1998 FIFA World Cup Final
Euro 2016 stade de France France-Roumanie (27307532960).jpg
The Stade de France (pictured in 2016) held the final
Event1998 FIFA World Cup
Date12 July 1998
VenueStade de France, Saint-Denis
Man of the MatchZinedine Zidane (France)
RefereeSaid Belqola (Morocco)
23 °C (73 °F), 50% humidity

The 1998 FIFA World Cup Final was the final match of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the 16th edition of the quadrennial football competition organised by FIFA for the men's national teams of its member associations. The match was played at the Stade de France in Paris, France, on 12 July 1998, and was contested by Brazil and France. The tournament featured France as the hosts, Brazil as the winners of the previous World Cup and 30 other teams who emerged from the qualification tournaments organised by the six FIFA confederations. The 32 teams competed in a group stage, from which 16 teams qualified for the knockout stage. En route to the final, Brazil finished first in Group A, with two wins and one defeat, after which they beat Chile in the round of 16, Denmark in the quarter-finals and the Netherlands in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals. France finished top of Group C with three wins, before defeating Paraguay in the round of 16, Italy in the quarter-final, and Croatia in the semi-final. The final took place in front of 75,000 supporters, with an estimated 1.7 billion watching on television, and was refereed by Said Belqola from Morocco.

Before the match, speculation surrounded the fitness of striker Ronaldo, who was originally left out of Brazil's starting line-up, only to be restored to the team before kick-off. France took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark, when Zinedine Zidane outjumped Leonardo to connect with a header from an in-swinging corner from the right taken by Emmanuel Petit. Zidane scored again, with another header from a corner, shortly before half-time to give France a 2–0 lead. Petit then added a third goal in second-half injury time, striking the ball low into the net following a pass by Patrick Vieira, to complete a 3–0 win for France.

France's win was their first World Cup title, as they became the seventh different nation to win the tournament. Zidane was named the man of the match, while Ronaldo was awarded the Golden Ball as FIFA's outstanding player of the tournament.


An example of the Adidas Tricolore ball used in the match
An example of the Adidas Tricolore ball used in the match

The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the 17th edition of the World Cup, FIFA's football competition for national teams, held in France between 10 June and 12 July 1998.[1][2] The finals featured 32 teams for the first time, up from 24 in the 1994 World Cup.[3] Both France and Brazil qualified automatically for the finals – France as tournament hosts and Brazil because they had won the tournament in 1994.[4] The remaining 30 spots were decided through qualifying rounds held between March 1996 and November 1997, organised by the six FIFA confederations and involving 168 teams.[4][5] In the finals, the teams were divided into eight groups of four with each team playing each other once in a round-robin format. The two top teams from each group advanced to a knock-out stage.[6] The game was played at the Stade de France, in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, an 80,000-capacity stadium which was purpose-built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup because there were no previously-existing venues large enough to accommodate the final.[7]

Brazil had won the previous World Cup in the United States in 1994, defeating Italy in a penalty shoot-out in the final after the match had finished 0–0 after extra time, the first ever goalless final.[1][8] They began the 1998 tournament as favourites with Mário Zagallo, their manager, having been involved with all four previous Brazilian wins – as a player in 1958 and 1962, as manager in 1970 and assistant manager in 1994.[9] France did not qualify for the 1994 tournament because they were eliminated in their qualifying group, finishing behind Sweden and Bulgaria.[10] However, they had followed this up with a run to the semi-finals at UEFA Euro 1996, where which they were beaten in a penalty shoot-out by the Czech Republic. France's midfielder Zinedine Zidane had been tied for third place in the 1997 FIFA World Player of the Year contest and was labelled by former Brazilian Pelé as "one of the players to watch" at the 1998 World Cup.[11] Before the tournament, Aimé Jacquet, the manager of France, told reporters that his team were "here to win the World Cup, nothing less".[11] The two teams had met twice previously in the World Cup – in the semi-final of the 1958 tournament, which Brazil won 5–2, and the quarter-final in 1986 when France won in a penalty shoot-out after the game finished 1–1 after extra time.[12][13][14] Their most recent meeting was in the 1997 Tournoi de France, in a game which finished 1–1.[12]

The match ball for this game was the Adidas Tricolore, which was specifically made for the World Cup. The tricolour flag and Gallic rooster, traditional symbols of France were used as inspiration for the design.[15] More than twenty roughs had been proposed by the Adidas design team before the definitive version was approved.[16]

