1998 FIFA World Cup Final
|Event||1998 FIFA World Cup|
|Date||12 July 1998|
|Venue||Stade de France, Saint-Denis|
|Man of the Match||Zinedine Zidane (France)|
|Referee||Said Belqola (Morocco)|
23 °C (73 °F)
The 1998 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match that was played on 12 July 1998 at the Stade de France in the Parisian commune of Saint-Denis to determine the winner of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The final was contested by defending champions Brazil  and the host nation France, marking the first time that a World Cup final was disputed between the host nation and the defending champion. France won the match 3–0 to claim their maiden World Cup, with the timing of the match two days before Bastille Day adding to the significance of the victory. Zinedine Zidane, who was named man of the match, scored twice before half-time and Emmanuel Petit added a third goal in the last minute. The match had an attendance in the region of 75,000.
On their way to the final, defending champions Brazil, coached by their former player Mário Zagallo, recorded victories over Scotland (2–1) and Morocco (3–0) to top their group with six points from three matches, suffering a surprise 2–1 defeat at the hands of Norway in their final group game. After a 4–1 win over Chile and a 3–2 success against Denmark, they reached the final with a penalty shoot-out victory over the Netherlands. As for France, they won their three group matches and defeated Paraguay in the knockout stages on golden goals. They had a penalty shoot-out with Italy in the quarter-finals, and defeated recently formed Croatia to reach the final for the very first time in team history.
The match also saw speculation on the condition of the Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who suffered a convulsive fit on the eve of the match. After initially being left out of the team sheet, in spite of his physical state, it was announced just 72 minutes before kick-off that he was going to play. In the match, he sustained an injury in a clash with French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez. Although it was believed that the decision to play Ronaldo had backfired, it was understandable as the player had been a crucial member of the side throughout the tournament, having scored four goals and created three more.
Road to the final
|Scotland||2–1||Match 1||South Africa||3–0|
|Morocco||3–0||Match 2||Saudi Arabia||4–0|
|Group A winners
|Final standings||Group C winners
|Chile||4–1||Round of 16||Paraguay||1–0 (a.e.t.)|
|Denmark||3–2||Quarter-finals||Italy||0–0 (a.e.t.) (4–3 p)|
|Netherlands||1–1 (a.e.t.) (4–2 p)||Semi-finals||Croatia||2–1|
Brazil were drawn in Group A for the group stages alongside Scotland, Morocco and Norway. They recorded victories over Scotland (2–1) and Morocco (3–0) to progress but lost their final game 2–1 to Norway.
They next faced Group B runners-up Chile in the last-16 and comprehensively won 4–1, Ronaldo and César Sampaio each scoring twice. In the quarter-finals, they played Denmark, who had also won their previous game 4–1 (against Nigeria), but Brazil won a tight game 3–2. Despite being 1–0 down to a Martin Jorgensen goal in the second minute, Brazil turned the game around in their favour with goals from Bebeto (11) and Rivaldo (27). Brian Laudrup equalised for Denmark after 50 minutes but Brazil won the game 10 minutes later courtesy of a second from Rivaldo.
In the semi-finals, Brazil faced the Netherlands in Marseille. The game finished 1–1 at full-time, Ronaldo scoring just after half-time and Patrick Kluivert equalising for the Netherlands in the 87th minute, and the score remained the same through extra-time. The match had to be settled by penalties which Brazil won 4–2 to reach their second successive World Cup final.
France were drawn in Group C alongside Denmark, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. They started their campaign with an easy 3–0 win over South Africa followed by a convincing 4–0 win over Saudi Arabia. France secured top spot in their group courtesy of a 2–1 win over Denmark with goals from Youri Djorkaeff and Emmanuel Petit.
In the second round, they faced Group D runners-up Paraguay. France won a close encounter 1–0 in extra time thanks to a golden goal scored by Laurent Blanc. In the quarter-finals France faced Italy who had also scraped through to the quarter-finals with a 1–0 win over Norway. A tense match ended 0–0 after extra time and France won 4–3 on penalties after Italy's Luigi Di Biagio struck his penalty onto the crossbar.
