The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the 16th edition of the tournament hosted by France. After more than a month of football spectacle featuring 32 teams, hosts France and four times world champion Brazil were the ones left waiting to battle it down for the coveted prize at the Stade de France, Paris.
Brazil were the defending champions and in their line-up they had the best forward in the world in a young Ronaldo Nazario. Right from the beginning of the tournament Brazil were the favorite’s, on the other hand France had got better as the tournament progressed.
Confusion over the official line-up caused by Brazil
The events that took place on the afternoon of 12th July,1998 remains a mystery to this day and there was no shortage for drama on the day of the finals. In the initial team sheet of Brazil, the best player in the world at that moment Ronaldo the phenomeno was left out of starting eleven and Edmundo was set to be starting in his place.
The selection caused concern over Ronaldo’s fitness and others were very much frustrated with his omission from the starting eleven. In a very short time following the chaos and confusion caused due to Ronaldo’s exclusion, he was reinstated to the starting line-up and it was said to be a mistake. Normalcy returned after this and the game kicked-off.
Zidane inspired performance hands over Les Bleus with 1st World Championship
The final kick started at 9pm local time with approximately 75,000 fans in the stadium and estimated global television audience of 1.7 billion. The French had the chance to go one up at the opening minute with an ambitious bicycle kick by Guivarc’h. He had another opportunity to score a goal from Zidane’s assist but couldn’t score due to the opponent team’s defensive pressure. Both the teams were trying to score a goal and take the lead comfortably.
Zidane drew the first blood with a header from the corner taken by Petit. The breakthrough came moments before the half hour mark, easing the pressure on France. At the stroke of injury time in 1st half, Zidane doubled the lead by scoring another header from Djorkaeff’s corner. The first half concluded with France being 2 goals up against Brazil thanks to Zidane’s brace. This brace in the finals were Zidane’s first goals of the tournament.
Having an uphill task of coming from the two goals deficit, Brazil summoned Denilson to replace Leanardo. The Brazilians made an attempt to come back into the game but they were not able to score goals. Desailly got booked for both foul committed and dissent against the referee around the 50th minute. After the hour mark Desailly made a slide tackle against Cafu which earned him a second yellow. He was sent off with a red card. The final nail to the coffin was Emmanuel Petit’s third goal at 90 + 3 minute assisted by Patrick Vieira. France won the final 3-0 and ended up becoming the seventh different nation to win the World Cup.
Full Match replay of the FIFA World Cup 1998 final
The full match replay of this epic FIFA World Cup final 1998 is available in YouTube. The video can be found at FIFA’s YouTube channel.