Euro Whites: Vincent Candela

Ahead of the second round of Euro 2016 group games, profiles a former French World and European champion who later completed a loan move to the Reebok Stadium

With host nation France back in action against Albania tonight, continues our ongoing series throughout Euro 2016 as we profile another World Cup-winning former Wanderer who helped Les Bleus lift the European Championships back in 2000.

FRANCE (1996-2003) 

European Championships: 1 (EURO 2000) 
Best Stage Reached: WINNERS 

Tournament Appearances:
Tournament Goals: 0

Although his time at the Reebok Stadium may have been brief, and without the impact of compatriot Youri Djorkaeff, Vincent Candela enjoyed a highly successful international career prior to his move to Bolton Wanderers. 

Both a World and European champion with France, the 42-year-old found himself behind legendary defender Bixente Lizarazu in the Les Bleus’ pecking order but still won 40 caps during his seven years with the national side. 

Coming through the ranks at Toulouse, the left-back moved to Guingamp in 1995 and was a member of the France side that reached the quarter-finals at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games – won by Jay-Jay Okocha’s Nigeria – and came third in the European U21 Championships. 

Handed a senior international debut against Turkey in October 1996, Candela became the first ever Guingamp player to play for France, before he joined AS Roma the following January.

Continuing to impress in Serie A, he was included in the France squad for the 1998 World Cup. 

Making one appearance during the tournament, he completed 90 minutes in France’s final group game over Denmark with their place in the knock-out stages already secured, before watching on from the sidelines as they went on to beat Brazil 3-0 in the final to win the World Cup for the first time.

Handed his European Championships debut in a qualifier against Andorra three months after France’s World Cup win, Candela marked the occasion with his first ever international goal as Les Bleus secured a 2-0 victory. 

Helping France qualify automatically for the finals in Belgium and the Netherlands, Candela was named in their Euro 2000 squad alongside future Wanderers Nicolas Anelka and Djorkaeff. 

Drawn in a group with Czech Republic, Denmark and The Netherlands, the defender again found himself behind Lizarazu as France opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory over the Danes. 

However, he started in their next game against Czech Republic, completing 90 minutes as France secured a 2-1 victory thanks to a second half winner from Djorkaeff. 

Retaining his place for France’s final group game against co-hosts The Netherlands, Candela again completed 90 minutes as they fell to a 3-2 defeat. 

Still qualifying for the knockout stages as group runners-up, Lizarazu came back into the side for the remainder of the tournament as France knocked out both Spain and Portugal to reach the final. 

Facing off against Italy, Sylvain Wiltord cancelled out Marco Delvecchio’s opener late on to force extra-time before David Trezeguet secured a famous win, netting an 103rd minute golden goal as France became the first ever nation to become both World and European champions at the same time. 

Replicating his international success at the club-level, Candela helped Roma lift the 2000/01 Serie A title though he was not included in France’s successful 2001 Confederations Cup winning side. 

Netting his second international goal against Algeria in October 2001, the defender was recalled for France’s disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign. 

An unused substitute for their opening match against Senegal, Candela started both their remaining group games against Uruguay and Denmark as France suffered a shock group-stage exit. 

Winning his final cap against Tunisia shortly after the tournament, Candela later joined Bolton Wanderers on loan in January 2005. 

Making 12 appearances during his brief stint at the Reebok Stadium, the defender helped the Whites qualify for Europe for the first time in the club’s history, before finishing his career in Italy with brief stints at Udinese, AC Siena and FC Messina.

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