Route to the final


Brazil's route to the final
Opponent Result
1 Scotland 2–1
2 Morocco 3–0
3 Norway 1–2
R16 Chile 4–1
QF Denmark 3–2
SF Netherlands 1–1 (a.e.t.) (4–2 p)

Brazil were in Group A at the World Cup, in which they were joined by Morocco, Norway and Scotland.[17] Their first game was the tournament opener at the Stade de France, on 10 June against Scotland.[18] Brazil took the lead after four minutes when César Sampaio received the ball in the penalty area from a corner taken by Bebeto, and headed the ball past Jim Leighton in the Scotland goal.[19] Scotland equalised through a penalty scored by John Collins, after Kevin Gallacher had been fouled in the penalty area.[18] Brazil took the lead again in the second half when a volley by Cafu was saved by Leighton but rebounded off Scotland's Tom Boyd for an own goal. Scotland appealed for a second penalty in the final minute, claiming that Dunga had handled the ball, but it was not given and Brazil won 2–1.[19] Their second game was against Morocco, on 16 June at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes. Ronaldo gave Brazil the lead with his first World Cup goal nine minutes into the game, with Rivaldo and Bebeto also scoring to give Brazil a 3–0 win.[20] Brazil were already confirmed as winners of the group before their third game, against Norway, and they took the lead through Bebeto on 77 minutes. Norway responded with two goals in the last ten minutes – Tore André Flo scoring the equaliser and then winning a penalty when he was fouled by Gonçalves. Kjetil Rekdal scored from the penalty spot to give Norway a 2–1 win.[21]

Brazil's opponents in the round of 16 were Chile; the match was played on 27 June at the Parc des Princes in Paris.[22] Brazil took the lead on 11 minutes when a Dunga free kick was met by Sampaio, who was unmarked and headed the ball past goalkeeper Nelson Tapia. Sampaio doubled Brazil's lead on 27 minutes when he shot into the corner of the net following a long-range Roberto Carlos free kick. Ronaldo added a third from a penalty in first-half injury time, after he had been fouled by Tapia.[23] Marcelo Salas pulled a goal back for Chile in the second half, but Ronaldo then scored again to seal a 4–1 Brazilian win.[22] In the quarter-finals they played Denmark at the Stade de la Beaujoire on 3 July.[24] Denmark scored the first goal two minutes into the game through Martin Jørgensen, with Bebeto equalising eight minutes later. Brazil then took the lead with a goal by Rivaldo on 27 minutes, completing a move involving Dunga and Ronaldo. Brian Laudrup levelled the scores five minutes into the second half, but Rivaldo scored again thirty minutes before the end to seal a 3–2 win for Brazil.[25] Brazil's semi-final was against the Netherlands at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.[26] Ronaldo gave Brazil the lead shortly after half-time, but Patrick Kluivert equalised for the Netherlands three minutes before the end. The game went to extra time, with the golden goal rule in effect. There was no further scoring, however, and the game was settled by a penalty shoot-out.[27] Brazil kicked first and the first five penalties were all scored, giving them a 3–2 lead.[26] Brazilian goalkeeper Cláudio Taffarel then saved penalties from Phillip Cocu and Ronald de Boer with Dunga scoring again for Brazil, which meant Brazil won the shoot-out 4–2 and progressed to the final.[26][27]


France's route to the final
Opponent Result
1 South Africa 3–0
2 Saudi Arabia 4–0
3 Denmark 2–1
R16 Paraguay 1–0 (a.e.t.)
QF Italy 0–0 (a.e.t.) (4–3 p)
SF Croatia 2–1

France were drawn in Group C at the finals, alongside Denmark, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.[17] France began their campaign on 12 June against World Cup debutants South Africa at the Stade Vélodrome. In a match which Richard Williams of The Guardian said they "dominated throughout", France won 3–0 with a goal in the first half from Christophe Dugarry, a 77th minute own goal by South Africa's Pierre Issa and a last-minute strike by Thierry Henry.[28] Their second game was against Saudi Arabia at the Stade de France on 18 June. Henry gave France the lead in the first half, scoring from a cross by Bixente Lizarazu, before France scored three goals in the final fifteen minutes through David Trezeguet, Henry again and Lizarazu to complete a 4–0 win. Both sides had a player sent offMohammed Al-Khilaiwi in the 18th minute for Saudi Arabia and Zidane for France on 70 minutes for a stamp on Fuad Anwar.[29] With progression to the knockout stage assured, Jacquet made eight changes to his team for the final game against Denmark at the Stade Gerland in Lyon on 24 June. France took the lead on 13 minutes when Youri Djorkaeff converted a penalty after Jes Høgh fouled Trezeguet. Denmark then won a penalty shortly before half-time for a Vincent Candela foul on Jørgensen which was scored by Michael Laudrup. In the second half, Emmanuel Petit scored with a low shot into the corner of the Danish goal to seal a 2–1 victory and first place in the group.[30]

