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Vive la France

Host nation routs Brazilians 3-0 in World Cup final

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Posted: Tuesday December 01, 1998 10:23 PM

  France's coach Aime Jacquet holds the World Cup after leading the host nation France to its first-ever championship Ben Radford/Allsport

PARIS (CNN/SI) -- The idea for the World Cup was French in origin. Sunday night the World Cup trophy finally belonged to France.

France stunned Brazil 3-0, thanks to midfielder Zinedine Zidane's two goals, Emmanuel Petit's late strike, and a stifling defense, which kept the tournament's top-scoring team from creating many chances.

Zidane headed the first in the 27th minute from Petit's leftwing corner and his second came in the final minute of the first half this time from a rightwing corner from Youri Djorkaeff.

Petit added the third on a breakaway in second-half injury time with Brazil already a beaten team.

The French, playing their first ever final, had to defend its two-goal lead without star defender Marcel Desailly for the last 22 minutes. The center-back, who had superbly kept the Brazilian strike force quiet, was expelled for his second yellow card.

But Aime Jacquet's team still created the best chances of the game and Stephane Guivarc'h squandered three opportunities with goalkeeper Taffarel to beat.

"We won the final because we wanted it the most," Jacquet said. "It was the result of hard work. We really worked as a team. There was good will and friendship between all of us.

"We played better and better because we had confidence and we proved we had great players."

Zidane will long be revered as the hero of the country with his two goals in the first half Stu Forster/Allsport 

Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo said his team never recovered from a slow start and never looked like winning a fifth championship.

The man who helped Brazil win a record four world titles now is responsible for its worst World Cup loss.

"Brazil lost the final in the first half," he said. "In the second half we did everything we could but we were not able to make up the difference."

Zagallo saluted France for beating his superstars, but that 3-0 scoreline is one Brazil has never experienced before in soccer's world championship.

"The whole nation was behind France," Zagallo said. "The fifth title will have to be some other time. This wasn't our day. France was better."

The French almost made a sensational start to the final when Didier Deschamps fired a long ball forwards from deep in his own half and Stephane Guivarc'h held off a challenge from Junior Baiano before trying an audacious overhead shot over the top.

In the fourth minute, Djorkaeff slipped a neat ball through to Zidane who did well to lay it off to Guivarc'h in front of the Brazilian goal. Guivarc'h only had goalkeeper Taffarel to beat from 12 meters but lost control and Junior Baiano's challenge ensured his shot was both weak and inaccurate.

The French had another chance in the seventh minute when Zidane swung in a free kick from the left. Djorkaeff and Guivarc'h were both unchallenged as they went for the ball at the near post, but Djorkaeff got his shoulder rather than his head to the ball and the Brazilians were relieved to see the effort go tamely wide.

  Barthez made several big saves on the afternoon, as he recorded his fifth shutout of the World Cup Ross Kinnaird/Allsport

Ronaldo, who was pulled from the initial Brazilian starting lineup because of tendinitis trouble but reinstated only 45 minutes before kickoff, sprang into life in the 22nd minute. He dribbled past Lilian Thuram down the left and sent over a teasing cross which Barthez struggled to hold underneath the crossbar.

But the French came back to take the lead in the 27th minute after Roberto Carlos needlessly conceded a corner and got a telling off from Moroccan referee Said Belqola for angrily kicking the corner flag in frustration.

Petit curled in the flag kick from the right hand side, and Zidane climbed above Leonardo at the near post to head powerfully downward and past Taffarel.

Three minutes before halftime, the French went close to increasing the lead when the the ball broke to Petit in front of goal but his shot was deflected into the side netting.

Taffarel made a stunning reflex save from the unmarked Guivarc'h, and Djorkaeff drove another corner towards the near post where Zidane ducked to head inside the post and put the Brazilians under huge pressure for the second half.

Wily Brazilian coach Zagallo sent on Denilson for Leonardo for the second half, but it was Ronaldo who had a great chance to pull a goal back 11 minutes into the second half.

A left-wing cross from Robeto Carlos dropped to the Inter star at the far post and, although he got clear of a defender, his well struck, close-range shot was held by Barthez.

A blunder by the French keeper set up another chance in the 60th minute when he ran to almost the edge of his area and flapped at a long throw from Roberto Carlos. The ball dropped to Bebeto whose shot was on target, but Desailly was back to clear with Barthez nowhere near his goal.

Ronaldo, who was pulled from the initial Brazilian starting lineup because of tendinitis trouble but reinstated only 45 minutes before kickoff, sprang into life in the 22nd minute Ben Radford/Allsport 

Guivarc'h should have scored a third for France in the 63rd when he pounced on Cafu's weak back header but shot over the top with only Taffarel to beat.

France replaced Christian Karembeu with Alain Boghossian and sent on Christophe Dugarry for Guivarc'h.

But the host was down to 10 players in the 67th minute when Desailly, its best defender in the game, was shown the red card for his second caution of the match when he scythed down Cafu. Desailly received his first early in the second half for dissent.

Zagallo's last throw was to send on striker Edmundo for midfielder Cesar Sampaio with 16 minutes to go and Aime Jacquet responded by taking off striker Djorkaeff and replacing him with midfielder Patrick Vieira.


Brazil - Taffarel; Cafu, Aldair, Junior Baiano, Roberto Carlos; Leonardo (Denilson, 46th), Cesar Sampaio (Edmundo, 74th), Dunga, Rivaldo; Ronaldo, Bebeto.

France - Fabien Barthez; Lilian Thuram; Frank Leboeuf, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizarazu; Christian Karembeu (Alain Boghossian, 57th), Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Emmanuel Petit; Youri Djorkaeff (Patrick Vieira, 76th), Stephane Guivarc'h (Christophe Dugarry, 65th).

Referee - Said Belqola, Morocco.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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