Rekdal, Norway Move On
By Peter Muello
Tuesday, June 23, 1998; 5:40 p.m. EDT
MARSEILLE, France Norway, on the verge of World Cup elimination, scored twice in the final seven minutes, including a controversial penalty kick to stun Brazil 2-1 Tuesday and move into the second round.
Kjetil Rekdal converted the 89th-minute penalty kick only six minutes after Tore Andre Flo got the tying goal. American referee Esse Baharmast awarded the penalty kick, although replays showed little contact on the play.
``It was one of the best, definitely,'' Flo said. ``We made history in Norway today.''
Trailing 1-0 and looking like it was headed out after the first round, Flo gave Norway hope with a remarkable individual effort in the 83rd minute. Flo ran onto a long pass, one-touched it to the middle of the penalty area and beat goalkeeper Taffarel with a strike from 12 yards.
Then came the penalty, called on Junior Baiano for knocking down Flo as the two battled for position on a high ball. Replays indicated little contact on the play.
With Morocco beating Scotland 3-0 in Saint-Etienne and sure to advance from Group A with a Brazil victory or draw, Rekdal firmly struck his penalty kick into the lower left side of the net. Norway reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time in three tries.
``We came in overconfident against a rival we didn't know how would play against us,'' Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo said. ``But we developed our soccer and will continue to do so.''
The Norwegian reserves sprinted onto the field to hug and contratulate their teammates when they clinched a spot vs. Italy on Saturday in Marseille.
Brazil controlled possession throughout and finally looked like the winner when Bebeto converted Denilson's cross with a header in the 78th minute.
Denilson fell, but still managed to keep possession, spin away from Norwegian defender Berg Henning and strike a left-footed cross chest high across the penalty area. Streaking through, Bebeto put his head onto the ball and directed it into the middle of the net.
Brazil already had qualified for the second round, assured of winning Group A and a round of 16 meeting with Chile on Saturday in Paris.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press