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  Results & Reviews: Match 04


Zidane rescues France
Two late goals doom England in high-profile Euro 2004 showdown

It was the Euro 2000 final all over again.

In Rotterdam four years ago, France was moments from defeat against Italy in the European Championship final when Sylvain Wiltord equalized deep into injury time. David Trezeguet scored a golden goal winner and France won its second European title.

Sunday's 2-1 victory over archrival England was possibly even more dramatic.

France was close to its first loss in 19 games having conceded a goal for the first time in almost a year. Then Zinedine Zidane showed why he's the world's best player.

"It was an exceptional game, like we had in 2000 with Portugal and Italy," Zidane said. "In these two matches we managed to reverse the trend, and we did it again."

Group B 13 June 2004 1945 CET

Luz, Lisbon Attendance 65,000


Zidane 91,93 pen

Lampard 38
France (4-4-2) Barthez; Thuram, Gallas, Silvestre (Sagnol 79), Lizarazu; Pires (Wiltord 76), Vieira, Makelele (Dacourt 94), Zidane (c); Henry, Trezeguet.
England (4-4-2) James; G.Neville, King, Campbell, Cole; Beckham (c), Lampard, Gerrard, Scholes (Hargreaves 76); Rooney (Heskey 76), Owen (Vassell 69).
Referee Markus Merk (GER)

The France captain powered home an injury time free kick and, two minutes later, a penalty as Jacques Santini's men snatched the unlikely victory. In the space of 120 seconds, England went from the top of Euro 2004 group B to the bottom.

"It was the last chance free kick, we were not expecting a match like that," Zidane said.

In the Euro 2000 semifinal against Portugal, Zidane scored an injury-time penalty winner with the match heading for a penalty shootout. His nerve held again this time -- but England captain David Beckham's did not.

He went from hero to villain, missing a second-half penalty after setting up England's opening goal for Frank Lampard, in front of a 65,000 sellout at the Stadium of Light filled mostly with English fans.

Lampard's 38th-minute header from Beckham's free kick put England in command and was the first goal given up by France in 1,078 minutes -- 12 games. Beckham earned the free kick after being fouled by left-back Bixente Lizarazu.

Beckham missed a chance to make it 2-0 after Wayne Rooney -- capping a brilliant 40-meter (yard) run down the left side -- was pulled down by Mikael Silvestre. But French 'keeper Fabien Barthez guessed correctly and dived right to stop Beckham's spot kick.

"You have to create your own luck," Barthez said. "At 2-0 the match is over. With a Beckham penalty it is 90 percent luck for a goalkeeper and 10 percent concentration."

Barthez, who cost Marseille the UEFA Cup final when he gave away a first-half penalty against Valencia, saved France this time around -- proving again thrives on the big occasion.

"This match will enter history books," he said. Four years ago, Barthez's stunning late save denied Portugal a berth in the Euro 2000 final.

Beckham blamed himself for England's loss -- only the second under Eriksson in competitive matches.

"We battled for 89 minutes to win the game and fought really well," said Beckham.

"I hold my hands up to that," he said. "I couldn't have struck it (the penalty) any better, but he read me -- and fair play to Fabien."

"Sometime you get the run of the play and they got in the last couple of minutes. We didn't deserve that tonight, but that's football."

Santini praised Barthez.

"The goalkeeping of Fabien Barthez held France in the game," Santini said. "His penalty save was one of the turning points of the match. A save like that at such a time can only help psychologically."

Eriksson believes England should have won.

"We definitely deserved to win, we played really well," he said. "We have to overcome this very quickly and start again."

The victory puts France in command of Group B after Croatia and Switzerland played a 0-0 draw in the day's first match.

Zidane curled in a 23-meter (yard) free kick in the first minute of injury time to jolt a stadium filled mostly with English fans.

France earned the chance after Emile Heskey's crude foul on Claude Makelele. Zidane's kick looped over the wall and dipped viciously, giving 'keeper David James little chance.

In the third minute of stoppage time, striker Thierry Henry ran onto an underhit back pass from Steven Gerrard and was tripped as he rounded James.

"The referee (Markus Merk) made a nice gesture in only giving James a yellow card," said Barthez. "He went for the ball."

From the spot-kick, James dived left and the ball went right as Zidane notched his 25th international goal to spark of scenes of wild jubilation. Santini punched the air and sank to his knees in relief and players hugged each other.

Just like they did in Rotterdam four years ago.
- AP



  Group Standings

Group B

P W D L F A Pt
France 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Switzerland 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Croatia 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
England 1 0 0 1 1 2 0


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  Match Stats

2 Goals 1
0 Halftime 1
5 Corners 2
3 Offsides 1
15 Fouls 19
2 Yellow cards 3
0 Red cards 0
20 Free kicks 18
9 Shots on target 2
10 Shots off target 4
0 Woodwork 0
1 Saves 4
0 GL Clearances 0
53% Possession 47%



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