World Cup One-Hit Wonders: Guivarc’h, the Goalless World Champ

Luck was definitely on the host Country side during the 1998 World Cup played in France. This is something that became clear during the Round of 16, with Paraguay holding the French onto a goalless draw, until a single scoring by center back Laurent Blanc during extra time pushed Aimé Jacquet’s side further.

In the following round, Les Coqs won against Italy on penalties, after both regular and extra times had ended with no goals. In the Semifinal, it was a double by Lilian Thuram – another defender! – to overcome Croatia. Then, in the Final match, a brace by Zinedine Zidane, and a goal by Emmanuel Petit awarded the French their first World Cup title.

But…What about the strikers?

That French national side could feature the young Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet, yet the starting forward ended up being Stéphane Guivarc’h. Les Bleus’ Number 9 had had a great season with Auxerre, where he totalized 21 goals in 32 Ligue 1 appearances. However, during the World Cup he didn’t score a single goal, rather distinguishing himself for trying to disfigure Fabio Cannavaro’s pretty face.

Guivarc’h’s elbow during the France vs. Italy Quarter Finals match was well worth a red card, but back in the day the VAR was still not in use…

The French forward played six out of seven total games at France 1998, but did not manage to make it to the scorecard in any of them. Still, the World Cup gave him some global visibility, and convinced Newcastle United to bring him to Premier League.

Guivarc’h didn’t last long in St. James’ Park. He was sold to Glasgow Rangers a few weeks after Ruud Gullit took charge of the Magpies. He spent one season in Scotland, then came back home to play with Auxerre again, and then with Rennes.

He did not score a single goal as a forward, yet he became a World Champion. His counterpart, and opponent, during the Final with Brazil, was Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima – the so-called Fenomeno. That night, the Brazilian sensation couldn’t even realize what he was doing. Rumors have it that earlier in the day he had risked his life, due to convulsions.

But four years later, Ronaldo scored two goals in the 2002 World Cup Final against Germany. That same year, Guivarc’h concluded his career. Sometimes football, just like life, can also be fair.

Check out the other World Cup One-Hit Meteors in our countdown:
10) Ahn Jung-Hwan, the Korean Killer of Italy


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