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45

45th Minute, Zinedine Zidane, France v Brazil, 1998 World Cup Final

Context

Under the guidance of Aimé Jacquet made it all the way to the World Cup final in 1998 as host nation and exceeding expectation. Les Bleus had failed to qualify for the previous two World Cups so were thought to be short of experience. The national team of 1998 reflected the ethnic diversity of the country. Armenia, Guadeloupe, New Caledonia, Argentina, Ghana, Senegal, Italy, French Guiana, Portugal and Martinique with the genius of the team being Zinédine Zidane, who was born in Marseille to Algerian immigrants. They soon proved they weren’t lacking in experience nor quality. Their run to the finals was looked at as favourable.

Their group consisted of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Denmark. They won all three games fairly comfortably but in the second round it took a Golden Goal from Laurent Blanc to finally get past Paraguay. A quarter final against Italy was a trying affair but France were eventually victorious on penalties. In the semi-final they had to come from behind to beat Croatia and the goals came from an unlikely source. Lillian Thuram scored his first and last goals in a France shirt to send Les Bleus to the final.

The Goal

Just before half-time France take a deserved lead…

What Happened Next? France won their first ever World Cup, Zidane added a second before Petit completed Brazil’s misery in the final minute.

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