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Federation Internationale de Football Association

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Match day preview for 21 June 2006

  • Match #37 - Frankfurt - NETHERLANDS v. ARGENTINA*

Netherlands lead with two wins and one defeat in FIFA World Cup™ head-to-heads with Argentina; the Oranje's victories came in the 1974 second round (4-0) and the 1998 quarter-finals (2-1), while Argentina defeated the Netherlands in the 1978 final (3-1 aet). In all three matches, Netherlands scored a goal in the last eight minutes: in 1974, Cruyff scored in the 90th minute; in 1978, Nanninga scored in the 82nd minute, sending the final to extra time; in 1998, Bergkamp netted the decisive goal in the 89th minute.

In a total of seven head-to-heads, including friendlies, Netherlands have won four, drawn two and lost only one - the 1978 FIFA World Cup™ final.

This will be the seventh time that two teams who have already contested a FIFA World Cup™ final against each other meet again at the group stage in a subsequent edition - interestingly, the champions have never lost the first round head-to-head against the earlier finalists; in 1970, Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 4-1 in a group-stage match eight years after their 3-1 win in the final; in 1978, Italy defeated Hungary 3-1 (1938 final: 4-2 to the Azzurri); in 1978, Brazil drew 1-1 with Sweden (1958 final: 5-2); in 1990, Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-0 (1934 final: 2-1); in 1990, Brazil defeated Sweden 2-1 (1958 final: 5-2); in 1994, Brazil drew 1-1 v. Sweden in the group stage (1958 final: 5-2).

In ten of their 13 FIFA World Cup™ participations Argentina have met a European team in their final first-stage match; the exceptions are 1930 (3-1 v. Chile), 1974 (4-1 v. Haiti) and 1982 (2-0 v. El Salvador). Of these ten final first-stage matches against European representatives, Argentina's total record stands at three wins, three draws and four defeats.

  • Match #38 - Munich - CÔTE D'IVOIRE v. SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO*

In 37 FIFA World Cup™ matches, Yugoslavia only ever played one African team: in 1974, they faced Zaire in Gelsenkirchen, winning 9-0.

Current Côte d'Ivoire coach, Henri Michel, has met a European team in the final group match in all three of his previous appearances as trainer, his team scoring at least three goals in each match; as manager of France v. Hungary in 1986 (3-0); as Cameroon's manager v. Russia in 1994 (1-6); as manager of Morocco v. Scotland in 1998 (3-0).

An African newcomer coached by a Frenchman has never lost its final group match: in 1982, Algeria, coached by French-Algerian Rachid Mekloufi, defeated Chile 3-2, while in the same edition Jean Vincent's Cameroon drew 1-1 with the eventual champions, Italy; at France '98, South Africa, coached by Philippe Troussier, drew 2-2 with Saudi Arabia; in 2002, Bruno Metsu led Senegal to the second stage after drawing 3-3 with Uruguay.

  • Match #39 - Gelsenkirchen - PORTUGAL v. MEXICO*

Portugal and Mexico drew 0-0 in the only previous senior team head-to-head, a friendly match played in Lisbon on 6 April 1969. Mexico and Portugal also met in the 1991 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finals, Portugal winning 2-1 after extra time.

Exactly 20 years ago, on 21 June 1986, Mexico were defeated 1-4 on penalties by Germany FR in the quarter-finals, meaning Mexico remained unbeaten in the final competition for the first time ever (the result is officially a draw) and also equalled their best-ever ranking at the FIFA World Cup™.

Luiz Felipe Scolari could become only the second Brazilian coach to qualify for the second stage as trainer of a foreign team. The only Brazilian to have done so to date is Paulo Cesar Carpeggiani as coach of Paraguay in 1998. In other editions, Brazilian coaches have stumbled at the first stage: Parreira failed to qualify for the second stage on three occasions (Kuwait in 1982, United Arab Emirates in 1990, Saudi Arabia in 1998), while Tim (Peru in 1982), Evaristo (Iraq in 1986) and Simoes (Jamaica in 1998) were also unsuccessful in their bid to get past the first stage.

In the last three editions of the FIFA World Cup™, Mexico have always drawn in their third group match, all of which were against European opponents: 1-1 v. Italy in 1994, 2-2 v. Netherlands in 1998 and 1-1 v. Italy in 2002.

  • Match #40 - Leipzig - IRAN v. ANGOLA*

Iran and Angola have never met before.

In FIFA competitions, Iran have only ever met African teams in youth tournaments, with a record of one win and two defeats: at the 1977 FIFA U-20 World Cup, they defeated Côte d'Ivoire 3-0, lost out to Ghana in at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup (0-1) and were defeated 0-1 by Mali at the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Angola won the only other head-to-head with an Asian team in a FIFA competition: in 2001, they defeated Japan 2-1 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

For the third edition in a row, an African and Asian team will meet in the final group match. On the two other occasions, the Asian teams remained unbeaten, with one win (Japan-Tunisia 2-0 in 2002) and one draw (Saudi Arabia v. South Africa 2-2 in 1998) to date.

This is the fifth time that an African team has been drawn in the same group as an Asian team; to date, no African team has ever qualified from such a group while two Asian teams have managed to do so (Saudi Arabia in 1994, Japan in 2002).

FIFA Communications Division

Berlin, 19 June 2006