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ON THIS DAY: France strolls to maiden World Cup triumph in 1998 against subdued Brazil

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On July 12 in World Cup history: Zinedine Zidane's headers help France beat subdued Brazil in 1998 home final.

PHOTO: FILE - In this Sunday, July 12, 1998 file photo, French teammates from left, Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc hold the soccer World Cup after France defeated Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final soccer match, at the Stade de France in Saint Denis. On this day, France wins its first World Cup after defeating Brazil 3-0, following 2 headed goals from Zidane and a late strike from Emmanuel Petit. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, July 12, 1998 file photo, French teammates from left, Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Laurent Blanc hold the soccer World Cup after France defeated Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final soccer match, at the Stade de France in Saint Denis. On this day, France wins its first World Cup after defeating Brazil 3-0, following 2 headed goals from Zidane and a late strike from Emmanuel Petit. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

France, which played such a central role in the establishment of the World Cup, strolled to its maiden title at home in 1998. Two first-half headers from Zidane helped ease the nerves in the Stade de France. A third from Emmanuel Petit in injury time was the cue for wild celebrations across the country, with the team hailed for its multi-ethnic heritage. For Brazil, the subdued ending was a mystery. The team just never got going, many blaming the uncertainty over the fitness of star striker Ronaldo in the buildup to the final. Ronaldo would get another chance four years later, leading Brazil to the 2002 title.

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