World Cup: Zizou on fire ends Brazil's hopes

, posted: 2-Jul-2006 08:53

Zinedine Zidane out-Brazilianed Brazil in today's quarter final in a game where the French were in control most of the time. Zidane's long, perfectly placed free kick across the Brazilian box in the second half found the un-marked Henry who didn't miss: his beautiful right-foot volley was unstoppable, and that was the end of the World Cup for Brazil.

Brazil woke up considerably after Henry's goal, and brought on fresh substitutes Adriano, Cicinho and Robinho plus changed formation to two men at the top. That led to Barthez in the French goal finally being a little busy, but nothing came out of it. Ronaldinho and Ronaldo? Neither showed any real zeal and Kaka was a pale shadow of himself.

Zidane meanwhile played perhaps the game of his life, toying with ball and the Brazilians. All the reports describing Zizou as "ageing", "the old man" and so forth are just ridiculous. He's 34, in great shape and very obviously not past his best by a long chalk. Dull Portugal which went on to the semis by dint of beating a 10-man England team (Rooney got a very dubious red card) won't stand a chance if Zizou plays half as well as he did today.

Ribery was another stand-out in the French team, and with Henry, Vieira, Abidal and Sagnol even being on form, well, Brazil never really got a look-in on the game.

Although you can understand why, it was still disappointing to see the French slowing down the game after their goal to maintain their lead and deny Brazil any chance of equalising. France's best chance for 2-0 came via Brazil's Juan in the 61st minute, as the defender almost scored an own-goal trying to deflect a pass from Ribery to Zidane.

Still, an excellent game overall with no major refereeing mistakes and most of all: no penalty shoot out to decide it. The first half started with neither side getting anywhere, up until some ten minutes before half-time, when the French all of a sudden found their stride and never looked back.

My gut feeling is that it will be France versus Germany in the final.

Will put up a video clip of Thierry Henry's goal soon.
Meanwhile, found this Google Video of Ronaldinho and Zidane showing off their stuff: Update Had to see how Google would translate this page into French, so here it is. Highlights from the game plus Henry's goal

Other related posts:
The TechEd 2013 bag review
Timelapse clip of Brisbane superstorm
IITP Newsline: Software patents special issue

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