The 1998 FIFA World Cup Final was a football match that was played on 12 July 1998 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis to determine the winner of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The final was contested by Brasil, who were the defending champions having won the previous FIFA World Cup four years earlier in 1994, and the host nation France, who had reached the final of the tournament for the first time. France won the match 3–0 to claim the World Cup for the first time, 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 Brasil, 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.
The build-up was dominated by the fitness of Brasil’s star striker, Ronaldo, amid reports that he had suffered a pre-match fit.
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 Brasilian striker. Both needed assistance from the squad medics but quickly recovered. Brasil’s superstar playmakers Leonardo and Rivaldo were kept quiet by Didier Deschamps and Christian Karembeu, and Brasil 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 Brasil’s attack the way they had in the previous match’s of the tournament. As stoppage time began, France had an excellent chance to double their lead when a miscue by Brasil’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 Brasil 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. Brasil 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.
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