In advance of the February 9, 2011 friendly between Brazil and France, "Bringing Back the Beautiful Game" will return to the history of national competition between France and Brazil, starting in 1986 all the way through the World Cups of 1998 and 2006. Along the way, we will take a close look at players such as Socrates, Zico, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane, four of the exemplars, par excellence, of the beautiful game. For now, however, we will begin with Roberto Carlos's celebrated, banana free kick that seemingly defied physics and the laws of gravity. Football has rarely witnessed a free kick with quite the degree of curve as this one.
Brazil ended up with a 1-1 draw to France and ultimately earned second place in the competition, finishing runners up to England. Even though Brazil fielded the "Ro Ro" strike partnership of Romario and Ronaldo that netted their share of remarkable goals, the tournament ultimately became famous for Roberto Carlos's 21st minute free kick at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon on June 3, 1997.