World Cup 1998
Third Place: Croatia
Fourth Place: Netherlands
Top Goalscorer: Davor Suker (Croatia) – 6 Goals
Participants: 32 (Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, United States, Yugoslavia)
France were handed their very first World Cup in 1998 and it was a tournament they would go onto remember when they won the 32 team tournament after surpassing all expectations, especially in the final, as they went on to beat the Brazilians 3-0 convincingly in the final.
France 98 saw, for the first time, 32 nations partake in a World Cup. There were now eight qualifying groups with the top two teams advancing into a last sixteen stage. It also the first time the ‘Golden Goal‘ rule was used in Extra-Time where the first team to score in Extra-Time were the winners. It was also a first for fourth officials as FIFA introduced a rule where a fourth official would indicate how much time would be played after the allotted 90 minutes.
Despite 64 matches being played throughout the tournament, France could not surpass the record of attendances held by USA.
Croatia, Jamaica, Japan and South Africa were competing in their début World Cups but it was Croatia who made the biggest impression of the four as they went on to surprise everyone with a third-place finish. Davor Suker also ended the tournament as top goalscorer for Croatia with six goals.
The final saw defending champions – Brazil take on the hosts – France. This was the first time this predicament arose but it was the hosts who prevailed. France legend Zinedine Zidane scored two while Arsenal’s Emmanuel Petit scored France’s third in injury time.
France 3 – 0 Brazil – Stade de France ~ 80,000 Attendance
France – Zidane x2, Petit
Third Place Play-Off:
Croatia 2 – 1 Netherlands
Croatia – Prosinecki, Suker
Netherlands – Zenden