What? Did you seriously think I would let this opportunity pass? The eve of England’s first game? And yes, I live in eternal hope…Oh, and Seaman pops up with a couple of good saves in 1998 & 2002 whilst there was some familiar faces in the 1998. Yes, OK, I know that Sol wasn’t an Arsenal player in ’98 but that doesn’t lessen the sense of injustice.
Sol Campbell was robbed in 1998…
…and made up for it in 2o02 when he had turned his back on the dark side…
A routine group match for the Dutch in 1998, notable for being their only victory in the group phase and for the first time, two Arsenal players scored in the same match in a World Cup Finals.
The South Koreans stifled the Dutch attack for half an hour, fair means or foul included, ably assisted by a referee who was not at the races. Or perhaps he was which would explain why he missed the fouls. Bergkamp was a bright spark throughout, causing problems for the Korean defence although both sides could quite easily have broken the deadlock before Cocu did so. Overmars cut inside and put the Netherlands ahead, a counter-attack from a Korean freekick, to double the lead.
Bergkamp made it three with less than twenty minutes remaining, a strike portraying the guile and power of his finishing whilst Overmars provided the cross for van Hooijdonk to add the fourth.
France ’98. Michael Owen’s goal. David Beckham’s sending off. Sol Campbell’s wrongly ruled out goal. Glenn Hoddle’s stubborn and flawed management. English memories of the tournament are not fond.
For the hosts France, it was a different matter. Their squad contained Vieira and Petit, the centre of the Arsenal midfield as well as international colleagues Henry and Pires who would soon become team-mates at club level.
Petit played in a couple of the group matches but was not recalled to the starting line-up until the semi-final against Croatia. France emerged victorious despite falling a goal behind early in the second half. Petit’s performance was enough for him to be named in the starting line-up for the final.
1998 is remembered as much for the pre-Final medical ailment of Ronaldo as it is France deservedly winning the competition. Conspiracy theorists the world over will continue to speculate that foul play was afoot in the case of the Brazilian striker’s fit.
Zidane put the hosts in the driving seat with two first half goals but deep into injury time at the end of the match, Vieira who had come on as a second half substitute, swept the ball into the path of Petit, the net bulging as a French counter-attack received the reward it deserved. Scored in the Stade de France, made in Arsenal…