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Magnificent Platini the scourge of Yugoslavia

Published: Saturday 4 October 2003, 13.55CET
France 3-2 Yugoslavia
Captain Michel Platini scored his second hat-trick in as many games to maintain the hosts' perfect record heading into the semi-finals.
Published: Saturday 4 October 2003, 13.55CET

Magnificent Platini the scourge of Yugoslavia

France 3-2 Yugoslavia
Captain Michel Platini scored his second hat-trick in as many games to maintain the hosts' perfect record heading into the semi-finals.

Pre-tournament favourites France continued to live up to their billing with a 3-2 victory against Yugoslavia in their final group game.

Yugoslavia, already eliminated, again played with spirit and style, but were put to the sword by the elegant Michel Platini, whose midfield partners gave him the luxury of roaming the field in search of position from which he could inflict damage. After spurning an early chance and watching on as his team fell behind, captain Platini took it upon himself to lead by example and scored his second hat-trick of the tournament, a unique feat in the finals.

It all looked so different for Yugoslavia just after the half-hour, Miloš Šestić exchanging passes with Safet Sušić before rifling into the top corner from just outside the penalty area – Yugoslavia's first goal of the finals.

France still trailed at half-time but then, just when his team needed him, Platini came to the fore. He bravely turned in Jean-Marc Ferreri's cross at the back post to draw Les Bleus level just prior to the hour and, three minutes later, France were in front, Patrick Battiston providing the delivery from the right and Platini the glorious glancing header.

The piece de resistance came with 13 minutes left when Platini, in splendidly languid fashion, got his free-kick up, over the wall and into the corner. Dragan Stojković's 84th-minute penalty halved Yugoslavia's arrears but this was a game that belonged to the irrepressible Platini.

Last updated: 01/04/16 16.44CET

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