The 20th anniversary of when Roberto Carlos bent time and space
June 4, 2017
This day in football history
On 3 June 1997, Brazil managed a 1–1 draw with France in the opening match of the Tournoi de France thanks to one of the most celebrated goals in football history.
Organized by the French Football Federation as a friendly in anticipation of the 1998 World Cup, the Tournoi de France featured France, Brazil, England, and Italy. The first two kicked the competition off before a crowd of 28,193 at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland.
Midway through the first half, with the match still scoreless, Brazil won a free kick about 35 meters out in the right channel. Roberto Carlos stepped up to take the kick, taking a long run and blasting the ball to his right around the wall of French defenders. It appeared to be heading well out of bounds, but took an improbable and dramatic curve to the left, striking the post and deflecting into the goal. The curve completely baffled French keeper Fabien Barthez, who stood rooted to his post as the ball flew into the net.
France equalized with a 55th-minute strike from midfielder Marc Keller to end the match 1–1, but finished third in the tournament behind Brazil and first-place England. It proved to be good practice, though, as France and Brazil met again in the World Cup final the next summer, with France winning 3–0.