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89th Minute – Dennis Bergkamp, Netherlands v Argentina, World Cup 1998 Quarter Final

Context
Netherlands under the guidance of Guus Hiddink had a lot to prove after a poor Euro ’96 where they were fortunate to get through the group stage and the squad was beset by internal squabbling. Hiddink did manage to unite the team in the following two years and they went into the World Cup in France with their usual high expectations placed upon them. They started with a far from convincing 0-0 draw against their neighbours Belgium however in their next game they exploded into life and demolished South Korea 5-0 before securing qualification with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Mexico. They won their second round match against Yugoslavia thanks to an injury time winner from Edgar Davids. Their opponents in the Quarter Final were Argentina who came through a topsy-turvy encounter against England.

This was the first competitive meeting between the two sides since the 1978 World Cup final and the Dutch were out for revenge, especially Bergkamp who remembers watching the match as an eight-year-old and crying in front of his television. The quarter final was played out in scorching heat in Marseille. Bergkamp set up Patrick Kluivert to put the Dutch ahead minutes after Wim Jonk had hit the post but the Argentines hit back quickly when Claudio Lopez sprang the offside trap and poked the ball through the legs of Edwin van der Sar. In the 76th Minute Numan was sent off for the Dutch making the Argentines favourites as we seemed destined for another 30 minutes.

The Goal

The last two minutes of the game were simply incredible. In the 88th minute Ariel Ortega disgracefully dives in the box and luckily the ref doesn’t fall for it, the Argentine number ten then bizarrely heads the chin of the towering van der Sar and earns himself a red card. Amusingly the ref can’t find his red card.   Subsequently, seconds later we are treated to, as Jack van Gelder put it, DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! The Dutch commentary is nearly as famous as the goal itself…

According to his team mates he had a stinker, but who remembers that?

What happened next?
Netherlands went on to lose their final two matches of the World Cup. A heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat against Brazil and then a somewhat meek display against Croatia in the third place play-off which left them finishing France ’98 in fourth place.

Extras

8bit football’s take on the goal

Interesting website Football and Music pay homage to the goal and some terrible songs about Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp, Panini Sticker 1998

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