Former UEFA president Michel Platini has made some extraordinary claims regarding the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The Frenchman revealed that “trickery” was used in the draw to increase the chances of a France-Brazil final.
He is currently serving a four-year ban from all football involvement. This was after he was found guilty of receiving a “disloyal payment” from former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Platini was the co-president of the organising committee at the 1998 World Cup in France at the time. The 62-year old admitted that the group allocations for seeded teams were made with the objective of getting a “dream” final.
Defending champions Brazil were placed in Group A, as was the norm and hosts, France were allocated Group C. If both teams won their groups, they would eventually meet in the final.
Finally, the outcome was as exactly as predicted with France triumphing 3-0 in the final. Two goals from Zinedine Zidane helped them clinch the victory over the Brazilians.
“France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone,” Platini said, “There was a little trickery. “We did not spend six years organising the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?”
Under normal circumstances, teams were allocated to specific groups at previous tournaments. The idea was to separate countries from the same confederation. However, at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the six top teams were assigned to groups A to F in order.
Another example was when England were placed in the “London group” at both the 1966 World Cup and Euro 96. This ensured that the Three Lions would play all their games at Wembley Stadium.
This is a startling revelation, that has surfaced so close to the 2018 edition of the World Cup in Russia.