FRANCIA 1998: EL MUNDIAL DE ZINEDINE ZIDANE

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La Copa del Mundo visitaba tierras francesas por segunda vez, la primera fue en el lejano 1938. Muchas particularidades se dieron en el Mundial galo. Primera disputa con 32 selecciones; a partir de los octavos de final se aplicó el gol de oro para los partidos que llegaran al tiempo extra y además fue la última Copa del Siglo XX.
Los ocho grupos conformados, disputaron sus encuentros en los 10 estadios dispuestos por la organización, que estuvo a cargo del recordado futbolista francés Michael Platini (aún goleador vigente de la Eurocopa). Entonces las canchas utilizadas fueron: el nuevo Estadio de Francia en Saint-Denis, el Parque de los Príncipes de París, el Félix-Boliaert de Lens, el estadio Gerland de Lyon, el Geoffroy-Guichard de Saint-Etienne, el Velódromo de Marsella, la Mosson de Montpellier, el Municipal de Toulouse, el Lescure de Burdeos y La Beaujoire de Nantes.
Los seleccionados se distribuyeron de la siguiente manera: Brasil, Escocia, Marruecos y Noruega, en el Grupo A. En el B: Italia, Chile, Camerún y Austria. En el C: Francia, Sudáfrica, Arabia Saudita y Dinamarca. En el D: España, Nigeria, Paraguay y Bulgaria. En el E: Holanda, Bélgica, Corea del Sur y México. En el F: Alemania, Estados Unidos, Yugoslavia e Irán. En el grupo G, Rumania, Colombia, Inglaterra y Túnez, y finalmente en el H, Argentina, Japón, Jamaica y Croacia.
No hubo grandes sorpresas entre los favoritos, Brasil, último campeón (EEUU 94), Italia, finalista en el Mundial anterior; la siempre temida Alemania, Campeón de la Eurocopa 1996 y el local Francia, que aún no tenía el trofeo, contaba con un poderoso seleccionado, semifinalista en la última Eurocopa y con figuras de la talla de Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc, Robert Pires, Lilian Thuram, un jovencísimo David Trezeguet y Thierry Henry, entre otros.
En el camino hacia la final, los galos clasificaron primeros e invictos en la fase de grupo, dejando en el camino a Sudáfrica por 3 – 0; a Arabia Saudita 4 – 0 y a Dinamarca 2 – 1. Nueve goles a favor, solo uno en contra. En octavos fue el turno de Paraguay: sufrida victoria ante los guaraníes, en prórroga, por 1 – 0. Los cuartos de final fueron aún más duros y recién dejó atrás a Italia en los penales. Finalmente, ya en semifinales, superó a la sorprendente Croacia por 2 – 1. En el último partido del mundial, ese que todas las selecciones quieren jugar, los esperaba Brasil.

La ansiada final

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Domingo 12 de Julio del 1998, un Brasil – Francia en la final fue un broche de oro para este Mundial. Uno de los mejores de la última época del Siglo pasado. Un ambiente espectacular en el Stade de la France, propiciado en parte por tener al dueño de casa en la gran final, y porque el rival era nada menos que el Campeón del Mundo vigente. Y fue un encuentro espectacular.
La clave del encuentro la tuvo el magistral Zinedine Zidane, que con un cabezazo en el minuto 27, tras un córner ejecutado por el sector derecho del ataque francés y a los 46’, otro córner, desde el sector izquierdo, tuvo nuevamente como destino la testa de Zidane y se fueron al descanso con un resultado más que justo. Los brasileños, aun jugando mejor en el segundo tiempo,  no se pudieron recuperar de la ventaja francesa de la primera etapa. En el minuto 68, la selección nacional francesa se queda con un hombre menos por la expulsión de Desailly pero aun así no se rindieron, y de hecho fue cuando llegó el gol que sentenció el encuentro, un gran contragolpe que culminó con el disparo de Emmanuel Petit a los 93’ en el fondo del arco de Taffarel, cuando ya estaba todo el estadio eufórico, marcó el definitivo 3 – 0. Con un Zidane brillante y un equipo disciplinado, que supo seguir a su líder, el seleccionado galo ganó en casa el primer título de su rica historia.

