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A beautiful game?

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Seller Inventory APC New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since Seller Inventory IQ Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Seller Inventory M Ships with Tracking Number! Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. You can see it as a player. And it is not just a goal but also a block, a rebound in your favour, a miss by the opposition. There were signs that things were going our way. The first game, the group stages and then there is always something going for us in the knockout stages: Laurent Blanc's golden goal in the last 16 in extra-time against Paraguay, the penalty shootout in the quarter against Italy, Lilian Thuram and his brace in the semis against Croatia.

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The final even felt like an easy game because we felt so strong and so unstoppable. We could feel how strong we were, especially defensively and how tough we were to play against, but you still need a little bit of luck and help that makes you do it. Pires: We worked so hard for this and you always reap what you sow.

In French we say that all the planets aligned. As players and staff, we had an incredible mental strength. We were ready for anything that could be thrown at us.

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And we had an answer for everything. The cohesion in the group was marvellous. Maybe the gods of football were really behind us! Tournon: Deschamps was not happy with the lack of support we got at the beginning of the competition. He wanted more noise, more passion. He said there were too many corporate fans in their suits and ties in the stands. We realised that the country was really behind us when we travelled from our HQ in Clairefontaine, 45 minutes south of Paris, to Lens, in the north of the country, for the last match against Paraguay.

We got there by coach and all through the way, we saw hundreds of people on the roads, in their car, waving at us, encouraging us. Before that, we didn't have much contact with the outside world. But on that day, it felt like a dream. All those people were with us, behind us.

Once we got there, it was incredible. After the win, it was even better. It was phenomenal. The players felt the support, the warmth, the bond. We are down and we can see that "Tutu" is not happy. Then he goes and scores two goals, pretty much out of nowhere and out of nothing to win us the game and to send us into the final! What were the odds on that? It was incredible.

He always used to say that when he was in front of goal, he never knew where to shoot because he thought the keeper was always taking too much room in the goal! So for him to score twice in a World Cup semifinal was just incredible. He always used to eat a bowl full of salad every evening during the World Cup. So we all thought the salad was the secret of his success. So between the semifinal and the final we all ate a bowl of salad!

Guivarc'h: When you feel strong and dominant then you often have a bit of luck going your way. You always say that big teams and big clubs always have a bit of luck. We felt so strong as a squad that over time something went our way, it made us even stronger.

And you get to a point where you know that pretty much nothing can happen to you, where you feel so close to the top. We knew that big games were always won on details. For me, there was a special force over us. France went into the final on the crest of a wave and buoyed by the support of a fervent nation, but Jacquet's side were underdogs against holders Brazil. However, the hours before the game saw a saga develop that changed things and, even to this day, has many shaking their heads in wonder. Cesar Sampaio former Brazil midfielder and World Cup finalist : On the afternoon of the final, at around 2 p.

I get into his room with Edmundo and what I can see is shocking.

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Ronaldo's head is purple, he is struggling to breathe, drooling and all his muscles are contracted. I remember seeing my dad is a similar state after he had a seizure in the past. The rest of the team then arrived and the doctors too. They gave Ronaldo a sedative and he managed to calm down and sleep.

Pires: It is only by the time we were on our way to the Stade de France that someone told me that Ronaldo had a problem and he might not play. But it was too late.

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Whether he would play or not would not change anything in our approach or game plan. We actually wanted him to play. We felt so ready and so strong that we were ready for anything. Sampaio: Usually we put a lot of samba music on the bus but [on the way to the stadium], it was silence. Everyone was so worried as he was the best player on our team. A few minutes before the game, with everyone dressed and ready, Ronaldo arrived in the dressing room saying: "I am going to play; the exams didn't show anything.

I want to play; this could be my last World Cup. Frankie was so up for it; he would have faced anyone! Now with hindsight, you could say that Brazil and the players were affected by what happened to Ronaldo. But even if he had been percent fit, we were so confident we would win that he would not have made a difference for us. Sampaio: We were so shaken on the pitch and worried about Ronaldo. We thought he could die on the pitch.

We felt he risked his life in the final. We were not even at 50 percent of the ability we showed earlier in the tournament in the final. The World Cup might be remembered by many as Zinedine Zidane's tournament and it is true that his two goals against Brazil proved decisive in the final but, prior to that game, the talismanic midfielder had had a mixed time. Tournon: After his red card against Saudi Arabia in the group stages, [Zidane] was mortified. It was a silly incident and he knew he made a huge mistake. During the two matches he was banned, he was the team's No. Pires: I think he really wanted to redeem himself after his red card.

He knew he made a mistake but he also wanted to do more in the final than he did in the previous rounds. Guivarc'h: [Zidane] was our best player by a mile, probably the best player France have ever had and we always knew he had that in him. You knew that if someone could win us the World Cup, it was him. Until the final, it is true that he hadn't been at his total best in the tournament. He was one of the reasons why we were strong but because he was part of the collective, not because of his individual brilliance. He was born to deliver trophies and happiness to people and to win big games.

When it mattered, in the game that mattered the most, he guided the team to victory. Lizarazu: The collective strength of this team made the difference. But it was us as a team. We beat every challenge and obstacle together. We can't forget that we found an answer to all our issues: When Zizou was suspended for two games, when Laurent Blanc was suspended for the final and Franck Leboeuf came in and did a great job.

All the younger players like Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet played their part too. However, we needed [Zidane] to win the biggest game of all. And he did. Pires: Big games belong to big players.

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There is no bigger game than a World Cup final so it was his stage. That's where he wanted to shine and he did just that. Aime Jacquet saw a weakness on defending set pieces from Brazil. He told Zizou to go at the near post and that the Brazilians didn't jump on corners.

That's the story of those two headers.

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The final whistle was the signal for millions of ecstatic people to pour into streets throughout France. For those directly involved, the effect of what they had achieved took some time to sink in but, when it did, they realised the magnitude of the victory went beyond football. The team became known as "la France black-blanc-beur" -- the black-white-north African France -- due to its range of ethnicities: Desailly was born in Ghana and Patrick Vieira in Senegal, for example, while Lizarazu and Deschamps were from the French Basque Country and Emmanuel Petit came from Normandy.

Tournon: It was surreal. Between July 12 at and July 14 at around , when we left the parade and the reception at l'Elysee [the presidential palace in Paris], we were on another planet.

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We didn't realise what had just happened. We are world champions but the country is feeling much more than that. After the final, we went back to Clairefontaine and then it was wild. One million people on the Champs Elysees for the parade, the whole of France in the streets in the rest of the country celebrating. We could not believe it. It felt like a dream. Lizarazu: You have no idea. You are in the moment, you have just won the World Cup. You are still in your bubble in a way.

And then you see the madness.