Both favorites won. Both by 2-1. That doesn't come anywhere close to telling the story.
The story was in the face of Edgar Davids, running toward a sea of orange in the stands, his left index finger thrust in the air as he celebrated his first goal for his country. It was a second-half game-winner during injury time Monday that lifted the Netherlands into the quarterfinals."I put all of myself into the final shot, and I scored," said the 25-year-old midfielder, breaking a two-year media silence to discuss the 25-yard blast that eliminated Yugoslavia in the 92nd minute.
The story also was the sight of Germany's aging veterans, sprawled on the grass, gasping for air, their tired legs cramping in 91-degree heat. They didn't just win, they survived a heart-stopping scare, needing two goals 11 minutes apart deep in the second half to beat Mexico.
"I wouldn't want to go through such a game every day," German coach Berti Vogts said. "My team went through 90 minutes of torture. We won with our fighting spirit. They found the strength to win a game that was nearly lost."
Steve Sampson gave up his job as U.S. coach Monday, just a few days after he vowed not to resign.
The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the resignation of Sampson, who was severely criticized by his players after the United States lost all three of its games and finished last of the tournament's 32 teams.
"We were naive to think an inexperienced coach would see the value of experienced players," forward Eric Wynalda said of the first American coach to lead a U.S. team at a World Cup. "We should never let this happen again."
The back-to-back second-round thrillers left the quarterfinals bracket with two empty places, to be decided today when Romania played Croatia at Bordeaux and England sought to avenge the 12-year-old "Hand of God" defeat in a much-anticipated match against Argentina at Saint-Etienne.
On Monday night, North African French youths clashed with English fans at an outdoor screen showing the Netherlands-Yugoslavia game. At least 10 people were arrested - nine French and one English.
In terms of cliffhanger value, Tuesday's games have hard acts to follow. On the heels of the World Cup's first "golden goal" - France's sudden-death overtime victory over Paraguay on Sunday - came not only Germany's comeback, but also the Dutch survival and the first missed penalty kick of France 98.
The crossbar was still vibrating long after Yugoslav striker Predrag Mijatovic nailed it with a penalty kick that could have given Yugoslavia a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute. His predecessors at the tournament were 14-for-14 from the spot.
"This is the worst moment in my career," Mijatovic said. "The Dutch goalie is tall, so I decided to shoot high and under the bar. It didn't work. I'm sad for my teammates."
The Netherlands will play the Argentina-England winner in the quarterfinals Saturday, the same day Germany faces either Romania or Croatia.
European champion and three-time World Cup titlist Germany trailed Mexico 1-0 when Juergen Klinsmann tied it in the 75th minute. Oliver Bierhoff then outleaped defender Raul Lara to put home a 12-yard header in the 86th to clinch the victory. It was the third goal of the tournament for both strikers.
"The way we fought in this hot weather makes us incredibly optimistic for the next games," said Klinsmann. "We have tremendous fighting spirit."
England has been waiting since 1986 to redress Diego Maradona's dubious goal, the one he punched into the net in Argentina's 2-1 quarterfinal victory in Mexico. The referee never saw it.
"That feeling of injustice has stayed with us a long time," said England coach Glenn Hoddle, who played in that match. "We have got a chance of readdressing that balance and turning that result round and getting it out of our system."