On this day: Aime Jacquet steps down from French post

Former France head coach Aime Jacquet shouts out orders from the touchline on July 12, 1998.
© Getty Images
Sixteen years ago today, Aime Jacquet's resignation as manager of World Cup winners France was confirmed.

The saying 'good things come to those who wait' is highly relevant where the French national side is concerned.

If the majority of supporters and France-based media had got their way, Aime Jacquet would have been replaced long before they hosted the 1998 World Cup.

Les Bleus may have reached the semi-finals of Euro '96 in England, but there was major concerns over what many perceived to be a dour and defensive style of football. There were even cries for the manager to resign following the conclusion of Le Tournoi in 1997, when France finished third behind Brazil and England.

He remained in the position, though, and the patience that had been shown in him by the French Football Federation would soon be rewarded as Jacquet and his team made history.

Having struggled to score goals over the previous two years, the men in blue ran riot during the group stages of their own World Cup, with South Africa and Saudi Arabia being beaten 3-0 and 4-0 respectively before a 2-1 victory was recorded over Denmark.

In the last 16, Laurent Blanc scored the tournament's first ever golden goal to defeat Paraguay, while a penalty shootout was required to dispose of Italy in the quarter-finals.

When Davor Suker put Croatia in front in the semi-finals, it seemed that France would fall at the semi-final stage, but a brace of goals from defender Lilian Thuram secured his team's spot in the final. The French may not have set the world alight throughout the knockout stages, but Jacquet had managed to achieve something that none of his predecessors had done - guide France into the world's biggest football match.

Holders Brazil, without a fully-fit Ronaldo, would be the opponents in the Paris final, with a close contest anticipated. However, it was anything but that thanks to two headers from Jacquet's playmaker Zinedine Zidane and then Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit.

As a nation rejoiced a maiden World Cup title, a vindicated Jacquet announced his intention to step down from the role, although that was not officially confirmed until 16 years ago today when he returned to his previous role as technical director of French football.

Zinedine Zidance scores a penalty for France against England on June 13, 2014.
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