France's round-of-16 opponents were Paraguay, at the Stade Félix-Bollaert in Lens on 28 June. In a match labelled a "real stinker" by Williams, with France described as "extraordinarily inept", there were no goals during the 90 minutes of normal time and the first period of extra time. With six minutes remaining, France broke the deadlock, Laurent Blanc scoring a golden goal to seal a 1–0 win and a place in the quarter-finals.[31] There, they met Italy, the losing finalists from 1994, at Stade de France on 3 July. There were no goals during normal time and no golden goal, so the game was decided by a penalty shoot-out.[32] With France taking the first penalty, both sides scored their openers, before goalkeepers Gianluca Pagliuca and Fabien Barthez saved a penalty each, from Lizarazu and Demetrio Albertini respectively. The next five were all scored to leave France 4–3 ahead with one Italian penalty remaining. Luigi Di Biagio struck the crossbar with his kick and France advanced to the semi-finals with a 4–3 shoot-out win.[33] They returned to the Stade de France on 8 July for a semi-final against Croatia. After a goalless first half, there were two goals in quick succession shortly after half-time as Davor Šuker gave Croatia the lead before Lilian Thuram equalised for France. Thuram then gave France the lead on 70 minutes and, despite Blanc being sent off five minutes later for violent conduct towards Slaven Bilić, France held on for a 2–1 win and a place in the final.[34][35]


Brazil were considered the favourites by bookmakers before the match, with odds of 4–6 for them to win the tournament, compared with 6–5 for France.[36]

Match officials

Said Belqola of Morocco was selected to referee the final. An amateur who worked as a customs officer professionally, he had begun officiating in 1983 before being selected to referee international matches in 1993.[37] Prior to the 1998 World Cup he had refereed two matches each at the 1996 and 1998 African Cup of Nations, including the final of the latter tournament, between South Africa and Egypt.[38][39][40][41] At the 1998 World Cup he had refereed the Argentina vs Croatia and Germany vs United States group games.[42][43] The assistant referees were Mark Warren of England and Achmat Salie of South Africa, while Saudi Arabia's Abdul Rahman Al-Zaid was the fourth official.[44]

Team selection

In what was later described by writers for BBC Sport as the "great World Cup final mystery",[45] Ronaldo was omitted from the official teamsheet which Zagallo presented to FIFA at 7:48 pm local time (5:48 pm UTC), 72 minutes before kick off, with Edmundo named in his stead. Reporters for the BBC and other media received the news shortly after 8 pm had not expected this development, with John Motson describing scenes of "absolute mayhem and chaos" in the commentary box. At 8:18, however, Brazil submitted a modified teamsheet with Ronaldo's name reinstated.[46] It was revealed several years later that Ronaldo had suffered a convulsive fit on the afternoon of the match, had lost consciousness and spent three hours in hospital, but decided shortly before the match began that he still wished to play.[47] With the exception of Cafu, who had been suspended for Brazil's semi-final match and returned in place of Zé Carlos, Brazil therefore named an unchanged side with Edmundo on the substitutes' bench.[26][47][48] Blanc was suspended following his semi-final red card and his place in the French team was taken by Frank Leboeuf.[49] Otherwise, France named an unchanged team.[35][48]


