André Schürrle became the fifth Chelsea player to be involved in a World Cup final and then joined Legends, Marcel Dessaily and Frank Leboeuf, to be the third Chelsea player to eventually win the prestigious cup. The French captain of the 1998 squad, Didier Deschamps joined the Blues a year after he won it, then in 2006, Chelsea’s Claude Makélélé and William Gallas tasted the agony of defeat against Italy as they lost on penalties 5-4, Florent Malouda who was part of the 2006 runners up squad eventually joined Chelsea a year later and most recently Fernando Torres who lifted the trophy as a Liverpool player in 2010 and moved a year after to be a Blue.
It’s worth knowing that the first Chelsea player at a World Cup was Roy Bentley for England in 1950 and the first non-English player at a World Cup was Gordon Durie for Scotland in 1990, but the 1998 World Cup proved to be the one that was a bit special for the club, it featured the first Chelsea player to score, the first Chelsea players to move to various rounds of the tournament from the round of 16 to the finals itself and the first Chelsea players to be eventual winners.
The first Chelsea player to score in a World Cup was Romanian full back, Dan Petrescu who scored against England against team mate at the time, Graeme Le Saux. Chelsea had quite a number of their own at the 1998 world cup, Spain’s Albert Ferrer and Denmark’s Brian Laudrup both signed for the club before the competition had begun and Brian Laudrup showed fans a glimpse of his abilities on the world stage, scoring and assisting in a 4-1 victory over Nigeria who had club icon, Celestine Babayaro in the squad. To André Flo also scored in the tournament as Norway progressed to the round of 16.
However the round of 16 and quarterfinals would see the end of most Chelsea players, Babayaro and Nigeria were out after losing 4-1 to Denmark, Petrescu’s Romania lost with a lone goal to Croatia, while Flo’s Norway said goodbye after a defeat to Italy, and it’s worth knowing the Italian side didn’t call up club legends Roberto Di Matteo or Gianfranco Zola for the tournament.
Denmark eventually lost to Brazil in a brilliant quarterfinal game which ended 3-2, Brian Laudrup scored an equalizer to make it 2-2 but 10 minutes later, Brazilian legend, Rivaldo scored what proved to be the winner. Albert Ferrer and Spain shocking didn’t progress from the group stages as well as Jamaica who had Frank Sinclair in their side, being massive underdogs.
France enjoyed the tournament the most as they progressed to the final and beat Brazil 3-0 with the legendary Zinedine Zidane scoring 2 brilliant headers while eventual Blue Emmanuel Petit who was playing for Arsenal at the time scored the last goal to confirm the French’s first World Cup win in history.
To end a thrilling month of football Mario Götze struck in extra time as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the tournament for a fourth time. It was a delightful night for the Germans and the only Chelsea representative in the squad, Schürrle, who confirmed that it was his best day ever. So once again congratulations to Schürrle, who did in fact assist the winning goal just like his new teammate, Cesc Fabregas had done 4 years ago in South Africa, and also congratulations to Germany.