Friday, July 12, 2013

France Beats Brazil To Earn First World Cup Trophy

On July 12, 1998, the final for the World Cup was played at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France.  In that game, France would defeat Brazil by a score of 3-0 to earn their first World Cup trophy.

France breezed through the group stage, winning all three games and scoring nine goals while conceding just one. Things got tougher in the knockout stage, as it took them until extra-time to defeat Paraguay. They needed penalty kicks to beat Italy in the next round and narrowly beating Croatia, 2-1, to reach the finals. Brazil also finished first in their group and crushed Chile in their first knockout game, 4-1. They then went on to defeat Denmark and Holland in the following tow rounds, reaching their second consecutive World Cup final.

In the finals, French midfielder Zinedine Zidane scored two almost identical goals in the first half off corner kicks. Both times Zidane was able to free himself from the Brazilian defender and score on a powerful header. There was no coming back for Brazil in this match, as France became the seventh different nation to win the World Cup and the sixth to do so on home soil.

Since 1998, France has been to the World Cup finals once more, in 2006. That year they lost in penalty kicks to Italy 5-3, after tying in regulation 1-1.

Prior to 1998, France had also placed third in the World Cup twice (1958, 1986), and fourth once (1982).