If this trend continues, there's no telling who will leave Italy with the World Cup.

The favorites continued to struggle against the unheralded last night when the Netherlands, the European champion, was held to a 1-1 tie by Egypt in Palermo.

The Egyptians, in the tournament for the first time since 1934, got the tying goal on a penalty kick by Magdi Abdel-Ghani with eight minutes remaining.

"The draw was a good result. We played very well," Eygptian Coach Mahmoud el-Gohary said. "I had hoped that we would win for our country."

If not for the work of Dutch goalie Hans van Breukelen, Egypt might have won. He made two brilliant saves, with a dive on Ahmed el-Kas's left-footed drive and with both hands on a spectacular header by Abdel-Ghani.

The Netherlands struggled for almost an hour against Egypt's conservative style. Then substitute Wim Kieft scored on a crossing pass from Dutch star Marco van Basten at 58 minutes.

But the slow Dutch defense finally crumbled in the 82nd minute when striker Hossam Hassan, using his considerable speed, broke through. Ronald Koeman pulled him down in the penalty area and Andel-Ghani took the penalty shot.

He beat van Breukelen low to the left corner for Egypt's first World Cup goal in 56 years.

"If, with the talent we have, we cannot win a match like this, then it is a debacle," Kieft said. "Their equalizer was well-deserved. Now we have to win the next two games {to advance to the second round}. Such a team can only play well when we play badly."

The Dutch, looking lethargic in the muggy weather, suddenly came to life in the 58th minute when van Basten made a powerful run on the left side. He sent in a low cross that Frank Rijkaard missed, but Kieft was right beside him to flick the ball past goalie Ahmed Shobair.

The much-heralded Dutch trio of van Basten, Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit was outplayed by such relatively unknown players as Hassan, el-Kas and Gamal Abdel-Hamid as the trend of surprises in the first round continued.

Belgium 2, South Korea 0: In Verona, outstanding second-half goals by Marc Degryse and Michel De Wolf earned the Belgians the first-round win.

Striker Degryse scored the first in the 52nd minute when he collected a long pass from Enzo Scifo 30 yards out and lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Choi In Young, who had advanced well out of his goal area.

Twelve minutes later, left back De Wolf finished a solo run with a hard drive from just outside the penalty area.

Belgium dominated from the start, but found it hard to break down the packed South Korean defense in the first half.