After the last two competitions, the 1998 World Cup a saw an abundance of interest for Tottenham fans. Including past and future players nine teams have a Tottenham connection. England returned to the finals under the guidance of Glenn Hoddle. In his squad he had Darren Anderton, Sol Campbell, Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham (then at Manchester United).
The 16th World Cup rolled on to France. Sixty years since the third tournament had been held in that country. FIFA increased the number of countries from 24 to 32 and a record 174 countries entered the competition. The finals would have 8 groups of four teams each with the top two in each going forward to a knock out stage. The other new idea that FIFA introduced was the ‘Golden Goal,’ the first team to score in extra time wins.
England started with a win over Tunisia, they then lost to Rumania and beat Columbia to progress. Anderton and Campbell played in all the games. Anderton scoring against Columbia. The defeat to Rumania meant England met their old foes Argentina in the next round. The game finished 2-2. Michael Owen scored an excellent goal and Beckham was sent off for an amazing stupid kick at an Argentinean. England then thought they had won but Campbell’s golden goal was disallowed and whilst the England team were celebrating the Argentina nearly stole the game. England lost in the penalty shoot out. Ferdinand did not feature in any of the games.
The Scots included Colin Calderwood, Gordon Durie, who spent three years with us leaving in 1994 and Neil Sullivan who would come to Spurs in 2000. Colin played in two games the defeat to Brazil and the draw to Norway. He missed the defeat to Morocco. Scotland once again failing to get out of the group stages.
In that group Morocco included Noureddine Naybet who would sign for Spurs in 2004. Morocco had also bid to be the host nation. Whilst Norway (1) actually had two Tottenham goalkeepers, Frode Grodas, he would leave the club in the same month (2) and Espen Baardsen who came through the youth set up and would leave in 2000. There was also Oyvind Leonhardsen who joined Spurs in 1999.
Grodas played throughout the competition as captain. In two draws and then a famous win over Brazil, who had already won the group, to reach the next stage. Where they lost to Italy. That Brazilian defeat was their first in the opening round since 1966.
Stefan Freund would join us in the following December but did not feature due to injury. Christian Ziege who would join us in 2001 played in four games. German would overcome Mexico before losing to Croatia in the knock out stages.
The USA who were in the same group as German contained two future Tottenham keepers. Kasey Keller (joined Spurs in 2001) played in the first two games and Brad Friedal one, as they finished bottom of the group.
Spain went out in the group stage after losing to Nigeria. In the round of 16 France scored the first ‘Golden Goal’ in World Cup history to beat Paraguay. A record 22 red cards were shown in this competition. This was partly down to the referees being given stricter guidelines.
The surprise of the competition was Croatia in their first tournament since independence as they finished third. France reached the finals conceding only two goals. The home team then beat Brazil 3-0 in the final to become the sixth host nation to win the trophy. When the teams were announced for the final Ronaldo was missing from the Brazilian line-up. The latest incident in a long line of conspiracy theories was born. At first it was thought it was his knee injury preventing him playing. Later a story emerged that he had had a fit in the hotel. He did line up for the game and gave what was popularly reported as a ‘zombie performance.’ This lead to suggestions he had been sedated before the game.
Meanwhile in N17 - Tottenham had replaced Gerry Francis with Christian Gross in November and finished 14th in the table. Gross would depart the following September.
Notes - 1 - Connections, Norway.
2 - Flying Down to Rio, Flight 21.
Top image - David Beckham and Darren Anderton
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