World Cup 1998

The conflicting emotions experienced by those who followed the England team around France are described by Mark Perryman & Tom Davies

During this world Cup tattoos and beer bellies have been made to symbolize all that is supposedly wrong with England abroad.

Business as usual for Scotland in the World Cup, but not for their fans. As a shellshocked Archie MacGregor reports, some found themselves backing England

As if anyone needed reminding, Scotland made their customary ignominious exit from the World Cup in St Etienne on June 23rd. This should not, however, be confused with the end of the Scottish nation’s World Cup campaign, which was only formally completed a full seven days later in the same city. Only with confirmation that England too would be hopping it back across the Channel could the average football-supporting Scot accept that this Coupe de Monde business was done and dusted.

Cris Freddi looks back at France 98 and experiences a definite touch of déjà vu

I thought it was just me at first, but it’s all right: everyone else is still waiting for the tournament to take off too. Actually it looked as if it had, and at the stage it was supposed to, the last round of group matches. Morocco-Scotland and Norway-Brazil, Paraguay-Nigeria and Spain-Bulgaria, Mexico-Holland and Belgium-South Korea. But even then we got Yugoslavia v USA, Germany v Iran and Jamaica v Japan – and although we had some memorable matches at the knockout stage (Brazil v Denmark, Argentina v England and Holland) there were still too many dull teams left: Germany, Romania, Norway, France up to a point, Yugoslavia, Croatia.

Matthew Roche went to France eager to report the penetrating insights of national managers, but only found one who had any. No surprise that it wasn't Glenn Hoddle

It was enough to make any self-respecting journalist scream. Glenn Hoddle had just been asked at a  press conference whether he thought the heat might be a problem during the game with Romania. “I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly hot enough in this room,” he said with a witless smile, prompting a respected member of the accompanying media circus to put away his notebook. “It’s at times like this that I want England to lose so I can go off and cover someone more interesting,” he admitted. Wanted: Manager for national side. Must be able to provoke thought.

Karsten Blaas & Phil Ball recount how Germany's veterans ran out of steam and argue that Spain's failure was a consequence of their reverting to type

Germany July 4th is a very special day for German football. On that day in 1954 they turned the world upside down by beating the seemingly invincible Hungarians and winning their first World Cup. That victory ushered in a long period of continuous success, including 11 major international finals, two more world titles and three European Championship victories. On the very same day 44 years later this era seems to have come to an end.

World Cup hosts of the immediate past and future lost all their games in France. Rich Zahradnik & Sam Wallace sift the debris

USA I sat in my living room on July 4th safe from Paris and the Germans, safe from Nantes and the Yugoslavs, and, praise to the heavens, safe from Lyon and the Iranians. I watched the day’s two quarter-final matches as any American fan should expect to watch them, a neutral connoisseur enjoying some of the best in the game (Argentina, Holland, Croatia) along with some of the luckiest (Germany).

American player John Harkes is surprisingly not guaranteed a place in the USA's World Cup squad. Rich Zahradnik discusses whether he will make the cut or not

I almost choked on my Cheerios. The story was right there on page two of the New York Times sports section: Harkes Is Dropped From US Cup Team. The story covered almost half the page. I’m not sure what surprised me more – Harkes’s departure or the Times’s realisation such a big story was a big story.

Ian Plenderleith outlines the chances of Lothar Matthaus being left out of Germany's World Cup squad

The recall of Lothar Matthäus to the German World Cup squad is not just remarkable because the 37-year-old will become only the second player ever to appear in five World Cup finals. More surprising is the fact that less than a year ago Matthäus was completely ostracised by the German footballing establishment,

France may not have a reliable striker going into their own World Cup, but Cris Freddi indicates how history suggests that they need not worry yet

Just like old times. As in the days of Platini & Co, France score their share of goals from midfield (Djorkaeff 15 at a rate of one every two games) but can’t find someone to do the job up front. Christophe Dugarry’s scored twice in twenty matches, Patrice Loko’s suffered his second nervous breakdown in three years, and the search seems to be getting desperate. Stéphane Guivarc’h scored an equaliser on his debut but that was back in October; Bernard Diomède’s a surprise choice, David Trezeguet only twenty, Everton’s Mickael Madar good in parts. There’s even been talk of recalling Papin, who’s 34.

USA v Iran may not be the greatest match at this summer's World Cup, but Mike Woitalla hopes it will help to end political hostility

To be considered as soft on Iran has been the kiss of death in American politics since Jimmy Carter’s presidency crashed with a failed attempt to rescue 52 US hostages, who were held for 444 days in Tehran. But Iranians could have felt some relief had Bob Dole defeated Bill Clinton in the 1996 presidential election. Comic relief, that is. Pronounce or spell “Dole” in the Persian language (Farsi) and it comes out as “penis”. (Not that the White House dick has stayed out of the news, but that’s another story).

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