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France 1998 World Cup team-mates reunite after 2 decades

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They were a team blessed with a sprinkling of magic dust who triumphantly lifted the World Cup in front of their fellow countrymen.

France swept to victory in the 1998 World Cup they hosted, destroying a much-fancied Brazil team 3-0 in the final to win the tournament for the first time ever.

Zinedine Zidane was the undoubted star of that side, scoring twice in the final, and he has shared an intimate picture of some of that 1998 vintage enjoying a reunion dinner.

The midfield wizard is flanked by nine team-mates from that World Cup-winning side as they enjoyed dinner together.

Zidane, who most recently managed Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League successes, is next to former defender Laurent Blanc.

Also at the dinner was Bixente Lizarazu, Lilian Thuram, Vincent Candela, Alain Boghossian, Christophe Dugarry, Bernard Lama, Christian Karembeu and Bernard Diomede.

The group no doubt reminisced about their 1998 triumph as well as speaking about their heirs in the current France squad that won the World Cup in Russia last summer.

It was a golden era for the France team in the late ninties, with manager Aime Jacquet guiding the team to World Cup glory in 1998.

Roger Lemerre then took charge of largely the same side as they won the European Championship in 2000.

Dealing with the enormous expectation of trying to win the World Cup in their own country, France made light work of the group phase, winning all three matches against South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Denmark.

They almost came unstuck in the last-16, taken to extra time by Paraguay in Lens before Blanc scored a late winning goal.

In the quarter-final in Paris, the hosts needed a penalty shoot-out to sneak past Italy following a goalless draw.

And in the semi-final, France came from behind to defeat Croatia 2-1 courtesy of two goals by Thuram.

That led them into the final, where the build-up to kick-off was overshadowed by whether Brazil’s star striker Ronaldo was fit enough to play.

Ignoring all distractions, France breezed to a two goal lead at half-time thanks to two Zidane headers.

Even though Marcel Desailly was shown a second yellow card after the break, Brazil were unable to mount a comeback and a stoppage time third goal, scored by Emmanuel Petit, secured victory.

Also in the 22-strong France squad for that World Cup was Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, Inter Milan’s Youri Djorkaeff, the captain – and current manager of France – Didier Deschamps – and Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf.

A certain Thierry Henry, then a Monaco player, and his club-mate Fabian Barthez, later of Manchester United, also featured. As did Robert Pires, then of Metz but later to join Arsenal.


France 1998 squad

GOALKEEPERS

Bernard Lama (Paris Saint-Germain), Fabian Barthez (Monaco), Lionel Charbonnier (Auxerre)

DEFENCE

Vincent Candela (Roma), Bixente Lizarazu (Bayern Munich), Laurent Blanc (Marseille), Marcel Desailly (AC Milan), Lilian Thuram (Parma), Frank Leboeuf (Chelsea)

MIDFIELD

Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Youri Djorkaeff (Inter Milan), Didier Deschamps (captain, Juventus), Zinedine Zidane (Juventus), Robert Pires (Metz), Bernard Diomede (Auxerre), Alain Boghossian (Sampdoria), Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal), Christian Karembeu (Real Madrid)

FORWARDS

Stephane Guivarc’h (Auxerre), Thierry Henry (Monaco), David Trezeguet (Monaco), Christophe Dugarry (Marseille)

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