On Sunday, when France goes for international soccer glory against Croatia in the World Cup final, they will do so nearly 20 years to the day from when the country first won a World Cup.
France, playing on home soil, was an extraordinary collection of talent, boasting one of the greatest attacking midfielders in the game’s history in Zinedine Zidane, stout defenders like Marcel Desailly, and future superstars such as Thierry Henry.
Many of these players would also go on to further international glory, winning the European Championship two years later. There is even a direct connection to the current France squad, as 1998 team’s captain, Didier Deschamps, is the current France manager. So now is the perfect time to go back and look at that incredible squad, and see where they have gone since then.
Zinedine Zidane was an attacking midfielder for Juventus and the talisman of the French team. He scored two goals in the Final, and also scored in the penalty kick shootout against Italy in the quarter-finals.
Zinedine continued his remarkable career with Juventus, and later Real Madrid. He later went into coaching and eventually became the manager of Real Madrid, whom he led to three straight Champions League wins before abruptly stepping down this summer.
Didier Deschamps was a defensive midfielder for Juventus and the France captain.
Deschamps retired a few years after the 1998 World Cup, and moved into a managerial career. He currently manages the France national team, a post he took over in 2012, after stints managing in the French league as well as his old club Juventus.
Lilian Thuram was defender for Parma who scored two goals for France, both in the semi-finals match against Croatia. He also came in third place for the Golden Ball award for the best player in the tournament.
Thuram would play for several more years, and go on to become the most capped player in the history of the France national team. Since his playing career has ended, he has devoted himself to fighting racism in soccer.
Thierry Henry was a winger for Monaco. He was France’s leading scorer in the tournament with three goals, and also scored in the penalty shootout against Italy.
Henry moved to Arsenal in the English Premier League in 1999, where he moved to striker and established himself as one of the greatest players of his generation. After further playing stints with Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls in MLS, Henry has become a television pundit and an assistant coach with Belgium, ironically losing to France in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
Emmanuel Petit was a midfielder for Arsenal who scored two goals for France during the World Cup, including one in the Final.
Petit played a few more seasons, with Arsenal and later Barcelona and Chelsea. He is currently an ambassador for the sports betting and news website Paddy Power, and he has also worked as an ambassador for the Homeless World Cup.
Fabien Barthez was a goalkeeper for Monaco. He won the Yashin Award for the Best Goalkeeper at the World Cup.
Barthez later moved to English powerhouse Manchester United. After retiring from soccer in 2007, he took up a career in motorsport.
Marcel Desailly (left) was a defender for A.C. Milan who was named to FIFA’s All-Star team.
Source: CNN/Sports Illustrated
Desailly moved to Chelsea the season following the World Cup. He retired in 2006, but has worked as a television pundit, and has written a series of columns about the 2018 World Cup for The Guardian.
David Trezeguet was a forward for Monaco who scored in France’s second match of the group stage. He also scored a penalty kick in the shootout against Italy.
Trezeguet would score the golden goal at the Euros two years later to secure that trophy for the France national team. He also moved to Juventus around that same time, where he played for 10 years, and has continued to work with the club since retiring as a player.
Laurent Blanc was a defender for Marseille who, in extra time, scored the lone goal for either team in France’s knockout round match against Paraguay. He also scored in the penalty shootout against Italy.
After retiring as a player, Blanc went into management. He was manager of the France national team for two seasons before stepping down (and being replaced by former teammate Didier Deschamps), and last managed French league powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.
Bixente Lizarazu was a defender for Bayern Munich who scored a goal in France’s second match of the tournament. He also participated in the penalty shootout against Italy, but his shot was saved.
Lizarazu played several more seasons, most of them with Bayern Munich. Since retiring he has pursued passions such as surfing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and of course rooting for France at the 2018 World Cup on social media.
Christophe Dugarry was a forward for Marseille who scored France’s first goal of the tournament.
Dugarry played a couple more seasons with Marseille, followed by stints at Bordeaux and Birmingham City. He has since worked as a television pundit, including for the 2018 World Cup.
Youri Djorkaeff was an attacking player for Inter Milan who scored a goal in France’s final match of the group stage.
Djorkaeff spent a few more season playing in Europe before joining MLS in 2005. He stayed in New York City after his playing days ended and has since started his own non-profit, the Youri Djorkaeff Foundation.
Patrick Vieira was a midfielder for Arsenal.
Vieira went on to captain Arsenal’s legendary “Invincibles” squad, which went unbeaten in the Premier League during the 2003-04 season. After retiring as a player in 2011, he has gone on to become a manager, and was recently announced as the manager of Nice in France’s Ligue 1.
Aimé Jacquet had been the manager of the French national team for about five years at that point. He was initially an assistant coach with the team, and later became the provisional manager, before getting promoted to a full-time job.
Jacque (left) retired immediately after winning the World Cup, although he served as the technical director of French soccer for a time. These days he is enjoying his retirement.
More World Cup coverage:
- A World Cup photographer was run over during Croatia’s goal celebration, still did his job, and captured some amazing pics
- The most mesmerising photos from the World Cup so far
- England captain Harry Kane ‘gutted’ to be knocked out by Croatia – but he could still win the golden boot
- Cristiano Ronaldo: How the biggest sports star on the planet makes and spends his millions
- Can you spot the famous soccer stars in this World Cup brainteaser?
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