1998_emblem

XVI World Cup Tournament

In the summer of 1998, France became the seventh nation to win the World Cup. The French squad displayed impressive work in defense and midfield. Even the bald goalkeeper Barthez committed nearly no mistakes allowing only two goals in seven matches. Croatia was the surprise of the tournament, finishing third. World Cup 1998 expanded the number of participating countries from 24 to 32.

Qualification
Participants: 174
Matches: 643
Goals: 1,922

Tournament
Participants: 32
Matches: 64
Goals: 171
Attendance: 2,775,400
Top player: Zidane
Top goalscorer: 6 Goals – Davor Suker
Top manager: Aime Jacquet
Mascot: Footix

First round

Group A

10.6.1998 Brazil Scotland 2 – 1
Morocco Norway 2 – 2
16.6.1998 Brazil Morocco 3 – 0
Scotland Norway 1 – 1
23.6.1998 Brazil Norway 1 – 2
Scotland Morocco 0 – 3
G W T L GD P
Brazil 3 2 0 1 6-3 6
Norway 3 1 2 0 5-4 5
Morocco 3 1 1 1 5-5 4
Scotland 3 0 1 2 2-6 1

World Cup 1998 started off with former champion Brazil against Scotland. The match was close and finished with a 2-1 victory for the South Americans who struggled against the physical Scottish side. Norway earned second place in Group A by defeating Brazil who let their guard down in the last match of the group stage. Morocco failed to advance, but displayed creative football under the playmaking skills of Mustapha Haji.

Group B

11.6.1998 Cameroon Austria 1 – 1
Italy Chile 2 – 2
17.6.1998 Chile Austria 1 – 1
Italy Cameroon 3 – 0
23.6.1998 Italy Austria 2 – 1
Chile Cameroon 1 – 1
G W T L GD P
Italy 3 2 1 0 7-3 7
Chile 3 0 3 0 4-4 3
Austria 3 0 2 1 2-4 2
Cameroon 3 0 2 1 2-5 2

A lot of defensive football in Group B produced four draws from a total of six matches. World Cup 1994 finalist Italy was victorious, followed by Chile.

Group C

12.6.1998 Saudi Arabia Denmark 0 – 1
France South Africa 3 – 0
18.6.1998 France Saudi Arabia 4 – 0
South Africa Denmark 1 – 1
24.6.1998 France Denmark 2 – 1
South Africa Saudi Arabia 2 – 2
G W T L GD P
France 3 3 0 0 9-1 9
Denmark 3 1 1 1 3-3 4
South Africa 3 0 2 1 3-6 2
Saudi Arabia 3 0 1 2 2-7 1

France finished first in Group C earning the maximum of nine points from three matches. Midfielder Zinedine Zidane was in the spotlight creating spontaneous and exciting plays.

Group D

12.6.1998 Paraguay Bulgaria 0 – 0
Spain Nigeria 2 – 3
19.6.1998 Nigeria Bulgaria 1 – 0
Spain Paraguay 0 – 0
24.6.1998 Spain Bulgaria 6 – 1
Nigeria Paraguay 1 – 3
G W T L GD P
Nigeria 3 2 0 1 5-5 6
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3-1 5
Spain 3 1 1 1 8-4 4
Bulgaria 3 0 1 2 1-7 1

The “Group of Death” was a close battle between Nigeria, Spain, and Paraguay. Nigeria, a young and physically superior squad managed to get two victories and win Group D. Paraguay finished second, partially because of their dangerous counterattacks but mainly thanks to goalkeeper Chilavert. The aging team of Bulgaria was out of the competition after losing their second match against Nigeria. In the last group match, Bulgaria was trampled by Spain (6-1) although the Spanish squad also failed to advance.

Group E

13.6.1998 Holland Belgium 0 – 0
South Korea Mexico 1 – 3
20.6.1998 Holland South Korea 5 – 0
Belgium Mexico 2 – 2
25.6.1998 Belgium South Korea 1 – 1
Holland Mexico 2 – 2
G W T L GD P
Holland 3 1 2 0 7-2 5
Mexico 3 1 2 0 7-5 5
Belgium 3 0 3 0 3-3 3
South Korea 3 0 1 2 2-9 1

Holland and Mexico earned the top two spots in Group E. Belgium performed well but surprisingly failed to beat South Korea in their last group match which essentially cost them the chance of advancing to the next stage.

Group F

14.6.1998 Yugoslavia Iran 1 – 0
Germany USA 2 – 0
21.6.1998 Yugoslavia Germany 2 – 2
USA Iran 1 – 2
25.6.1998 Germany Iran 2 – 0
USA Yugoslavia 0 – 1
G W T L GD P
Germany 3 2 1 0 6-2 7
Yugoslavia 3 2 1 0 4-2 7
Iran 3 1 0 2 2-4 3
USA 3 0 0 3 1-5 0

Germany and Yugoslavia dominated Group F each sharing seven points. Iran and the US met in an insignificant match that the American media had described as “strengthening of international relations”.  The US failed to impress during the tournament, finishing with three consecutive losses and earning a single goal.

Group G

15.6.1998 Romania Colombia 1 – 0
England Tunisia 2 – 0
22.6.1998 Colombia Tunisia 1 – 0
Romania England 2 – 1
26.6.1998 Romania Tunisia 1 – 1
Colombia England 0 – 2
G W T L GD P
Romania 3 2 1 0 4-2 7
England 3 2 0 1 5-2 6
Colombia 3 1 0 2 1-3 3
Tunisia 3 0 1 2 1-4 1

The skillful squad of Romania finished first in Group G, still led by the aging George Hagi. Romania even managed to defeat England, who settled for the second spot followed by Colombia and Tunisia.

