Michel Platini claims 'trickery' over 1998 tournament draw

Michel Platini claims 'trickery' over 1998 tournament draw

The 62-year-old - who played for France and Juventus during his playing career - is now serving a four-year ban from involvement in football after he was found guilty of receiving a "disloyal payment" from then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

So, with a bit of free time, Platini gave an interview to France Bleu Sport in which he admitted that Federation Internationale de Football Association rigged the 1998 World Cup draw so as to ensure that hosts France and champions Brazil could only meet in the final.

Three-time Ballon d'Or victor Platini was joint-head of the organising committee for the tournament, held in France for the second time as they chased their first title.

Regarded as the two best worldwide teams in the world at the time, Brazil and France played each other in the final at Stade de France with the host nation running out 3-0 winners courtesy of Zinedine Zidane's double.

"When we organized the calendar, we did a little trickery", Platini confessed in an interview with a French radio station. We didn't go through the hassle of organising a World Cup for six years to not engage in a little trickery.

"France versus Brazil in the final, that was the dream for everyone".

"If we finished first in the group and Brazil finished first, we could not meet before the final. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?"

True to form, they each went through as group winners before progressing to the final with Brazil eliminating Chile, Denmark and the Netherlands and France knocking out Paraguay, Italy and Croatia.

While teams had been allocated to specific groups at previous tournaments, it had typically been to keep countries from the same confederation separate while at Italia 90, the six top seeds were assigned to groups A to F in order.

Zinedine Zidane scored two headers in the 1998 World Cup final.

Platini was given an eight-year ban from all football-related activities - later reduced to four on appeal.

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