Qualification for the finals began in
March 1996 and concluded in November 1997. For the first time in the
competition, the group stage were expanded from 24 teams to 32, with
eight groups of four. A total of 64 matches were played in 10 stadiums
located across 10 different host cities, with the opening match and
final staged at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.
The tournament was won by France, who beat Brazil 3–0 in the final. France won their first title, becoming the seventh nation to win a World Cup, and the sixth (after Uruguay, Italy, England, West Germany and Argentina) to win the tournament on home soil, it's also to date the last time.
World Cup 1998 Facts
World Cup 1998 Background
For the 16th World Cup 3 countries were interested in hosting the tournament. The European countries Switzerland and France and African country Morocco placed a bid. Switzerland had to withdraw due to the inability to meet FIFA’s requirements. Only the 2 other remaining countries would be included in the voting process. Morocco received 7 votes and France 12 votes.
On July 1 1992, FIFA’s executive committee announced in Zürich that France won the vote and would therefore host the 1998 World Cup. Apparently the World Cup was not ready to be hosted in Africa yet since Morocco lost the bid for the 2nd time in a row. France would be the 3rd country to host a World Cup twice after Mexico and Italy. The first time France hosted a World Cup was 60 years earlier, back in 1938.
World Cup 1998 Participants
174 countries participated in the qualification rounds. But in comparison with the previous World Cups, there would be more places to allocate. After FIFA increased the amount of 16 participants to 24 participants in Spain ‘82, FIFA decided to increase the number again. From France ‘98 on, a total of 32 countries were able to participate in a World Cup.
This increase in participants meant more countries per continent could qualify for a World Cup. The countries France (host country) and Brazil (1994 World Cup winner) were automatically qualified.
14 places for Europe excluding France were allocated to the following countries: Norway, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Yugoslavia, Romania, England and Croatia. Croatia qualified for the first time. Yugoslavia qualified for the first and only time as Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) since the breakup of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992.
5 places for Africa were allocated to the following countries: Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria, Tunisia and South Africa which qualified for the first time. Tunisia qualified for the first time since 1978.
4 places for South America excluding Brazil were allocated to the following countries: Chile, Paraguay, Colombia and Argentina.
3 places for North/Central America and Caribbean were allocated to the following countries: United States, Mexico and Jamaica which qualified for the first time.
3 places for Asia were allocated to the following countries: Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Japan qualified for the first time.
1 intercontinental play-off had to be played by 2 countries which didn’t qualify directly: OFC country Australia against AFC country Iran. Iran won the play-off and therefore qualified last minute for the 1998 World Cup. It was the first time since 1978 that Iran qualified again for a World Cup.
World Cup 1998 Groups
Since France ’98 would contain 32 teams in total for the very first time, the format had to be changed again. However it would still be similar to the 1994 World Cup format. Basically the only difference was the absence of third place teams advancing to the next round. Since the 1986 World Cup, 4 third place teams would also advance to the Round of 16. This rule has been abandoned since 2 extra groups were introduced in the 1998 World Cup: G and H.
Since 32 teams participated, the 4 third place teams simply have been replaced with the 1st and 2nd place teams of group G and H. In total 16 participants would still advance to the Round of 16 where the knockout stage started. Only after the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final the Final was reached.
Again the number 1 teams of the groups played only against the number 2 teams of other groups after the group stage. From the 1974 World Cup till the 1994 World Cup this wasn’t always the case. In 1974 and 1978 there were no knockout stages except for the Final and the match for the third place. From 1986 till 1994 there were groups which contained 3 teams to advance to the next round and not only 2 teams.
The 1998 world Cup is the first World Cup where each match in the first 2 rounds of group play and the whole knockout stage would be played separately. This was chosen in order to maximize television audiences. In previous World Cups, certain matches outside the last round of group play were played simultaneously.
