Michel Platini has made the stunning admission that France and Brazil were deliberately kept apart in the 1998 World Cup finals.
The host nation did eventually meet Brazil in the final, where they won 3-0 thanks in part to a Zinedine Zidane masterclass, and the disgraced former UEFA President admitted that this by design rather than by chance – provided they both won their respective groups.
Speaking to France Bleu Sport, Platini (who is currently serving a four-year ban from all football activity) said that draw organisers used a bit of “trickery” to ensure that Les Bleus and Brazil were placed on opposite sides of the group draw:
‘When we organised the calendar, we did a little trickery. If we finished first in the group and Brazil finished first, we could not meet before the final.
There was a little trickery. We did not spend six years organising the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?
“France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone.”
— France Bleu Sport (@francebleusport) May 18, 2018
Both countries did the necessary to win their groups, before navigating the knockout stages and finally coming together in the final at the Stade de France