The 1998 FIFA World Cup

The 1998 FIFA World Cup was held in France and home advantage helped ensure that the tournament was won by the host nation for the sixth time in its history.

Group Stage

The group stage was expanded from 24 teams to 32 and Brazil defeated Scotland 2-1 in the opening game on June 10 in Group A. The South American nation topped the group with Norway taking second place.

A Christian Vieri inspired Italy won Group B with seven points as Chile qualified for the next stage with three draws.

The hosts stormed to three wins out of three in Group C whilst fellow Europeans Denmark sneaked through in second place.

One of the lowest ranked nations Nigeria surprised many on their way to the top of Group D as Paraguay took second spot.

Netherlands and Mexico qualified from Group E with five points each whilst Germany and FR Yugoslavia progressed from Group F with seven points.

Elsewhere Romania topped Group G with England finishing in second as first-time qualifiers Jamaica impressed in Group H but it was Argentina and Croatia, with tournament top-scorer Davor Šuker, who qualified.

Last 16

Italy won the first match in the knockout stage 1-0 against Norway with Vieri again the Azzurri’s hero.

Brazil won the South American derby against Chile 4-1 with César Sampaio scoring twice.

Laurent Blanc proved the unlikely match winner as he scored the golden goal to defeat Paraguay 1-0 whilst Denmark trounced Nigeria 4-1.

The last 16 was dominated by European sides as Germany beat Mexico 2-1, the Netherlands also won 2-1 against FR Yugoslavia whilst Šuker hit the only goal as Croatia advanced against Romania.

The final game of the round provided much controversy as England and Argentina, two nations with a lot of recent history, went all the way to a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.

Gabriel Batistuta and Alan Shearer traded early goals before 18-year-old Michael Owen stormed onto the world stage with a solo goal. Javier Zanetti equalized just before half-time and David Beckham was sent off for a kick on Diego Simone.

David Batty missed the decisive penalty for England to give the South Americans the last spot in the quarter finals.

Quarter Finals

France and Italy played out a goalless draw in the opening game of the last eight stage and the hosts’ defender Blanc again grabbed the headlines as he scored the winning penalty after Luigi Di Biagio’s spot kick hit the crossbar.

Brazil’s attacking prowess saw them progress to the final four stage thanks to a 3-2 victory over Denmark with attacking midfielder Rivaldo grabbing a brace.

In the third game of the round Dennis Bergkamp fired a last-minute winner to help the Netherlands to a 2-1 win against Argentina at the Stade Vélodrome.

The final game of the last eight saw Croatia romp to a 3-0 victory over Germany as Šuker further strengthened his claim for the Golden Shoe with the final goal of the match.

Semi Finals

Young striker Ronaldo fired Brazil into the lead in the first semi-final against the Netherlands but Patrick Kluivert scored a late goal to take the match into extra-time which failed to produce a golden goal.

The South American nation booked their place in the final as they won the penalty shoot-out 4-2.

In the other semi-final Croatia took a surprise lead only for French defender Lilian Thuram to score twice and send Les Bleus into the final.


The pre-match build-up was marked by the bizarre omission of Ronaldo from the Brazilian starting line-up only for the tournament Golden Ball winner to be reinstated 45 minutes before kick-off.

France dominated the match at the Stade de France on July 12 and were crowned the FIFA World Cup champions with a 3-0 win thanks to a brace from Zinedine Zidane and a late strike from Emmanuel Petit.

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