Saturday, March 28, 2009

28 March 1984 - And Luxembourg Is Right Next To France

On 28 March 1984, France beat Austria in Bordeaux, by the score of 1-0. It was the second match in France's streak of twelve consecutive wins over a period of thirteen months. Midfielder Michel Platini was the French captain during the run, which started with a 2-0 win over England on 29 February 1984. The French followed up their victory over Austria with wins against West Germany (1-0) and Scotland (2-0).

France's success carried into the summer, when it hosted the 1984 UEFA European Championship. The French swept their group, beating Denmark (1-0), Belgium (5-0), and Yugoslavia (3-2) and advanced to the semifinals against Portgual, setting up a match that became one of the most exciting contests in the history of the Euros. After the teams went into extra time tied at 1-1, striker Rui Jordao put Portugal ahead in the 98th minute. Les Bleus staged a stunning comeback with a goal from Jean-Francois Domergue in the 114th minute to bring them level before Platini scored the winning goal in the 119th minute. France then defeated Spain in the final, 2-0, to claim their first major international title.

The French continued their incredible run with victories in World Cup qualifiers against Luxembourg (4-0), Bulgaria (1-0), and East Germany (2-0). After more than a year since the streak began, it finally ended on 3 April 1985 when France drew 0-0 with Yugoslavia in their final qualifying match. Despite the draw, France finished at the top of its qualifying group and progressed to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. There, Les Bleus advanced to the semifinals where they lost to West Germany 2-0, then beat Belgium 4-2 in the third place match.

Throughout its run of victories, France enjoyed a significant home advantage, as all but one of the twelve matches in the streak were played in France. The other one was the 4-0 win away to Luxembourg.

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