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.
Top player: Zidane
Top goalscorer: 6 Goals – Davor Suker
Top manager: Aime Jacquet
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Brazil – France||0 – 3|
Cesar Sampaio (75′ Out)
Leonardo (46′ Out)
Edmundo (75′ In)
Desailly (66′ Off)
Karembeu (58′ Out)
Guivarc’h (66′ Out)
Djorkaeff (76′ Out)
Boghossian (58′ 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.
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.