In the semi-finals, France faced tournament surprise Croatia. After a goal-less first half, Croatia took the lead in the first minute of the second half through Davor Šuker, his fifth goal of the tournament. France responded immediately with Lilian Thuram scoring his first international goal. Thuram then added a second twenty minutes from time to send France to their first ever World Cup final. The match ended in controversy however when Blanc was sent off after a skirmish with Croatia's Slaven Bilić. Bilić had sunk down to his knees, seemingly in pain. Replays showed, however, that there was minimal contact between the players. Blanc's expulsion meant he would miss the final.
Zinedine Zidane gave France the lead just before the half-hour mark with a header from an in-swinging corner from the right taken by Emmanuel Petit. Only minutes later, Ronaldo was put through on goal by a long ball from Dunga, but he could not get the better of the onrushing Fabien Barthez, who collided with the Brazilian striker. Both needed assistance from the squad medics but quickly recovered. Brazil's superstar playmakers Leonardo and Rivaldo were kept quiet by Didier Deschamps and Christian Karembeu, and Brazil found it difficult to outflank the French as wingbacks Bixente Lizarazu and Lillian Thuram helped neutralize their offensive minded counterparts as Cafu and Roberto Carlos were unable to contribute to Brazil's attack the way they had in the previous matches of the tournament. As stoppage time began, France had an excellent chance to double their lead when a miscue by Brazil's two central defenders, Junior Baiano and Aldair, put Stéphane Guivarc'h one on one with Claudio Taffarel, but the French striker hit a weak effort that was saved by Taffarel out for a corner. France doubled their lead a minute later, as Brazil could only clear the first corner out for another corner, this time from the left, Zidane scored another bouncing header that was almost identical to his first, to give the French a two-goal lead.
In the second half, Ronaldo had a chance to halve the deficit. The ball fell for him inside the penalty box, but he could only plant his shot into Barthez's arms. Brazil would have another chance when Denílson hit the bar from a good chance inside the penalty area. Midfielder Emmanuel Petit wrapped up the scoring in the 90th minute, after receiving a through ball from his Arsenal teammate Patrick Vieira, slotting the ball low into the net. France had to play the last 20 minutes with only 10 men with the dismissal of Marcel Desailly.
|Report||Zidane 27', 45+1'
Man of the Match:
|Shots on target||6||5|
France became the sixth out of – as of 2018 – seven countries to win the World Cup in its first appearance in the final, 32 years after the most recent team to have achieved so, England (1966). It also became the sixth and – as of 2018 – most recent country to win on home soil. Desailly became the first player to be red carded and win the World Cup.
For Brazil, this marked only the second time that they had lost a World Cup final, following their 2–1 upset loss to Uruguay in the de facto final of the 1950 World Cup on home soil, nicknamed the Maracanazo in Brazil. The 3–0 scoreline was also Brazil's largest loss in the World Cup, up until their 7–1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final, which was also played in Brazil.
French president Jacques Chirac, the International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, the newly-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his predecessor João Havelange, UEFA president Lennart Johansson, and co-president of local organizing committee Michel Platini were among those present at the stands during the awards ceremony. President Chirac handed the trophy to French captain Didier Deschamps.
France followed up their victory by qualifying for and winning the UEFA Euro 2000 held in the Netherlands and Belgium. Brazil took the Copa América title in 1999, and won the next World Cup in Japan and South Korea. France would become the first World Cup holders to be eliminated in the tournament's first round, before returning to the final in 2006. They defeated Brazil 1–0 in the quarter-finals en route to the final defeat against Italy.
Ronaldo went on to set the record for most goals scored in World Cup finals (15) in 2006, which was later broken by Miroslav Klose of Germany in 2014. Blanc and Deschamps would later have spells as manager of the France national team, with the latter leading them to a second World Cup title 20 years later in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making him only the third man to have won the World Cup as both player and manager after Brazil's Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer. Many of the French players who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 are also part of the France 98 charity association, with Deschamps as president and Jacquet as coach for charity matches and testimonials.
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