Saturday, August 17, 2013

17 August 1994 - That's The Way To Make A Debut

On 17 August 1994, Zinedine Zidane debuted for France, scoring two late goals to earn a draw with the Czech Republic.

The 22-year old midfielder had already made a name for himself with eight seasons in Ligue 1split equally between Cannes and Bordeauxand had just completed his first year with Juventus by winning the 1997 Serie A title. But despite six years playing for France's youth teams, he had failed to make the leap into the senior squad.

That changed in August 1994, when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic. Playing in Bordeaux, Les Bleus were down 0-2 at the break after conceding goals to Tomáš Skuhravý (42') and Daniel Šmejkal (45'). That prompted manager Aimé Jacquet to make a couple of changes at the start of the second half, one of which was bringing Zidane on for Corentin Martins.

France were still down 0-2 deep into the second half when, in the 85th minute, Zidane received a pass just inside the Czech half, beat two defenders, and unleashed a sonic boom of a shot from 25 yards out into the far top corner. That alone would have made it a memorable debut, but he added a second goal two minutes later with a towering header from about 10 yards out to earn the 2-2 draw.

He went on to score a total of 31 goals in 108 appearances for France while reaching the World Cup final twice and winning it in 1998.

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