World Cup soccer-and in the semi-final round of group two, on Sunday night (18 June), Brazil held Argentina to an exciting and occasionally bitter, goalless draw and in group one, Italy snatched a one goal win from Austria.
World Cup soccer-and in the semi-final round of group two, on Sunday night (18 June), Brazil held Argentina to an exciting and occasionally bitter, goalless draw and in group one, Italy snatched a one goal win from Austria. Brazil, originally co-favourites to win the championship, had to compete against a hostile home crowd of over 45,000 as well as the Argentina team. The atmosphere in Rosario's central stadium-the "Devil's Cauldron"-was suitably highly charged for the meeting of the two South American teams and the match itself turned out to be fierce, often brutal and sometimes brilliant.
SYNOPSIS: In the first half, Argentina, playing from right to left in the dark shorts, soon gained the upper hand, severely testing Emerson Leao, the Brazilian goalkeeper. Argentine striker, Mario Kempes was responsible for mush of the pressure put on the Brazilian defence. Throughout the first half, he and centre forward Luque were a constant danger anywhere near Brazil's penalty area.
Powerful long hosts by both teams, moved the action rapidly from one end of the pitch to the other. Brazil fought back, with shots like this one from Mendonca, and looked better organised than in previous games. Harsh tackling by both sides resulted in yellow card warnings for four players. Everything now depends on the outcome of Wednesday's (21 June) matches when Brazil meet Poland and Argentina play Peru.
Italy playing from right to left in white shorts, were lucky to beat Austria. The winning goal came in the 13th minute. Centre forward, Paolo Rossi managed to slip past Austrian defender Strasser, to calmly put the ball in the back of the net. Austria fought back throughout the game, but despite Italy's disappointing performance, and many good attacks, they failed to score.
Austria appeared undaunted by their five-one defeat by Holland last week. Austrian striker Eduard Kreiger nearly equalised in the second half and the Italians failed to exploit the chances that came their way. The crowd, many carrying Italian flags, started to cheer Austria on.
Italy seemed to have lost their winning touch of past matches and looked dangerously under-form for next Wednesday's decisive match against Holland. Austria are effectively out of the championship now but played impressively right up the final whistle, foiling Italy's attempts to gain a good score and a comfortably assured place in the finals.