Tuesday, November 27, 2012

27 November 1941 - France's Friend In Need

On 27 November 1941, World Cup-winning French manager Aimé Jacquet was born in the commune of Sail-sous-Couzan.

He enjoyed a long a successful playing career as a defensive midfielder, spending thirteen seasons at Saint-Étienne from 1960 to 1973. While there, he won five league titles and lifted the Coupe de France three times (and in 1968, he made his only two appearances for France). He moved to Lyon for his last two seasons before retiring in 1976, then took charge of the club as manager that year.

After four seasons in charge of Lyon, he switched to Bordeaux and guided the Girondins to the league title in 1984 and 1985, the Coupe de France in 1986, and a league and cup double in 1987. Despite that success, he fell out with the club president and left in 1989. Brief spells with Montpellier (1989-90) and Nancy (1990-91) followed before he took the reins of the national team in 1993.

When he took over, France had just failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and shortly afterward suffered the loss of captain Eric Cantona to a year-long suspension. But he rebuilt the team around midfielder Zinedine Zidane and led them to the quarterfinals of Euro '96.

He adopted a 4-2-1-3 formation and frequently experimented with his line-up, which drew heavy criticism from French commentators. But his work led France to victory in the 1998 World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Brazil in the Stade de France.

Jacquet stepped down as manager immediately after the tournament, but served as technical director for the national team until his retirement 2006.

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