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Belgium, Netherlands Play to Scoreless Tie

Associated Press
Saturday, June 13, 1998; 5:09 p.m. EDT




SAINT-DENIS, France — Patrick Kluivert was ejected for elbowing Lorenzo Staelens in the chest in an intense 0-0 tie between the Netherlands and Belgium on Saturday night.

The Dutch squandered many chances in the World Cup Group E game.

Kluivert, who had few opportunities, showed his frustration eight minutes from the end after a collision with Staelens. He walked over toward the Belgian, wagging his finger, and elbowed him in the chest.

Italian referee Pierluigi Collina didn't see the off-the-ball incident, but consulted his linesmen with Staelens on the ground and didn't hesitate to show Kluivert the red card.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and his second-half replacement, Dennis Bergkamp, both fluffed easy opportunities as the Dutch dominated. But they failed to get the ball past overworked Belgian goalkeeper Filip De Wilde in the fourth World Cup confrontation since 1994.

The Belgians, who beat the Dutch 1-0 in the last Cup in the United States in 1994, but lost twice 3-0 in qualifying for this competition, were kept under pressure for most of the game, yet managed to survive.

The Dutch should have taken the lead after only six minutes when De Wilde dropped a shot from Ronald de Boer. Hasselbaink had an empty goal to aim at from an acute angle, but badly misplaced his shot and the Belgians cleared.

A minute before halftime, the Belgians almost snatched the lead when Danny Boffin crossed from the left. Marc Wilmots could only connect with his chest instead of his head and goalie Edwin van der Sar was able to save it.

The Dutch resumed applying pressure early in the second half and De Wilde smothered a 25-yard shot from Clarence Seedorf seconds after blocking a fiercely struck angled shot from Hasselbaink.

De Wilde was beaten when Kluivert leapt above the Belgian defense to meet a corner kick by Ronald de Boer, but Eric Deflandre was in position to head the ball away.

Bergkamp, sidelined for six weeks with hamstring problems, entered the game as substitute for Hasselbaink after 66 minutes. Bergkamp had been on the field for eight minutes when he had a golden chance, but volleyed wide from no more than 10 yards with no one near him.

The final scoring chance came when Jaap Stam fired in a 30-yarder that De Wilde couldn't hold onto. Deflandre kicked the ball off the goal line.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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