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Monday, July 13, 1998 Published at 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK


Sport: Football

Suker sees gold

Zenden's shot deceived Ladic

Davor Suker won the Golden Boot with his sixth goal of France 98 as Croatia sealed third place.

The striker, who cannot hold down a first-team place at Real Madrid, became the tournament's leading scorer with a 36th-minute winner in the Parc des Princes.

Ronaldo had four going into Brazil's final against France, but failed to add to his total.


[ image: Suker's goal out him top of the World Cup scoring chart]
Suker's goal out him top of the World Cup scoring chart
In a skilful and entertaining game, there was no sign of any lack of commitment among the two beaten semi-finalists.

FIFA has hinted that the third-place play-off may be scrapped but a full-house got into party mood for this tussle.

Suker put himself top of the scoring charts with a first-time left-foot shot into the corner to cap a superb move involving Robert Prosinecki and Slaven Bilic.

The goal restored Croatia's lead in the Parc des Princes after Boudewijn Zenden had cancelled out Prosinecki's 13th-minute opener.

Prosinecki, of Croatia Zagreb, collected Robert Jarni's pass, swivelled free of a defender and shot low into the corner in his team's first attack.


[ image: Delight for the emerging Dutch star]
Delight for the emerging Dutch star
But seven minutes later Zenden ran at the Croatian defence and let fly from outside the area.

His swerving shot confused keeper Drazen Ladic and nestled in the net.

The Netherlands, beaten by Brazil on penalties in Tuesday's semi-final, brought on Marc Overmars, despite hamstring problems, for the second half in a bid to find more room down the flanks.

Patrick Kluivert wasted their best chance to level 12 minutes before the end when he wrong-footed the defence but shot hopelessly wide.

Two minutes later Clarence Seedorf was denied by Ladic's leg.

Seedorf had had the ball in the net on 52 minutes but his crisp first-time volley was ruled offside.


[ image: Suker had the measure of the Dutch defence]
Suker had the measure of the Dutch defence
Croatia sat back for most of the game, absorbing Dutch pressure. But in a breakaway Suker nearly snatched his second at the far post, just failing to reach Prosinecki's 67th-minute free-kick.

The Dutch had made the running early in the first half. Kluivert turned Slaven Bilic after eight minutes but was bailed out by Ladic who blocked the striker's shot.

Wim Jonk then hit a free-kick over but was closer minutes later after Clarence Seedorf rolled another free-kick into his path.

Ladic also had to race out to beat Kluivert again in the 19th minute.

Bilic, blamed for getting France's Laurent Blanc sent off in Wednesday's semi-final, was roundly booed by French fans every time he touched the ball.

Teams

Croatia: Drazen Ladic, Igor Stimac, Slaven Bilic, Zvonimir Soldo, Robert Jarni, Aljosa Asanovic, Robert Prosinecki (Goran Vlaovic, 78), Zvonimir Boban -captain (Igor Tudor, 85), Mario Stanic, Krunoslav Jurcic, Davor Suker.

Netherlands: Edwin van der Sar, Phillip Cocu (Marc Overmars, 46), Jaap Stam, Frank de Boer (captain), Arthur Numan, Clarence Seedorf, Wim Jonk, Edgar Davids, Boudewijn Zenden, Dennis Bergkamp(Pierre van Hooijdonk, 58), Patrick Kluivert.

Referee: Epifanio Gonzalez Chavez (Paraguay).



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