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Emmanuel Petit Has Claimed France's World Cup '98 Win Might Have Been Fixed

Emmanuel Petit Has Claimed France's World Cup '98 Win Might Have Been Fixed
By Gavan Casey

Former Arsenal midfielder and World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit has gone off on one, and it's very strange indeed.

In light of recent FIFA revelations, and perhaps too the controversy surrounding Michel Platini, Petit has questioned as whether France's World Cup victory on home soil in 1998 was deliberately structured by the footballing powers that be.

In a strange outburst during an online interview, Petit branded his former international teammates "puppets," and asked of the tournament, "was it fixed?"

For the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself 'Did we really win the World Cup?' I ask myself that question today. Was it fixed?

he said.

I have no idea. On the pitch we gave it everything. We truly gave it everything against our opponents - we did everything to win.

The decorated midfielder related France '98 to Brazil two summers ago, where the hosts were gifted an extremely controversial - nay, farcical - penalty 19 minutes from time, edging them past Croatia in the opening fixture.

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We prepared. But with everything that’s going on today, I ask myself, after seeing what happened during Brazil’s World Cup, that first game between Brazil and Croatia.

I’m sorry, but, a bit shady? Sometimes it scares me. I ask myself if I’m becoming paranoid.

France's 3-0 victory over Brazil in the '98 final saw a below-par Ronaldo struggle to make an impact, having suffered a convulsive fit on the day of the final. Even then, there were rumours of a potential poisoning attempt - a conspiracy which even Petit doesn't buy into.

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He does however suggest that the French national team is but an agent of economic development:

Weren’t we puppets? Haven’t we always only and solely been puppets, keeping the economy moving, and don't worry about anything else.

Today I ask myself that question, did we really win the World Cup in 1998? Myself, I believe we did. In any case us, the players, we did everything for that.

Beyond that, if there was anything else or not, I don’t know – but I do ask myself the question. It’s been 17 years since we won the World Cup, and for the last few weeks I do ask myself that question.

It's an unsettling thought, but one which has cropped up in the past with regards to host nations - most notably South Korea's march to the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, which included some borderline scandalous decisions at both Spain and Italy's expense.

However, the claims will likely be met with much scrutiny in Petit's native land. In 2014 he claimed France would be better off under German rule, so, you know...pincée de sel, and all that.

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[Mirror]

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