Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1 November 1988 - France's Favorite Son Returns (Briefly)

On 1 November 1988, former French captain and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini returned to the national team, this time as manager.

Platini, who won three consecutive Ballons d'Or with Juventus in 1984, 1985, and 1986, made 72 appearances for Les Bleus from 1976 to 1987, skippering them to the 1984 European Championship and a third-place finish in the 1986 World Cup under manager Henri Michel (although Platini did not play in the latter match).

After Platini's international retirement, France failed to qualify for the 1988 European Championship, then suffered an embarrassing 1-1 draw with Cyprus on 22 October in the second match of their qualification campaign for the 1990 World Cup. France responded by sacking manager Henri Michel and bringing Platini in as his replacement. He was unable to correct the course, however, starting his tenure with losses to Yugoslavia and Scotland.

France did not qualify for the World Cup, but appeared to be resurgent in their efforts to reach the 1992 European Championship, topping their qualification group with eight wins in eight matches. Once in the tournament, however, they again struggled, drawing twice and losing once as they exited in the first round. Platini stepped down soon afterward and moved into administration. He is currently the president of UEFA and has been tapped as the successor to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

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