Winning the World Cup was remarkable … and I almost missed it Marcel Desailly

it’s been 20 years already but I’ll never forget those amazing times. How could I? Playing a World Cup on home soil, getting to the final and then winning it – it doesn’t get any bigger or any better than that. And luckily for us, we were all ready for it.

I say luckily because let’s face it, Brazil were better than us. But we were at our best that day, individually and collectively at the same time. And we had a smart manager who had identified a weakness the Brazilians had at set-pieces.

You might not remember it this way but Zinedine Zidane was not having such a great tournament – he’d been struggling since he got that red card against Saudi Arabia. But Aimé Jacquet told him to go up for the corners because he felt we could hurt them there and Youri Djorkaeff said he’d be aiming for Zizou’s head. Sometimes a game plan comes off and it can be as simple as that! We scored from two corners – both headers from Zidane, and Emmanuel Petit’s goal was just the icing on the cake. WIN BIG HERE

We had a remarkable leader in Jacquet. Very strong at man-management. He was a bit like our spiritual father. After Euro ‘96 – where we’d been knocked out in the semi-finals – he admitted to us that he’d made mistakes but he told us he’d learned from them. He had this absolute faith in the players he’d decided to use. We had a real attachment.



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