First half

France kicked off the match at 9 pm local time, in front of an official attendance of 75,000 and an estimated global audience of 1.7 billion.[50][51][52] The weather at Charles de Gaulle Airport, 17 kilometres (11 mi) from the stadium,[a] was recorded as fair at the time of kick-off, with a temperature of 23 °C (73 °F) and 50% humidity.[55] France had a chance to score in the opening minute, when a long ball was played upfield towards Stéphane Guivarc'h, who attempted a bicycle kick which went over the cross bar and landed on the top of the Brazilian net.[56] Guivarc'h had another opportunity three minutes later, when he received a pass from Zidane on the edge of the penalty area and was one-on-one with Taffarel, but his shot under pressure from Júnior Baiano was stopped by the goalkeeper.[56][57] On 5 minutes, Rivaldo hit a long cross to the far corner of the penalty area towards Leonardo, who could not reach it; the ball went out for a goal kick.[58] France won a free kick a minute later when Cafu fouled Lizarazu, which Zidane curled into the penalty area. It reached Djorkaeff, who was unmarked; he attempted to score with a header, but it went high and wide of the goal.[59] On 17 minutes, Djorkaeff hit a long-range shot from the right-hand side, but it went wide of the Brazilian goal.[60] Five minutes later, Ronaldo received the ball near the touch-line and started running towards goal; from the left-hand edge of the penalty area he passed it into the centre. Barthez almost tipped the ball into his own goal but was able to catch it before it crossed the line.[56][61] Brazil won a corner on 23 minutes, which was taken by Leonardo into the penalty area.[62] Sampaio directed a powerful header towards the goal, but it was aimed straight at Barthez who saved it.[56]

Zidane gave France the lead just before the half-hour mark, outjumping Leonardo to connect with a header from an in-swinging corner from the right taken by Emmanuel Petit.[63] Four minutes later, Ronaldo received the ball following a long pass from Dunga, but Barthez was able to punch his shot clear. Ronaldo and Barthez collided with each other during the incident; both needed assistance from medics but were able to continue the game.[64] Baiano received the first booking of the match on 33 minutes for a foul on Djorkaeff.[65] French captain Didier Deschamps was then shown a yellow card four minutes later for a diving challenge on Rivaldo.[66] Four minutes before half-time, Petit had a chance to score from 12 yards (11 m) when a Christian Karembeu through ball rebounded to him in space after hitting the back of Baiano's feet. Baiano recovered, however, to deflect the Frenchman's shot wide of the goalpost.[56][67] Shortly before first-half injury time, Thuram sent a long ball upfield from deep within his own half, which was missed by the Brazilian defenders and reached Guivarc'h, one-on-one with Taffarel. The goalkeeper blocked his shot behind for a corner, however.[68] France won another corner a minute later, which was taken on the left by Djorkaeff into the penalty area, where Zidane once again headed the ball into the goal, through the legs of Roberto Carlos, to give France a 2–0 half-time lead.[56][69][70]

Second half

The second half began with a Brazil substitution as Denílson replaced Leonardo.[71] Marcel Desailly received a booking in the 49th minute for dissent, after the referee had penalised him for a foul on Cafu.[56][72][73] On 51 minutes, Bebeto took a corner from the right-hand side which reached Denílson, who fell down as his attempted shot went wide of the goal while Deschamps was also challenging for the ball. Brazil's players appealed for a penalty, but Belqola did not award it.[74] A minute later, Dunga had a shot from outside the penalty area which went wide of Barthez's goal.[75] Karembeu was booked on 55 minutes for a foul from behind on Cacu.[76] Rivaldo took the resulting free-kick short towards Roberto Carlos, who ran to the left edge of the penalty area before crossing it in, where it reached Ronaldo.[77] He shot from close range but Barthez saved.[56] On 57 minutes, France made a change when Alain Boghossian came on in place of Karembeu.[78] Three minutes later, Roberto Carlos took a long throw-in from the left-hand side, which Barthez failed to catch near the edge of his penalty area, allowing Bebeto to take a shot, but Desailly blocked it.[79]

On 63 minutes, Guivarc'h was one-on-one with Taffarel following what FIFA commentators described as a "mistake" by the Brazilian defence, but he fired his shot wide of the goal.[56][80] Three minutes later Guivarc'h was taken off, as Dechamps brought on Dugarry in his place.[81] On 68 minutes, Desailly made a sliding tackle on Cafu which was given as a foul by the referee. Belqola showed him a second yellow card, which meant he was sent off and France had to play the last 20 minutes with only 10 men.[56][82] After 74 minutes, Edmundo was brought on by Zagallo, replacing César Sampaio.[83] A minute later, France made a defensive substitution, bringing on Patrick Vieira in place of Djorkaeff.[56] On 82 minutes, Dugarry was through on goal with only Taffarel to beat, but his shot went wide of the goal.[84] Brazil had a chance to score in second-half injury time when Denílson's shot hit the crossbar.[85] Two minutes later, Petit scored a third for France after receiving a through ball from his Arsenal teammate Vieira, striking the ball low into the net.[86] That was the final action of the game, as France completed a 3–0 victory.[73]


