world cup 1998

The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the sixteenth FIFA World Cup and was held in France from 10 June to 12 July 1998. The tournament was won by France, winning their first title beating Brazil 3-0 in the final at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

Host selection

England, France, Germany, Morocco and Switzerland expressed an interest in hostng the 1998 FIFA World Cup. By the time of the vote , held in Z├╝rich on 1 July 1992, England and Germany had withdrawn and Switzerland's bid was not considered as it did not meet FIFA requirements.

France defeated Morocco by 12 votes to 7 to win the right to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

One hundred and seventy four1 countries entered the qualifying competition.

With the tournament expanded to include 32 teams, the hosts, France, and the defending champions, Brazil, qualified automatically and of the remaining 30 places, 14 were allocated to Europe (UEFA), three to South America (CONMEBOL), three to the North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF), five to Africa (CAF) and three to Asia (AFC) whilst one qualifier from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) would face one team from the AFC qualifiers in an intercontinental play off for the final place.


Fifty teams entered the European qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Hosts France qualified automatically.

The remaining 49 teams were divided into nine groups; four groups of six teams and five groups of five teams. The nine group winners would qualify.

The runners-up would be ranked according to their records against the 1st, 3rd and 4th-placed team in their groups. The team with the best record would also qualify. The other runners-up would advance to the UEFA Play-offs.

Wales were placed in Pool 4 as fourth seeds, and were drawn in Group 7 alongside Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and San Marino; this would be Wales' first meeting with San Marino.

Uefa qualifying Group 7

no.datescorescorers (wales)venue 
46702/06/1996San Marino 0-5 WalesM Hughes (2), Giggs, Melville, PembridgeStadio Olimpico, SerravalleWCQ
 31/08/1996Belgium 2-1 Turkey Stade de Baudouin, BrusselsWCQ
46831/08/1996Wales 6-0 San MarinoM Hughes (2), Saunders (2), Melville, RobinsonArms Park, CardiffWCQ
46905/10/1996Wales 1-3 NetherlandsSaundersArms Park, CardiffWCQ
 09/10/1996San Marino 0-3 Belgium Stadio Olimpico, SerravalleWCQ
47009/11/1996Netherlands 7-1 WalesSaundersPhillips Stadion, EindhovenWCQ
 09/11/1996Turkey 7-0 San Marino Ali Sami Yen Stadium, IstanbulWCQ
 14/12/1996Belgium 0-3 Netherlands Stade de Baudouin, BrusselsWCQ
47114/12/1996Wales 0-0 Turkey Arms Park, CardiffWCQ
 29/03/1997Netherlands 4-0 San Marino Amsterdam ArenA, AmsterdamWCQ
47329/03/1997Wales 1-2 BelgiumSpeedArms Park, CardiffWCQ
 02/04/1997Turkey 1-0 Netherlands Ataturk, BursaWCQ
 30/04/1997San Marino 0-6 Netherlands Stadio Olimpico, SerravalleWCQ
 30/04/1997Turkey 1-3 Belgium Ali Sami Yen Stadium, IstanbulWCQ
 07/06/1997Belgium 6-0 San Marino Stade de Baudouin, BrusselsWCQ
47520/08/1997Turkey 6-4 WalesBlake, Savage, Saunders, MelvilleAli Sami Yen, IstanbulWCQ
 06/09/1997Netherlands 3-1 Belgium De Kuip, RotterdamWCQ
 10/09/1997San Marino 0-5 Turkey Stadio Olimpico, SerravalleWCQ
47611/10/1997Belgium 3-2 WalesPembridge, GiggsStade de Baudouin, BrusselsWCQ
 11/10/1997Netherlands 0-0 Turkey Amsterdam ArenA, AmsterdamWCQ

Group standings
5.San Marino80080420

Wales and the 1998 World Cup

Wales were placed in Pool 4 as fourth seeds, and were drawn in Group 7 alongside Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and San Marino; this would be Wales' first meeting with San Marino.

Before heading to play San Marino in the opening match of the campaign, Wales manager, Bobby Gould, arranged a friendly with Leyton Orient who had just finished the season in 21st place in the lowest tier of English League football.

Thankfully for Wales, a 1-2 defeat to Leyton Orient didn't dent the confidence and in the first ever meeting with San Marino, Wales secured a 5-0 win in Serravalle.

A 6-0 thrashing of the group's minnows in the return match in Cardiff gave Wales the perfect start but then came two matches against the group's top seeds, the Netherlands.

An early Dean Saunders goal gave Wales an unexpected lead at the Arms Park, and a solid defensive display saw Wales soak up the Dutch pressure for 70 minutes until substitue Pierre van Hooijdonk latched on to a lose ball in the box to equalise just two minutes after coming on to the field.

Any hopes Wales had of salvaging a draw were dashed three minutes later when van Hooijdonk headed home a Clarence Seedforf cross to put the visitors ahead before Ronald de Boer sealed the win with a third goal four mintes later.

A month later Wales suffered their worst defeat in 66 years losing 1-7 as the Netherlands ran riot in Eindhoven.

In a game where Vinnie Jones donned the captain's armband, Wales conceded seven goals for the first time since losing 0-7 to Ireland in 1930.

A goalless draw at home to Turkey proved to be Wales' last point of the qualification campaign as the last three matches of the campaign ended in defeat.

Players used during qualifying

Wales used a total of 33 players during the qualifying campaign with no player playing every minute of every game however Mark Pembridge and Dean Saunders played some part in every match.

Rob Edwards made his debut against Turkey at the Ali Sami Yen, Istanbul and John Oster made his debut in the final match of the campaign against Belgium at the Stade de Baudouin, Brussels

Clayton Blackmore won his 39th and final cap against Belgium at the National Stadium, Cardiff, Neville Southall won his 92nd and final cap against Turkey at the Ali Sami Yen, Istanbul and Barry Horne won his 59th and final cap against Belgium at the Stade de Baudouin, Brussels.

Clayton Blackmore     90  
Nathan Blake      90 
Jason Bowen   90    
Mark Bowen90909057    
Marcus Browning759083     
Chris Coleman9080      
Rob Edwards      2290
Ryan Giggs9090  90909090
Jeremy Goss15       
John Hartson   66925 84
Barry Horne839090 9090  
Ceri Hughes      6845
Mark Hughes909090 909090 
Steve Jenkins  7 90 9090
Lee Jones      7 
Paul Jones      45 
Vinnie Jones   909090  
Andy Legg10 22     
Andy Marriott       90
Andy Melville9090909090 90 
Alan Neilson   90    
John Oster       1
Rob Page    9090 45
Mark Pembridge9090689090909090
Karl Ready       90
Tony Roberts 14      
John Robinson90779033   90
Dean Saunders8090909081658390
Robbie Savage7     9089
Neville Southall90769090909045 
Kit Symons  9090 90  
Gary Speed 139090909090 
Gareth Taylor 10 24   6


1Of the 174 countries who entered Bahamas, Bermuda, Mali and Niger withdrew. Burundi withdrew due to civil war and were replaced by Sierra Leone, who had been eliminated by Burundi in the first round. Sierra Leone thus became the first team to be eliminated twice from the same qualifying competition.