Source: euro2008.uefa

06-04-2008 20:16

Few major tournament wins have captured the imagination like France's 1984 UEFA European Championship success on home soil. In an all-star team, the inspiration was captain Michel Platini whose nine-goal tally, including two hat-tricks, remains a finals record, capped by his opener in the decider against Spain. It was a special moment after the penalties heartbreak against West Germany in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals two years earlier, masterminded by coach Michel Hidalgo.

Michel Platini (left) and coach Michel Hidalgo celebrate their victory in 1984 (©Getty Images) 
Michel Platini (left) and coach Michel Hidalgo celebrate their victory 
in 1984 (©Getty Images)

What are your memories of the 1984 finals?

"I remember it very well because it was the first official title won by France in a team sport, so it was a great moment for French football and for French sport. For us, it was also something symbolic after the rather special defeat we had suffered in the semi-final of the World Cup in Seville against Germany. Other than that, France had a very good tournament. We were superior to everybody and expressed ourselves on the pitch."

Were you at the peak of your career at that moment?

"No, I don't think I was at the summit of my career at that point because if you want to stay at the top, you have to last a long time. But it was the only final tournament where I wasn't injured. In 1982 I was injured – I had a groin problem – and in 1986 I was injured – with bursitis on a nerve. In 1984 I wasn't injured and I was able to perform to my peak."

How would you compare France's European champions of 2000 with your team?

"It's difficult to compare the teams from 1984 and 2000 because the players were not the same; the playing systems were not the same. I would say that the 2000 team had more international experience because practically all the players were playing abroad. In 1984, I was the only one playing for a foreign team. You could say that the 1984 team had come through the 1982 and 1978 World Cups and, in a way, the 2000 team are an indirect result of that generation who have, by and large, stayed in French football. In 1978, there was no one to give us advice from, for example, the 1958 team – because it was a lovely team that we had in 1958. There was no continuity and we could say that the current state of French football dates back to the 1970s – around 1976 – when we started to win matches. We won a European title; we went to a World Cup; and the players have stayed in the game. We're talking about people who have gone into coaching such as [Jean] Tigana, [Alain] Giresse, [Luis] Fernandez and [Bernard] Genghini. They've all continued as coaches and I think their experience contributed to the teams from 1998 and 2000."


Editor:Zhang Ning