France knock out Brazil: EURO 2006

France knock out Brazil: EURO 2006
France have booked their place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals at the expense of holders Brazil, this after a Zinedine Zidane-inspired 1-0 win for Les Bleus in Frankfurt set up a last-four clash with Portugal.
Thierry Henry’s 57th-minute volley was the game’s solitary, all-important goal, and with Raymond Domenech’s side inspired by a vintage showing from Zidane, Brazil could have few complaints at the final whistle.
France now complete an all-European line-up in the tournament’s semi-finals, with their clash against England’s conquerors Portugal scheduled for 5 July in Munich, a day after Germany and Italy do battle in Dortmund.

Coaches' quotes:

Carlos Alberto PARREIRA (BRA)

I’m very sad, and so are the team. Getting knocked out was a situation that we hadn’t prepared for. We started the game well, and our passing was sharp. But our attackers always found it difficult, because France, just like the other teams that we have played, got all of their men behind the ball. But we tried and we had a few chances.
The French team played with a lot of spirit. (Zinedine) Zidane is a player that we know well, one of the great players of the last decade. But our defence marked tightly, so much so that their goal came from a set-piece.
Technically, we have a very good team, very experienced, but when you don’t win the title, it’s because there has been something missing. We had some problems, and we needed a little more preparation, probably in terms of fitness and getting the team to play as a unit. I’m not worried about whether or not I’m going to carry on as coach of the Seleção.


We had an overall strategy for playing against Brazil, as well as individual plans for dealing with their players. Against a team like that, you can’t take the game to them throughout the 90 minutes, but if you sit back too much, you allow them to exert their stranglehold. So the idea was to find the right balance, which we managed to do by retaining control of the game. I wouldn’t say that we dominated, but we did keep the necessary control. That said, we suffered quite a bit late on.

In football, there’s no such thing as a team having to play against 11 reigning world champions. We went out onto the pitch tonight on equal terms. I don’t want to single out any of my lads in particular. You all seem surprised by how well Zinedine Zidane played, but that’s just what you get with Zizou! I could mention any of the 14 players who did a job for us tonight, and even those who stayed on the bench made contributions. As against Spain, this victory belongs to the whole squad. It wasn’t so much Zidane followed by the others, but rather Zidane together with the others.
As I’ve been telling you for quite some time now, our target is to be in Berlin on 9 July. But rather than taking the next game for granted, I’m just saying that we’ve reached another stage this evening, an exciting stage, but nothing more. We are happy, but we won’t be telling ourselves that the semi-final is enough and we’ve done what we set out to do at the World Cup. We’re going to fight until the end and see where that takes us. Two years ago, we set out with the aim of putting the smile back on the faces of our supporters. I believe we’ve done a pretty good job of that, but I can assure you that there’s more to come!

Players' Quotes:

Zinedine Zidane (FRA), Man of the match

We kept things tight and closed ranks. Physically, we were able to keep going until the end and we've come away with a deserved victory once again. Now, we're going to try and win that Trophy. I've got no intention of stopping now. It's just so amazing!


I’m very sad, very disappointed with this defeat. We had plans to go much further, but it didn’t happen. France were the better team, and when all’s said and done, that’s football. We are proud of how we battled and what we sacrificed in order to get this far. France didn’t surprise us. We knew that they were a great team, and they showed that. They played great football, intelligent football that got the better of us.

Thierry HENRY (FRA)

We deserved to win. Our tactics came off. It’s risky to say that we are the favourites against Portugal. The most important thing is to take one step at a time. As regards the goal, it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time. My job was just to put the ball in the back of the net. But the goal isn’t the most important thing for me. The most important thing is that we showed that we can play as a team. To play against Brazil, you mustn’t respect them too much, otherwise they can finish you off.


There’s no point looking around for excuses. France played better than us. They didn’t have a lot of chances, and their goal came from a set-piece, but once they scored it was very difficult for us to turn it round. I think that the team as a whole didn’t play well tonight. Robinho made a difference when he came on, and he tried to give us a lift, but now we have to accept the criticism and start to get the young players ready for the next World Cup. We didn’t play as Brazil can.

Patrick VIEIRA (FRA)

Our players were well spread out across the pitch, and we filled every gap. We played very well. The game was testament to the hard work we have put in up to now. We’re getting better with each match, just as in 1998. Now we are really up for it. Portugal will be difficult opponents, but we know that we can beat them.


I’m just lost in the moment. I don’t like making plans for the future. I’m sad because we made a lot of people cry, including my family. Now it’s time to think about our club teams again in order to carry on doing well for the national team. I don’t think that there was any problem with our preparation. France were the better team, end of story. It hurts more when you don’t play. I’m much more nervous than when I’m playing.

In conclusion:

France fully merited this victory, orchestrated by the superb Zidane, whose performance was well worthy of the Budweiser Man of the Match Award. The 34-year-old was simply sensational in this match, supplying an inch-perfect cross for Henry’s goal and showing a superb range of passing and skills throughout the 90 minutes.

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