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Dutch thriller

Bergkamp scores in 90th minute to lead the Netherlands to victory

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Posted: Wednesday September 16, 1998 05:34 PM

  Bergkamp's late goal pushed the Netherlands into the semifinals Ben Radford/Allsport

MARSEILLE, France (CNN/SI) -- It may have been the goal of the tournament. Without a doubt, it was a goal Argentines and Dutch fans will remember for years to come.

Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp hooked up with teammate Frank de Boer for the game-winning score with just 32 seconds left in regulation to beat Argentina 2-1 and send the Netherlands into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 20 years.

De Boer's pass of about 60 yards in the air hit Bergkamp in stride just two minutes after Argentina's Ariel Ortega had been ejected for headbutting the Dutch goalkeeper.

Bergkamp deftly brought the ball down, made a nifty move around defender Roberto Ayala in the penalty box and put home a right-footed shot for the victory.

"You can't imagine a goal like that," Bergkamp said. "It just happens.

"I thought as the ball was coming I had a chance for it. It was sent to me in just the right place. Frank saw it fantastically."

It was the second straight time the Dutch won in the final moments. Edgar Davids beat Yugoslavia with a goal in extra time to set up this rematch of the 1978 final, won by Argentina in Buenos Aires.

Now comes Brazil, the defending and four-time champion, on Tuesday in Marseille. Is there some more Dutch magic left?

"Let them come," said Bergkamp, finally healed from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for six weeks. He became the Netherlands' career international scoring leader with his 36th goal.

The game seemed to turn in Argentina's favor in the 78th minute when Arthur Numan was ejected with his second yellow card of the match. His hard tackle from the side on Diego Simeone gave the Argentines a manpower edge.

But just as against England in the second round -- a victory in a penalty kick shootout -- they did not handle it well.

"We were tired at that point in the game," said coach Daniel Passarella, who captained Argentina to the 3-1 victory over the Netherlands in '78. "We did not respond."

And when playmaker Ortega drew a red card for headbutting Edwin van der Sar, who added some convincing theatrics, the sides were even again.

Bergkamp, one of the world's greatest scorers, and de Boer did the rest for yet another fantastic finish.

"It's all about luck as well as finishing," Bergkamp said. "You have got to have those moments."

The toll from the exhausting match with England on Tuesday might have made a difference for the Argentine players, who left the stadium with long faces and without talking to reporters.

"I believe our team made a strong showing in the World Cup," Passarella said. "But we were fatigued in the second half. Holland had one more day to prepare than we did, and our players felt the fatigue from the England game."

Passarella would not criticize Ortega, who was incensed he did not get a penalty kick after defender Jaap Stam appeared to trip him.

"I must see the play again," he said.

With waves of orange and blue everywhere, the Velodrome looked as much like Florida Field for a Gators game as it did a World Cup venue. And the orange-clad Dutch fans had the first chance to sigh -- and celebrate.

Wim Jonk hit the right goalpost in the fifth minute. The cheers came seven minutes later on a brilliant three-way passing play from Ronald de Boer to Bergkamp, whose header found Patrick Kluivert wide open in front.

Kluivert, who made headlines for a two-game suspension in the first round for elbowing an opponent, beat on-charging goalkeeper Carlos Roa.

But Argentina struck back six minutes later with another superb pass, from Juan Veron to Claudio Lopez behind the defense. Lopez faked out van der Sar and shot the ball between the goalkeeper's legs to tie it.

Roa, the hero of the win over England, punched out shots by Davids and Jonk, while van der Sar was helped by the post, which Ortega hit with a 35-yard rocket.

 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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