Group H

14.6.1998 Jamaica Croatia 1 – 3
Argentina Japan 1 – 0
21.6.1998 Japan Croatia 0 – 1
Argentina Jamaica 5 – 0
26.6.1998 Argentina Croatia 1 – 0
Japan Jamaica 1 – 2
G W T L GD P
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7-0 9
Croatia 3 2 0 1 4-2 6
Jamaica 3 1 0 2 3-9 3
Japan 3 0 0 3 1-4 0

Argentina dominated Group H with Gabriel Batistuta scoring some of the most memorable goals in the tournament. World Cup newcomer Croatia, finished second in the group.

Second round

27.6.1998 Italy Norway 1 – 0
Brazil Chile 4 – 1
28.6.1998 France Paraguay 0 – 1 (Golden Goal)
Nigeria Denmark 0 – 3
29.6.1998 Germany Mexico 2 – 1
Holland Yugoslavia 2 – 1
30.6.1998 Romania Croatia 0 – 1
Argentina England 2 – 1

In the second round of World Cup 1998, Brazil finally turned up their game defeating Chile 4-1. The Brazilians showed a lot of skill in an entertaining and open match. France faced Paraguay, who kept the score close thanks again to goalkeeper Chilavert. France managed to win with a golden goal thus preventing a penalty shootout, one of Chilavert’s strengths. Denmark (coached by Bora Milotinovic) crushed Nigeria both tactically and physically in a one-sided match. The entire Romanian squad played with dyed blond hair against Croatia – it did not help them though as the Croatians prevailed 1-0. Argentina and England produced a controversial yet entertaining encounter. Argentina won with a goal from a cunning set piece. Young David Beckham was ejected early on and was later blamed for his country’s defeat.

Quarterfinals

3.7.1998 Brazil Denmark 3 – 2
Italy France 0 – 0 (3-4)
4.7.1998 Holland Argentina 2 – 1
Germany Croatia 0 – 3

Brazil barely managed to defeat the inspired Danish squad that was coming from a 3-0 victory over Nigeria. Italy lost to France on penalties with Dino Baggio missing a decisive penalty in the shootout. Germany was eliminated in the quarterfinals by tournament surprise Croatia. Croatia’s creative midfield line and Davor Suker’s consistent scoring proved to be too much for the Germans.

Semi-finals

7.7.1998 Brazil Holland 1 – 1 (4-2)
8.7.1998 Croatia France 1 – 2

In the first semifinal match, Brazil struggled against Holland. A superb performance from goalkeeper Taffarel gave Brazil an edge over the Dutch. Croatia and France met in an interesting tactical battle. Croatia showed a lot of heart but was set back by dubious refereeing. Defender Thuram scored two goals that shaped France’s 2-0 victory.

Third place

11.7.1998 Croatia Holland 2 – 1

Croatia, a newcomer to the World Cup, managed to earn a 2-1 victory over Holland in the third place match.

Final

Date 12.7.1998
Attendance 75,000
Referee S.Belqola (Morocco)
Brazil 0 France 3
Taffarel
Cafu
Aldair
Junior Baiano
Roberto Carlos
Dunga
Cesar Sampaio (75′ Out)
Leonardo (46′ Out)
Rivaldo
Ronaldo
Bebeto
Edmundo (75′ In)
Denilson (46′ In)
Barthez
Lizarazu
Desailly (66′ Off)
Leboeuf
Thuram
Petit
Deschamps
Karembeu (58′ Out)
Zidane
Guivarc’h (66′ Out)
Djorkaeff (76′ Out)
Boghossian (58′ In)
Dugarry (66′ In)
Vieira (76′ In)

In the final, host nation France faced Brazil. Ronaldo was hyped to be Brazil’s primary attacking threat but he failed to crack the physical French defense. France led by Zinedine Zidane outperformed Brazil nearly in every way. Zidane himself headed in two goals. Emanuel Petit contributed too for the 3-0 victory. After the final, it was reported that Ronaldo may have been sick during the match. In reality, Rivaldo was much more impressive throughout the tournament but remained in the shadow of his younger teammate.

Underdogs USA and Iran displaying sportsmanship just before their World Cup encounter. Iran won the match 2-1.

Underdogs USA and Iran displaying sportsmanship just before their World Cup encounter. Iran won the match 2-1.

Ronaldo evades Ronald De Boer in the semi-final between Brazil and Holland

Ronaldo evades Ronald De Boer in the semi-final between Brazil and Holland

David Beckham receives the infamous red card in the 1998 classic England versus Argentina. English fans claim that this was the sole reason for England's 2-1 defeat.

David Beckham receives the infamous red card in the 1998 classic England versus Argentina. English fans claim that this was the sole reason for England’s 2-1 defeat.

Brazil and France lined up just before the World Cup Final. The South Americans were viewed as favorites to win.

Brazil and France lined up just before the World Cup Final. The South Americans were viewed as favorites to win.

Zinedine Zidane scored two nearly identical goals in the 1998 World Cup final.

Zinedine Zidane scored two nearly identical goals in the 1998 World Cup final.

Downtown Paris swarming with football fans in celebration of France's first World Cup title.

Downtown Paris swarming with football fans in celebration of France’s first World Cup title.