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Croatia overjoyed; Italy is angry

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 9, 2002

IBARAKI, Japan -- Ivica Olic and Milan Rapaic scored second-half goals to lead Croatia over highly favored Italy 2-1 Saturday in a Group G game.

Italy, which lost its first regulation-time World Cup game since 1994, had two goals disallowed in the second half, enraging it.

Olic slipped behind three defenders to score in the 73rd minute. Rapaic's volley deflected off a defender in the 76th.

"This victory goes out to the entire Croatian nation," Olic said.

Italy took the lead in the 55th minute when Christian Vieri headed in a pass from Cristiano Doni.

Five minutes earlier, Vieri headed in a pass from midfielder Gianluca Zambrotta. But the officials ruled the play offside.

In the closing minutes, a long pass trickled into the net, but officials said Filippo Inzaghi pulled down a defender.

"These things mustn't happen. Come on!" said Vieri, who got a yellow card on the first disallowed goal. "In a game as important as this, for which one prepares all week ... a game shouldn't go like this."

SOUTH AFRICA 1, SLOVENIA 0: Renowned for rallying to force ties, South Africa put the emphasis on attack from the outset to eliminate Slovenia in Daegu, South Korea.

Second behind Spain in Group B, it needs only a tie against Spain on Wednesday to reach the second round.

"I'm very proud of them," coach Jomo Sono said. "I think the pressure will be off for the Spanish game. We wanted to get the three points badly."

In the fourth minute, Siyabonga Nomvethe deflected the ball over the goal line with his thigh off Quinton Fortune's curling free kick from the left wing.

Slovenian coach Sricko Katanec, who sent star midfielder Zlatko Zahovic home last week after several arguments, was ejected early in the second half.

"A coach can say some things if it was a foul for us or for the other team," he said. "I don't know why he sent me."

BRAZIL 4, CHINA 0: Brazil all but eliminated China in a Group C game in Seogwipo, South Korea. China must beat Turkey, have Costa Rica lose its final two games and then win a tiebreaker.

The Chinese pressured Brazil in the opening minutes.

But Roberto Carlos' free kick from 25 yards in the 15th minute made it 1-0. Rivaldo, with Ronaldinho sending in a pass from the left wing, left-footed the ball from 6 yards to make it 2-0 in the 32nd. Ronaldinho converted a penalty kick in the 45th, and Ronaldo scored in the 55th minute.

"I had a lot of fun in the game," Ronaldo said. "But now it's time to think about (Costa Rica on Thursday)."

AUSTRALIAN FALLOUT: A strong police presence prevented isolated scuffles from escalating into major disturbances in Sydney's Italian community. Up to a dozen youths were involved in a fight, and drive-by hecklers flew Croatian flags.

AFRICAN SLIGHT: Cameroon coach Winfried Schaefer, a native of Germany, accused FIFA of disrespecting African teams.

"If you are an African team, you don't get the same respect," he said. "You don't get the same treatment as the bigger, better-known teams."

ENGLISHMAN OUT: Midfielder Owen Hargreaves will not play for England Wednesday against Nigeria. He injured his shin in a collision with teammate Michael Owen early in Friday's game, but X-rays showed no break.

NEW TICKET PLAN: Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, reported South Korean high school students watched the game between Spain and Paraguay for free Friday. Concerned about vacant seats, officials mobilized 1,200 students for the game in Jeonju.

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