Fashionable Start to the Festivities
The final game started after a most-French preliminary--a fashion show. Some 300 models from around the world paraded about the stadium in a representation of 40 years of work by designer Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashion house was a sponsor of the World Cup. The field was covered with blue fabric as the models strutted about to Ravel’s “Bolero.” To protect the field, they wore flats, not high heels.
France President Jacques Chirac wore a scarf in the royal blue of the French team as he watched the historic victory.
“We are all so happy, that’s the least we can say,” Chirac said. “What is the most incredible thing tonight is that we have an impression each and every French citizen has won this cup.”
Brazil’s President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, tried to take the defeat--which was the country’s worst in World Cup history--in stride. “We still had the best football of the century, since we were four-time champions,” Cardoso said.
French midfielder Emmanuel Petit’s goal in the last minute of the game was the 171st scored in the tournament, leaving France ’98 with an average of 2.67 goals per game.
That is just slightly down from the 2.71 average at USA ’94.