An interesting new aspect in the format was the introduction of the Golden Goal rule. When a goal was scored during extra time in a knockout match, the match was immediately over. A Golden Goal only occurred once in this World Cup. However, this rule would only exist temporary in World Cup history.
For the group matches 3 points were still rewarded for a win and 1 for a draw. The last 2 matches of each group were played at the same time which was introduced in the 1986 World Cup.
The 8 seed countries were Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Romania and Argentina. They were kept apart from each other and were placed in different groups.
The group draw was held live in a football stadium for the first time in FIFA history (Stade Vélodrome in Marseille).
The groups were as followed:
World Cup 1998 Stadiums
10 stadiums in 10 host cities have been used to host the 1998 World Cup matches. This was the original amount of stadiums that was used in the 1938 World Cup hosted in France. The city Lyon that eventually wasn’t used in the 1938 World Cup was this time included to host 6 matches.
Of the 9 stadiums used in 1938, only 4 were used again in the 1998 World Cup. The stadiums in the cities Marseille, Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux were used again. The Final was held in Stade de France in Saint-Denis and not in Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris as was the case in France ’38.
The following 10 cities and 10 stadiums were used in France:
World Cup 1998 Schedule
World Cup 1998 Memorable Matches
Brazil – Norway 1-2
This was the last group match for both countries. Brazil won the first and 2nd match and it was expected they would beat Norway as well. Especially Morocco was hoping this since they depended on Brazil to advance. Morocco won their last match against Scotland so in order to advance, Brazil had to win as well. But this didn’t happen. Brazil lost their only match of the 1998 World Cup before reaching the Final. Brazilian forward Bebeto scored the first goal, but soon afterwards Tore André Flo and Kjetil Rekdal scored for Norway. Rekdal’s goal was a controversial penalty. Everyone though the referee made a mistake by giving that penalty, but later on with unique footage, it became evident Norway did deserve that penalty. The last time Brazil lost a first round match was in the 1966 World Cup against Hungary and Portugal. Morocco was out due to Brazil’s loss and Norway joined Brazil to the next round.Group B
Italy – Chile 2-2
This is the 2nd time since the 1962 World Cup match ‘Battle of Santiago’ that both teams met in a World Cup. Chile won against Italy in 1962 and Italy won against Chile in 1966. This time the match ended in a draw. Marcelo Salas scored both goals for Chile and Christian Vieri and Roberto Baggio scored for Italy. Baggio’s 2nd goal was an important one since it was a penalty kick. Remembering the 1994 World Cup Final penalty miss, he prepared himself mentality to get rid of his past demons once and for all. He scored the penalty and prevented Italy from losing the group match. Both Chile and Italy advanced to the Round of 16 leaving Cameroon and Austria behind. In the Quarter-Final Robert Baggio had to take a penalty again, which was in a penalty shootout. Although he scored again, it was France which won the shootout.Group C
France – South Africa 3-0
France started the tournament excellent with an impressive win. Substitute Christophe Dugarry scored the first goal for France and celebrated this in a very exiting way… South Africa which qualified for the first time for a World Cup scored an unfortunate own goal by Pierre Issa. Therefore the score changed into 2-0. Thierry Henry scored the final goal in injury time. France would win with an impressive score in the next match against Saudi Aurabia as well. They advanced together with Denmark.Group D
Spain – Nigeria 2-3
This first group match for Spain and Nigeria ended up being fatal for Spain. The first half ended with a 2-1 score for Spain. Fernando Hierro and Raúl were the goal scorers and Mutiu Adepoju scored for Nigeria. In the 2nd half Nigeria surprised Spain by scoring 2 goals in a time span of 5 minutes. Garba Lawal scored the first goal in the 2nd half and Sunday Oliseh the 3rd which was a powerful shot from a long distance. Nigeria won and ended up topping the group as was the case in their first World Cup in 1994. Spain’s World Cup experience ended in the group stage although they defeated Bulgaria with 6-1. But since Nigeria lost against Paraguay with a 1-3 score, Paraguay advanced and not Spain.Group E
Netherlands – Belgium 0-0
