of luck. But the Italian defense stood its ground well," Prohaska said.
Goalkeeper Michael Konsel said Austria played its best game in the
World Cup against Italy.
"We would have qualified if we played like
this in the first two games," Konsel said.
Vieri's goal puts him at
the top of the World Cup goalscoring standings, equal with Argentina's
Gabriel Batistuta, with four goals.
Defensive midfielder Gianluca
Pessotto, a surprise starter as replacement for Demetrio Albertini, said he
knew shortly before kick off that he was going to play.
"I had no
time to get emotional about that," he explained.
Italy: Gianluca Pagliuca; Alessandro Nesta (Guiseppe Bergomi, 4th),
Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Costacurta, Francesco Moriero,
Dino Baggio, Luigi Di Biagio, Gianluca Pessotto, Christian Vieri (Filippo
Inzaghi, 60th), Alessandro Del Piero (Roberto Baggio, 73rd).
Austria: Michael Konsel; Anton Pfeffer, Wolfgang Feiersinger, Peter
Schoettel, Dietmar Kuehbauer (Peter Stoger, 74th), Roman Maehlich, Heimo
Pfeifenberger (Andreas Herzog, 79th), Arnold Wetl, Ivica Vastic, Hannes
Reinmayr, Anton Polster (Mario Haas, 62nd).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.