28 June 2014

ON THIS DAY: Blanc saves France with 'golden goal'

In this Sunday, June 28, 1998 file photo, France's Laurent Blanc scores against Paraguay in extra time of the soccer World Cup second round soccer match, at the Felix Bollaert stadium in Lens, France. On this day: Blanc scored the first "golden goal" in World Cup finals history to give France a 1-0 win over Paraguay.
On June 28 in World Cup 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 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, shot past Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert to secure victory. By 2006 in Germany, FIFA reverted to the traditional 30-minute period of extra time.