Again they met each other in a World Cup. This was the 2nd time. Their first time was in the 1994 World Cup which was won by Belgium. This time the match ended in a draw. Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert received the red card when he hit Belgian midfielder Lorenzo Staelens with the elbow. Apparently Staelens made ugly statements which resulted in Kluivert’s action. Nevertheless, Kluivert would return later on in the tournament. Belgium ended up drawing every match and therefore didn’t make it to the next ground. It was Mexico which joined the Netherlands to the Round of 16. The Netherlands and Mexico had equal amount of points, so the goal difference rule determined the Netherlands would top the group. Group F
USA – Iran 1-2
1 of the most political charges matches in World Cup History was Iran against USA. This was the first and last time so far they have met in a World Cup. Before the match both teams gathered to take a group photo, a great moment this was in the history of football. Due to their political relationship, this match was perceived as a very important one. When Iran won, the whole country celebrated like they have won the World Cup, an important achievement the win became. Hamid Estili and Mehdi Mahdavikia became the heroes and celebrated their goals with lots of emotion. USA striker Brian McBride scored 1 goal for USA but the damage was already done: Iran won. So far this is the only World Cup match Iran has won. Eventually both countries became eliminated while Germany and Yugoslavia advanced. The goal difference rule had to determine who would top the group, which ended up being Germany. But for Iran there was at least some success in the 1998 World Cup.Group G
Romania – England 2-1
England won the group match against Tunisia and Colombia. But they didn’t top the group due to the loss against Romania in this match. Viorel Moldovan and Dan Petrescu scored both goals for Romania. Striker Michael Owen scored for England. England lost but both teams advanced to the Round of 16. Romania topped the group although they drew against Tunisia. That was the only group match Tunisia didn’t lose. A funny fact is that the Romanian team bleached their hair before the match against Tunisia. Every Romanian player on the field had blond hair except for the keeper, who didn’t have hair to bleach!Group H
Argentina – Croatia 1-0
3 countries played a World Cup for the first time: Croatia, Jamaica and Japan. 2 of them became eliminated after the group stage: Jamaica and Japan. Croatia had other plans. This is the only match Croatia lost in the group stage. Argentina scored 1 goal by defender Mauricio Pineda. Although Argentina topped the group, Croatia would become more successful in the 1998 World Cup. In a further stage of the tournament, Croatia would defeat the country which would cause Argentina’s elimination in the Quarter-Final.Round of 16
France – Paraguay 1-0
Paraguay reached the Round of 16 for the first time in 1986. But in this World Cup they wouldn’t reach the Quarter-Finals for the first time. They had to wait 12 more years. For 112 minutes France couldn’t beat charismatic Paraguayan goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert. Paraguay lost this match due to a rule which has been used in only 2 World Cups (1998 and 2002). It was the Golden Goal rule. France scored the first World Cup Golden Goal in extra time and the match immediately ended. The Golden Goal rule was simple: who scored in extra time won the match immediately. Laurent Blanc was the hero of the match and Paraguay was eliminated.Nigeria – Denmark 1-4
Stade de France, Saint-Denis – attendance: 77,000
Although Nigeria topped group D, they were no match for Denmark. Peter Møller, Brian Laudrup, Ebbe Sand and Thomas Helveg scored a goal for Denmark. Ebbe Sand became the fastest World Cup goal scorer as a substitute. He only needed 16 seconds after coming into the field. Tijani Babangida scored the only goal for Nigeria. Denmark advanced to the Quarter-Final. However, in their next match Brazil would eliminate them. This match against Brazil was the last international match for the legendary brothers Brian and Michael Laudrup.etherlands – Yugoslavia 2-1
Stade de Toulouse, Toulouse – attendance: 33,500
Yugoslavia was playing their first and last World Cup as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the 2006 World Cup they would play as the Serbia and Montenegro national football team. From the 2010 World Cup on the team is called the Serbia national team since they are considered as the sole successor of both Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro teams. Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp scored the first goal of this match and Slobodan Komljenović scored for Yugoslavia. During the match Dennis Bergkamp quickly kicked Yugoslav player Siniša Mihajlović while he was on the ground. This wasn’t noticed by the referee. Bergkamp was lucky not to have received the red card. In injury time, when everybody thought extra time had to be played, Edgar Davids scored an unexpected goal. From a far distance he tried the shot himself and ended up scoring the winning goal. The Netherlands advanced to the Quarter-Final as was the case 4 years earlier in USA ’94.Argentina – England 2-2 (4-3)
