Despite never being outplayed, outfought, or outsung, England was knocked out of the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals. As at Euro 96, as at Italia 90, the tyranny of penalties has brought England down again, repeating itself in the cruelest way possible. So it seems every time England vs Argentina, there’s an unforgettable story.
However, those who missed last night should not be criticized. On the contrary, David Batty, whose fateful final shot was saved, played a crucial role in stiffening England’s resistance in extra time, and Paul Ince was a king among lions.
Paul Ince and David Batty are two of the most honest players you will find in England vs Argentina matches. They are hard-working midfielders who allow flair players time, space, and possession.
When England wins or loses, they do it together. This nerve-shredding encounter showed them to be a band of brothers. Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, who scored, provided 120 minutes of English soccer excellence for World Cup 1998.
It’s difficult to say whether England’s players sympathized with David Beckham. Nevertheless, Glenn Hoddle’s players held one of the favorites for the tournament remarkably well after Beckham was sent off for kicking Diego Simeone, Argentina’s captain, early in the second half for a silly kick.
However, Beckham’s expulsion would have particularly devastating consequences in the end. David Beckham, one of the tournament’s best dead ballplayers, would have been among the five to address England’s penalties. He would have replaced Ince, who did not take one at Euro 96, or Batty, who is not well known for taking penalties. Despite Alan Shearer, Paul Merson, and Michael Owen scoring, Carlos Roa made two fine saves, earning his team a place in the quarter-finals against Holland in Marseille.
England vs Argentina First Goal
As well as England vs Argentina ending with penalties, the match began with them. After just five minutes of play, Simeone was brought down under a legitimate challenge by David Seaman, forcing Kim Nielsen to award a penalty. Gabriel Batistuta expertly converted this to a tribute to his newborn son, Joaquin, by mimicking Bebeto’s “baby in the arms” celebrations from USA 94.
Glenn Hoddle’s babe, showing the steel in his bones, refused to accept any idea of Argentine supremacy. Paul Scholes’ clever header set off Michael Owen’s penalty as he fell after Roberto Ayala’s faintest of pressure. However, Alan Shearer’s decisive penalty proved too much for Roa to handle.
It took Argentina 15 minutes to concede its second goal after not conceding in eight matches. It’s hard to argue with Owen’s strike, a superb run and finish that encapsulates everything that excites the nation about the Liverpool forward.
With Tony Adams and his defenders throwing a white blanket over Argentina, Argentina was rattled. England’s midfielders, led by Ince, harried and chased their celebrated opponents tirelessly for the cause. Sol Campbell flung the ball clear from Claudio Lopez as he sprinted forward. David Beckham also denied Lopez with his mature play.
Just Before Half Time
Then came two disasters that would ultimately cost England dearly. On the cusp of half-time, the ball was almost in the dressing room when Juan Veron’s free-kick found Javier Zanetti. He created a chance with his first touch, which he duly took, the ball racing past David Seaman.
Glenn Hoddle, the manager of England, could not calm down the players’ frustration before the restart. He has been involved in England vs Argentina 1986 World Cup quarter-final match and knew one moment could change the game forever.
David Beckham was dismissed immediately following the break. The Manchester United midfielder showed his immaturity by flicking a leg at Simeone, who went down as if hit by the 3.40 from Buenos Aires. The England team was facing an uphill battle without Beckham.
Under pressure, England went to a back four with Scholes and Owen providing width in the midfield while Alan Shearer provided a singular focal point. There was a lot of back-and-forth action with Michael Owen and Shearer defending well against Zanetti and Lopez.
The 10 of England continuously frustrated Argentina. In their usual strategy against depleted opponents, they could not stretch Hoddle’s obdurate spirits. However, it was evident that England’s fans were in a defiant mood on the stands.
At one point, they even had a moment of hope when the indefatigable Owen scampered through, only to miss the target. Despite Argentina enjoying the majority of possession, they also had their chances, such as when Ariel Ortega wriggled into the box only to run into a man-mountain called Adams, who had a colossal game. A late goal by England in standard time was even denied. Despite Campbell’s excellent goal, his joy turned into frustration when Shearer was penalized for seemingly impeding Roa.
England vs Argentina Extra Time
It took another half-hour of extra time before penalties were taken, with Veron and Adams enjoying chances. England’s heads dropped as Batty’s ball was repelled by Roa. However, they could hold their heads high because this was a performance that made their country proud.
England vs Argentina 1998 Team Details
Argentina: Matias Almeyda, Roberto Ayala, Gabriel Batistuta (Hernan Crespo 68), Jose Chamot, Claudio Lopez (Marelo Gallardo 68), Ariel Ortega, Carlos Roas, Diego Simeone (Sergio Berti 91), Juan Sebastian Veron, Nelson Vivas, Javier Zanetti.
England: Tony Adams, Darren Anderton (David Batty 96), David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Paul Ince, Graeme Le Saux (Gareth Southgate 70), Gary Neville, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes (Paul Merson 78), David Seaman, Alan Shearer.
Referee: Kim Milton Nielsen (Denmark).
Stadium: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne