Colin Hendry enjoyed an accomplished career at club level but his shining moment came in 1998 when leading his country out against the World Cup champions.
The former Scotland captain earned 51 caps for his nation and had the honour of captaining the side during their World Cup campaign in 1998 – their first since 1990 after failing to qualify for the 1994 tournament. Their group consisted of Norway and Morocco and the reigning champions, Brazil. A squad littered with world class talent, they rightly entered the tournament as favourites and they opened up the tournament against Hendry's Scotland.
The defender, who won the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995, opened up about the lead-up to the game during an appearance on the 'Under the Cosh' podcast where he said walking out in the kilt stunned the Brazilians before discussing just how excited some of his team-mates were when taking part in the commencement of the competition.
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He said: "As we’re walking out, I’m leading of course with Jim Leighton’s behind me and Tommy Boyd’s behind him. Then Colin Calderwood comes out and goes the other way! He was so excited and so pumped up that he went in the wrong direction!" He added that while he was walking out, the team's coach, Craig Brown approached him to ask him how he is.
"As I was walking out, Craig walked past me and said, “Skipper, are you all right?’ I said, “Yeah, I’m good’. He said, ‘Well just have a quick look behind you’. So I’ve looked behind me and just coming out of the Brazil dressing room you’ve got Dunga, the captain.
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"Then you’ve got Taffarel, the goalie. Roberto Carlos, the full-back. Then you’ve got Rivaldo, then Bebeto. Then Ronaldo". Hendry was tasked with marking Ronaldo who was the reigning World Player of the Year thanks to a remarkable season with Barcelona where he scored 47 goals in 49 goals before leaving for Inter Milan in a transfer that broke the world record.
Hendry continued and said what his coach told him, calling it: "the best quote of all quotes". "I’ve looked back at Craig and he says, ‘Have you seen their eyes? They’re f****ing s****ing themselves!’. That was Craig! I was just standing there thinking I’ve just heard the best quote of all quotes and I’m about to play the world champions in the biggest game of my life."
Scotland showed a good account of themselves despite losing 2-1 and were shortly eliminated from the tournament after failing to win any of their three group stage games, which remains the last time the country competed in a World Cup.
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