Friday, December 29, 2006

World Cup winning former coach Jacquet steps down from French soccer's top job

Aime Jacquet, the former soccer coach who led France's national selection to victory in the 1998 World Cup, stepped down Friday from his post as French soccer's technical director.

Jacquet was appointed to the top job in 1998, following his wildly successful four-year stint at the head of the national team. As coach, he led "Les Bleus," who failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, to a 30-game winning streak and a surprise win over Brazil in the World Cup final in 1998.

Jacquet is credited with having discovered three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane.

The 65-year-old former soldier in the French-Algerian war began as a midfielder for French clubs Saint-Etienne and Lyon before coaching for Lyon and Bordeaux.

Assistant technical director Jean-Pierre Morlans is to take over for Jacquet until a permanent replacement is found.