Blanc saves host France with ‘golden goal’
On June 28 in history: France’s Laurent Blanc scores “golden goal” as hosts leave it late to beat Paraguay in Lens in 1998.
Blanc fired home the first “golden goal” in World Cup finals history to send Les Bleus through to the quarterfinals. The concept, whereby a game ends when the first goal in extra time is scored, was introduced in an attempt to promote attacking play and reduce the likelihood of a penalty shootout. The reality more often than not proved to be the opposite. Faced with the prospect of instant elimination, teams grew cagey. In this round of 16 match, France, without the suspended Zinedine Zidane, struggled to break down the stubborn Paraguay defense. But with minutes left in extra time, Blanc, a defender, drove past Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert to secure victory. By 2006 in Germany, FIFA reverted to the traditional 30-minute period of extra time.