Brazil 0–3 France
Report Zidane 27', 45+1'
Petit 90+3'
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Attendance: 75,000
Referee: Said Belqola (Morocco)
GK 1 Cláudio Taffarel
RB 2 Cafu
CB 3 Aldair
CB 4 Júnior Baiano Yellow card 33'
LB 6 Roberto Carlos
CM 5 César Sampaio downward-facing red arrow 73'
CM 8 Dunga (c)
AM 10 Rivaldo
AM 18 Leonardo downward-facing red arrow 46'
CF 20 Bebeto
CF 9 Ronaldo
MF 19 Denílson upward-facing green arrow 46'
FW 21 Edmundo upward-facing green arrow 73'
Mário Zagallo
BRA-FRA 1998-07-12.svg
GK 16 Fabien Barthez
RB 15 Lilian Thuram
CB 18 Frank Leboeuf
CB 8 Marcel Desailly Yellow card 48' Yellow-red card 68'
LB 3 Bixente Lizarazu
DM 7 Didier Deschamps (c) Yellow card 39'
CM 19 Christian Karembeu Yellow card 56' downward-facing red arrow 57'
CM 17 Emmanuel Petit
AM 10 Zinedine Zidane
AM 6 Youri Djorkaeff downward-facing red arrow 74'
CF 9 Stéphane Guivarc'h downward-facing red arrow 66'
MF 14 Alain Boghossian upward-facing green arrow 57'
FW 21 Christophe Dugarry upward-facing green arrow 66'
MF 4 Patrick Vieira upward-facing green arrow 74'
Aimé Jacquet

Man of the Match:
Zinedine Zidane (France)

Assistant referees:
Mark Warren (England)
Achmat Salie (South Africa)
Fourth official:
Abdul Rahman Al-Zaid (Saudi Arabia)

Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • Maximum of three substitutions


Brazil France
Goals scored 0 3
Total shots 12 14
Shots on target 6 5
Fouls committed 15 13
Offsides 5 3
Yellow cards 1 4
Red cards 0 1


France's win was their first World Cup title, becoming the seventh out of – as of 2021 – eight different countries to win the tournament. They also became the sixth team to win the competition in their own country. For Brazil, it was only the second time that they had lost a World Cup final, following their 2–1 upset loss to Uruguay in the final match of 1950.[1] The 3–0 scoreline was also Brazil's largest loss in the World Cup until their 7–1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.[87]

French president Jacques Chirac, the International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, the newly elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his predecessor João Havelange, UEFA president Lennart Johansson, and co-president of local organizing committee Michel Platini were among those present at the stands during the awards ceremony. President Chirac handed the trophy to French captain Deschamps.[88] Hundreds of thousands of French supporters celebrated their team's victory in Paris throughout the night, before assembling along the Champs-Élysées the following the day for an open-top bus tour by the French players.[89] The celebrations continued through to Tuesday, France's national Bastille Day holiday, Chirac praising the nation's solidarity during his speech.[90]

Ronaldo's fitness for the match and his initial omission and later reinstatement on Brazil's teamsheet became a subject of ongoing journalistic interest following the match, with analysis continuing more than twenty years later.[91] A number of conspiracy theories regarding the incident emerged. This included an allegation by striker Edmundo, who had been set to play in Ronaldo's place, that Brazil's team sponsor Nike had pressured Zagallo to reinstate the player.[92] Zagallo also said that the decision was his and the player's, saying "if there had been interference, I would have resigned".[93] A government inquiry into Nike's involvement with Brazil was launched by politician Aldo Rebelo and interviewed numerous players, officials and team doctors, but it cleared Nike of any wrongdoing.[94] Another theory, promulgated in Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, was that Ronaldo had a nervous breakdown during the tournament, and some players also said that team doctor Lidio Toledo had cried about Ronaldo's condition when he encountered him in the dressing room.[92] Toledo did not sign him off as unfit however, later saying "imagine if I stopped him playing and Brazil lost, at that moment I’d have to go and live on the North Pole."[93]

France followed up their victory by qualifying for and winning the UEFA Euro 2000 held in the Netherlands and Belgium.[95] Brazil took the Copa América title in 1999, and then won the next World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002.[96][97] France were eliminated in the group stage at the 2002 tournament, becoming the first World Cup holders to be eliminated at that stage.[98] They returned to the final in 2006, losing to Italy, before winning their second World Cup in 2018.[1]


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