¿Qué le sucedió a Ronaldo en la final?

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Sin lugar a dudas la figura de Brasil era Ronaldo Nazario, el temible goleador sudamericano. Pero en el partido final se lo vio lento, cansado y extrañamente lejos de su nivel. Días después, la prensa brasileña informó que el galáctico atacante de su país había tenido una fuerte indisposición horas antes de la final y que había sido incluido en el once inicial por la incisiva presión de Nike, marca auspiciante del elenco brasileño. La versión oficial indica que Ronaldo había sufrido convulsiones la noche anterior al duelo decisivo y que el entrenador Mario Zagallo, respaldado por el médico del plantel, decidió incorporarlo como titular en el último instante antes de salir a la cancha. Tal es así, que Edmundo estaba precalentando para ocupar su lugar. El técnico dijo que fue el propio Ronaldo quien le exigió ser de la partida, aunque muchos medios hayan afirmado que la Confederación Brasileña de Fútbol fue la que presionó para que la figura no se pierda el último partido. Lo único cierto, es que la verdad de los acontecimientos, a pesar de los años transcurridos, sólo la saben los protagonistas.

Curiosidades

  • lotharEl jugador alemán Lothar Matthaus rompió dos records que parecían lejanos de igualar o superar. Primero alcanzó al mejicano Antonio Carbajal en el trono de los futbolistas con más Mundiales disputados: cinco. Y además, se convirtió en el jugador con más partidos y más minutos jugados: 25 encuentros y 2048 minutos.
  • Tres seleccionados debutantes en Copa del Mundo, Croacia, Jamaica y Japón, compartieron la zona H. El otro debutante fue Sudáfrica.
  • El danés Ebbe Sand marcó un gol a los 16 segundos de haber ingresado.
  • Se produjo el récord de expulsados, con 22 tarjetas rojas.
  • Es el Mundial con más cantidad de goles anotados: 171.

La gran decepción

España llegó, como casi siempre, con serias aspiraciones. Sin embargo, no logró plasmar un buen juego y quedó eliminada en primera ronda, con mucha pena y nada de gloria. Perdió 3-2 ante Nigeria, igualó con Paraguay y se despidió con una goleada 6-1 sobre Bulgaria que no sirvió de nada. La Furia volvía a decepcionar y se quedaba sin jugar las instancias definitivas de una Copa del Mundo.

El batacazo

Croacia, era la cenicienta de los octavos de final. En esta instancia se midió ante el experimentado seleccionado rumano. El seleccionado balcánico ganó 1 – 0 y se metió entre los ocho mejores del torneo, pese a su inexperiencia en este tipo de competencias. Pero no todo finalizaba aquí, ya metido en cuartos le tocó enfrentar a la poderosa Alemania. Si frente a Rumania fue de punto, contra los teutones la victoria sonaba a milagro. Y contra todos los pronósticos fue goleada 3 – 0 para los croatas. En semifinales les tocó caer ante quién a la postre se coronaría Campeón del Mundo. No sin sufrir, Les Bleus se impusieron por 2 – 1. En el último partido del torneo, Croacia se llevó el tercer lugar del podio mundialista, al batir a Holanda por 2 – 1.

suker5El goleador del Mundial

El croata Davor Suker fue el máximo artillero del Campeonato. En total jugó siete partidos y marcó seis goles. Fue seguido por Gabriel Batistuta de Argentina y Christian Vieri de Italia con cinco anotaciones. Suker disputó dos mundiales, además del de Francia, Italia ’90 y Corea-Japón 2002. Es el máximo goleador de Croacia en la historia con 45 tantos.
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About Author

56 años, escritor. El fútbol y el rugby, mis pasiones. San Lorenzo de Almagro un sentimiento. Escribir sobre fútbol y sus protagonistas, un oficio que intento aprender día a día.

88 comentarios

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