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne – attendance: 30,600
1 of the most memorable and entertaining matches was between Argentina and England. Classic moments occurred in this match. Each team scored their first goal with a penalty kick. The first was scored by Gabriel Batistuta for Argentina and the 2nd by Alan Shearer for England. 16 minutes later English striker Michael Owen scored a legendary goal which is considered as 1 of the greatest World Cup goals. He was only 18 years old. But unfortunately for England this was not the winning goal. Argentinian midfielder Javier Zanetti scored the equalizer just before half time. In the 2nd half and extra time no goals were scored. But a memorable moment happened in the 2nd half. Midfielder David Beckham received the red card. While lying on the field, he made a kick attempt to Argentinian Diego Simeone who purposely fell on the ground. The referee witnessed the happening and sent Beckham off. This made England furious (since they lost this match) and Beckham would temporarily suffer from threats made by English fans. English center back Sol Campbell’s scored as well but although he celebrated with such emotion, it was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper. The score was still 2-2 and the first penalty shootout of the tournament had to be taken. Sergio Berti, Juan Sebastián Verón, Marcelo Gallardo and Roberto Ayala scored their penalty. Hernán Crespo was the only one who missed. From England’s side, Alan Shearer, Paul Merson and Michael Owen scored their penalties. Paul Ince and David Batty missed. England became eliminated for a 2nd time due to the penalty shootout. Many English fans blamed David Beckham for missing the Quarter-Final.
Netherlands – Argentina 2-1
A very memorable Quarter-Final! Both countries haven’t encountered each other since the 1978 World Cup Final. Only this time the end result turned out very differently. Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert scored the first goal of the match after a nice pass by Dennis Bergkamp with the head. Argentinian forward Claudio López scored quickly after 6 minutes the 1-1. Argentina tried to score the winning goal but without success. Ariel Ortega faked a foul in the hopes of a penalty kick but the referee was smarter. He gave Ortega the red card after he hurt Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. But as was the case in the previous match of the Netherlands, a last minute goal was scored. Frank de Boer passed the ball from a huge distance where striker Dennis Bergkamp took the ball in full control and scored magnificently. This goal is also considered as 1 of the greatest goals in World Cup history. Argentina lost the match and the Netherlands advanced for the first time to the Semi-Final since the 1978 World Cup.Germany – Croatia 0-3
Stade Gerland, Lyon – attendance: 39,100
And again did Germany lose to an opponent you would not expect. In the 1994 World Cup it was Bulgaria to eliminate Germany. In France ’98 it was Croatia which played their first World Cup. Croatian wingback Robert Jarni scored the only goal of the first half. In the 2nd half Croatia surprised the world by scoring 2 more goals in the last 10 minutes of the match. A happening which is normally expected from Germany. Goran Vlaović and Davor Šuker were the goalscorers. Croatia won with 3-0 and Germany was eliminated in a Quarter-Final to a remarkable opponent, again. One player who played his final World Cup match against Croatia was German Lothar Matthäus. He played in 5 consecutive World Cups. He has played a record amount of 25 World Cup matches in total from 1982 till 1998.Semi-Finals
Brazil – Netherlands 1-1 (4-2)
2 tough opponents Brazil and the Netherlands. They have played against each other couple of times already in a World Cup and this match would certainly not be there last. A very exciting match this was where striker Ronaldo scored the only goal for Brazil. In a few previous matches, the Netherlands scored a last minute winning goal. This time the last minute goal by Patrick Kluivert prevented the Netherlands from being eliminated immediately. For the first time the Netherlands had to participate in a World Cup penalty shootout. But it was Brazil which prevailed. Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Emerson and Dunga scored their penalty successfully. Frank de Boer and Bergkamp were the only players to score for Holland. Phillip Cocu and Ronald de Boer missed. It would take 12 years before the Netherlands would see another Semi-Final again. Brazil entered the Final again after having succeeded this 4 years earlier.
