Zinedine Zidane

FIFA World Cup™ in review: 1998 France

1998 FIFA World Cup France

The ball: EQT Tricolore

1998

The winner: France

The runners-up: Brazil

The difference maker: Brazil’s Ronaldo, tabbed the best player in the world in the build-up to the event, took the tournament by storm; scoring four goals and driving the Selecao’s colorful attack forward with artistry and adventure. The night before the final against France, Ronaldo suffered a convulsive fit. He was removed from the Starting XI two hours before the match before convincing manager Mario Zagallo to put him back in the squad.

Playing clearly less than his best, Ronaldo was further hampered when he collided violently with eccentric French goalkeeper Fabian Barthez. Up until the final, Ronaldo was the difference for Brazil, and his inability to perform at his best proved the difference for France, too.

The lasting memory: Played with a colored ball for the first time in the history of the tournament, the 1998 competition is fondly recalled by Les Bleus supporters for Zinedine Zidane’s two first half headers from corner kicks in the final against Brazil. Zidane’s heroics ensured that France, the home of former FIFA President Jules Rimet, who was the driving force behind the start the World Cup™ tradition in 1930, won its first title, the victory coming on home soil and sending the country into a frenzy of delight.