GROUP A: Scotland vs. Norway
TIME: 8:30 a.m. TV: ESPN2, Ch. 34. RADIO: KWKW (1330 Spanish).
* ON SCOTLAND: Falling just short of a country-captivating draw with Brazil as only the Scottish can--done in by an own goal by defender Tommy Boyd--Scotland needs at least a tie today to maintain hopes of reaching the second round. As if the Scots needed any more incentive, Norway Coach Egil Olsen gave it to them when he described Scotland as “the weakest side in the group.” Scottish captain Colin Hendry returned fire, sort of: “Everybody is aware of the statement of Mr. Olsen. We’ve heard it and read it in the papers. We’re too proud to retaliate--at this time.”
* ON NORWAY: Scottish Coach Craig Brown, also aware of Olsen’s cool dismissal, couldn’t resist twisting the needle after Norway’s surprising 2-2 draw with Morocco. “Yes, it’s true that this is [like] a Cup final for us,” Brown said, “but nobody should lose sight of the fact that it is also a very important game for Norway. They will have been disappointed at drawing with Morocco in their opening game. They have also conceded ground.” Norwegian journalists have been grappling to decide what was the most surprising thing about the Morocco match--Norway yielding two goals or Norway scoring twice. As Olsen has admitted: “The way we play isn’t pretty but it works. The problems will arise when someone learns to cope with our style.”
* OUTLOOK: Another Olsenism holds that “We don’t give the ball away in the midfield, because we don’t use the midfield.” Scotland is all too familiar with the same approach. It’ll be long balls over Bordeaux, with the smart money on a nil-nil standoff.