France – Croatia 2-1
Stade de France, Saint-Denis – attendance: 76,000
This is the 3rd time in a row France made it to a Semi-Final. France reached the Semi-Final in 1982 and 1986 as well. They didn’t participate in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups though. They only had to beat Croatia in order to reach the Final for the first time in World Cup history. Croatia surprised the world by beating teams such as Romania and Germany. It was a tough match for both teams. Croatian Davor Šuker scored the first goal of the match. However on this day it was Lilian Thuram who became the hero of France. He scored both goals which created the very first safe passage to a World Cup Final. Coincidentally in his career of 142 caps, these 2 goals were his only goals scored for France! Croatia lost the match but did win the match for the third place. Davor Šuker was 1 of the goalscorers and ended up being the 1998 World Cup top scorer with 6 goals.
World Cup 1998 Final
Brazil and France met for the first time in a Final. This was the first time France reached a World Cup Final and for Brazil it was the 6th time.
Brazil was considered as 1 of the favourites with star players Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Bebeto, Roberto Carlos and Denilson among others. Every match was won except for the group match against Norway. Against the Netherlands in the Semi-Final they barely won by winning a penalty shootout.
France became a popular team which showed they are a serious contestant for the FIFA World Cup trophy. With star players such as Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc and Youri Djorkaeff, the 1998 World Cup teams soon found out not to underestimate the French team. They won every single match, and like Brazil, they had to go through a penalty shootout. This was against Italy in the Quarter-Final. Against Paraguay in the Quarter-Final they barely won as well due to a Golden Goal in extra time.
France and Brazil encountered each other for the 3rd time in a World Cup. They played against each other in the 1958 and 1986 World Cup. Brazil won in 1958 and France in 1986.
On the 12th of June, the Final was held in Stade de France, Saint-Denis with an attendance of 75,000. There existed some controversy regarding Brazilian player Ronaldo. On the eve of the Final, he suffered an epileptic seizure which was witnessed by player Roberto Carlos. The trainer Mário Zagallo therefore excluded Ronaldo from the starting eleven. However 72 minutes before the kick-off, it was announced Ronaldo would play in the Final. During the match it was visible he wasn’t 100% fit like he was in previous matches. Therefore many conspiracies exist whether Ronaldo was forced to play this Final against his will. Such theories were never proven.
In the first half hour the first goal of the Final was scored by Zinedine Zidane (27′). The goal was scored with the head from a corner and was impossible for goalkeeper Taffarel to stop. In injury time Zinedine Zidane scored an identical goal, changing the score into 0-2 before half time.
In the 2nd half there were only 22 minutes left when Marcel Desailly received the red card. This however didn’t change much Brazil. They even had to endure another goal from France. It was Emmanuel Petit who changed the score into a final 0-3 in injury time.
Brazil was beaten with a unique score of 0-3. Never in World Cup history has Brazil lost a match with a goal difference of 3. They would have their revenge though in the first World Cup of the 3rd millennium.
France won the World Cup for the first and last time so far. 2 days later after the Final, France celebrated the French Nation Day (Bastille Day) which was celebrated more intensely due to the win of the 1998 World Cup Final. A team representing the multi-racial mix of modern France unified the country.
