Brazil’s last World Cup Finals defeat was a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of France at the Stade de France in the final of France ’98 – a humiliating result which is still etched in the memories of Brazil’s players and supporters.
The destroyer that day for France was Zinedine Zidane who scored two first half goals to stun the Brazilians, and the man they call ‘Zizou’ will take the field this time as captain in what is his swansong tournament.
Under-fire French coach Raymond Domenech, who earned some retribution last week as his team upset the highly fancied Spain in a come from behind 3-1 victory in Hanover, conveyed his feelings on his side’s progression to the final eight.
“Sometimes there are moments when you can’t describe the emotion. I’ll never forget what happened in Hanover. We can’t forget it but now what counts is the next match (against Brazil),” Domenech said.
“To qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals it’s almost at the summit. We’ve still got a couple of steps to go but it’s getting closer,” he added.
Still number one: Ronaldinho
Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was still critical of his side, despite their perceived improvement from match to match throughout the tournament and their 3-0 thumping of Ghana in the second round.
“We lacked consistency with our moves. It’s one thing to have speed. It’s another thing to be in a hurry. We confused speed with hurry. We were very hurried. We were in a hurry too often and we made a lot of mistakes,” Parreira said.
“What we have to do is work the ball around the pitch more before we make the move.”
The man who coached Saudi Arabia to a first round exit in the 1998 World Cup Finals has often been quoted as saying he doesn’t mind how Brazil achieve their victories, as long as they win.
“History doesn’t talk about the beautiful game. History talks about champions.”
History does indeed talks about champions, and this quarter final match-up pits the two most recent World Champions against one another in what should be a cracking affair.
The winner of this match will move through to a semi final meeting against either England or Portugal in Munich.