France have not been able to repeat their famous 3-0 victory against Brazil over the past 16 years, to earn their second tittle after their first back in 1998. But a young refreshed squad could bring back the memories next June In Brazil.
A World Cup final in Germany and two-group stages elimination in 2002 and 2010 is what the French have done after their glorious campaign in 1998 at home.
France hosted the FIFA World Cup for the second in history in 1998 – the first in 1938 – and lifted the golden trophy after beating Brazil by three goals. Zinedine Zidane opened the score line after 27 minutes and doubled it just before half-time, and Emmanuel Petit netted the third three minutes in to injury time just to make it more enjoyable at home.
Beating Paraguay 1-0 in the last eight tie, Italy on penalties in the quarter-final and crushing Croatia with a 2-1 win was how the mighty French have done in their own country.
But since then, it has not been ‘glory glory days’ as they finished bottom of Group A with one point, the following World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002.
Senegal who made their first apparition in the tournament defeated the champions with an impressive 1-0 victory, and a 0-0 draw against Uruguay gave the only France had in the tournament.
Denmark who finished just behind France in 1998 put France deeper into their nightmare with a 2-0 win.
With top man Zidane, who did not performed due to injuries, and Thierry Henry sent off just after 25 minutes against Uruguay did not helped the French to maintain their champions reputation.
And the same scenario happened four years ago in South Africa, earning just one point and being expelled of the World Cup.
Uruguay gifted again France of their only point as they faced for another, and a 2-0 loss against Mexico followed by a 2-1 defeat against the host South Africa just carried the tricolore flag out of the biggest tournament.
But in-between the French were closed to lift their second pot, reaching the final against neighbour Italy.
A 2-0 victory against Togo and two precious two draw against Switzerland (0-0) and South Korea (1-1) brought them through the group stages, with Zidane available.
Knocking out current world number one Spain with a 3-1 victory and crushing Brazil then Portugal with a 1-0 win was how ‘Les Blues’ reach the 2008 World Cup final in Berlin.
The final was something special in France with everyone who could not travel down the street watching on big screen.
And taking the lead just after seven minutes in the first-half, excitement and glorious atmosphere were animating every town and city in France.
A 19-minute equalizer from Marco Materazzi just raised the excitement, and a stressful second-half was just what anyone could ask in terms of emotions.
But a few minutes before the final whistle Zidane head-bodied Italy’s scorer Materazzi after he swore at him, and with the referee showing the red card to end Zidane football career – as he claimed he will retire after the tournament – everyone in France knew that it was al over.
It went to extra-time and obviously lost on penalty, it was obvious for a French man.
France have built a new squad since the last World Cup, and both manager Laren Blanc and Didier Deschamps current head coach have brought young talented players playing across Europe
And after making history winning 3-0 from a 2-0 deficit at halfway and qualify for the World Cup – none have done it before – France reputation could be earned back in June, but as expected it is going to be tough to reach the final as no European team won the tournament in South America.
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