World Cup 1998 Mascot
Like the 1994 World Cup mascot, FIFA introduced another animal to be a World Cup mascot. The animal is a rooster and goes by the name Footix. Only there is a significant difference between Striker the World Cup pup and Footix. A rooster is the national emblem and traditional symbol of France. Even the French Football Association contains an image of a rooster. Therefore the choice of introducing a rooster as the mascot was received positively. The name Footix comes from the word football and French comic hero Astérix the Gaul and was chosen because of a contest on French television. Around 19,000 French residents voted for the name Footix. Unlike the 1966 mascot World Cup Willie and 1994 mascot Striker, Footix contains the colours of the host nation’s flag. He is also holding the Tricolore 1998 World Cup mach ball which is visible in the France 1998 logo. His chest states FRANCE 98 and he appears to have the proper feet to play football. Footix with his friendly smile was 1 of the more memorable mascots in World Cup history. As always a mascot contributes to the promotion of the World Cup and the entertainment of the crowd. Footix however, became a celebrity through its extensive use by the Official Partners of the World Cup for licensing and merchandising programs. In a 2008 FIFA.com poll, Footix became a very close 2nd with 27.61% of the most popular World Cup mascot of the last 5 World Cups before South Africa 2010 (1990 – 2006).
World Cup 1998 Songs
The 1998 World Cup contained more songs than the previous World Cups. There was an official theme and an official song. From this World Cup on, every upcoming World Cup would contain both an anthem and a song. The France 1998 anthem with the title La Cour des Grands (Do You Mind If I Play) was sung by famous Senegalese singer Youssou N’ Dour and Belgian singer-songwriter Axelle Red. The anthem is sung in both French and English.GO GO GO ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ! Although the national anthem was received positively, it was far from popular as was Ricky Martin’s La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life). It is really hard to sit still while listening to this official 1998 World Cup tune. La Copa de la Vida topped the charts in many countries around the world. The popularity of this high tempo Latin rhythmic song was so huge, it alone contributed to the big success of the 1998 World Cup. Ricky uses both the English and Spanish language in this official song. There is also a version in the Spanish language only. Another song that is considered as the World cup theme song is a collaboration between French electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre and Japanese composer and producer Tetsuya Komuro. The electronic song is called Together Now and is sung in both English and Spanish. Japanese American singer-songwriter Olivia Lufkin was responsible for both the vocals and lyrics. Alright, just 1 more song…although this is not an official World Cup song, it does deserve its place here. The song is often referred as the unofficial 1998 World Cup song. It became so popular; it is still played in major tournaments. The song is called Carnaval de Paris and is performed by English dance trio Dario G. If it wasn’t for the title, you would forget this song became popular during the 1998 World Cup. The music video is just as epic as the song itself and became an instant classic. Simply excellent.
World Cup 1998 Records
Did You Know
World Cup 1998 FIFA Awards
World Cup 1998 FIFA All-Star Team
This is the first All-Star Team to include 16 players in total with 2 keepers. This is also the first and last time 2 brothers were included together: The Danish players Brian and Michael Laudrup. This is the last time so far Denmark is included. Both Croatia and Paraguay made their first and last appearance so far. Brazilian player Dunga is included for a 2nd time. 3 other Brazilian players would be included in the next All-Star Team as well: Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo. French players Lilian Thuram and Zinedine Zidane would be included again in a future FIFA All-Star Team.
World Cup 1998 in Action
1994 FIFA World Cup Intro 1998 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 1 1998 FIFA World Cup Highlights Part 2 All The Goals Of FIFA World Cup France 98 Top 20 Goals from the FIFA World Cup 98 1998 World Cup opening ceremony Football more than a game – France part 1 Football more than a game – France part 2 Football more than a game – France part 3 Football more than a game – France part 4 Football more than a game – France part 5 La Coupe de la Gloire - Official 1998 World Cup Movie (in Portuguese)
World Cup English