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Rediff.com  » Sports » How Thierry Henry missed the '98 final

How Thierry Henry missed the '98 final

June 30, 2006 16:33 IST

Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry always have goose pimples when asked for their memories of France's 3-0 triumph over Brazil in the 1998 final.

The pair were happy to oblige again on Thursday, two days before France and Brazil meet once more on the World Cup stage in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Frankfurt.

"For me it was a dream from the beginning to the end," said defender Thuram. "From the moment we left (the training camp at) Clairefontaine to the moment we lifted the trophy, it's all unreal.

"I have a blurred vision of it all. If you ask me for a memory of a World Cup match against Brazil, I'll pick the 1986 one (won by France on penalties in the quarter-finals). That one's real."

Clearly the underdogs, France outclassed Brazil in a totally one-sided final in 1998 at the Stade de France to win the World Cup for the first time.

Two headed goals from a masterful Zinedine Zidane put France firmly in control before Emmanuel Petit wrapped up a 3-0 win with a late goal.

"We were all telling ourselves that what was happening was not possible," said Thuram. "It was totally crazy."

Striker Henry, who burst into the limelight at the 1998 World Cup with sparkling performances as a substitute, followed the final from the bench.

"[Coach Aime] Jacquet told me at halftime I would come on and I immediately went to warm up," he said. "But then (defender) Marcel (Desailly) was sent off and the coach changed his plans.

"So he didn't send me on. I was frustrated at first but then I realised I would lift the trophy and that felt good.

"I was only 20, it was not like it was the end of my career.

"Still, I told Marcel off for letting me down on that one."
Patrick Vignal in Hamelin
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