Saturday, July 01, 2006
Brazil had not lost a Fifa World Cup match since the 1998 game but Zinedine Zidane, the three times World Player of the Year who had authored Brazil's downfall in Paris, left the signature of his gifts in his trademark flair in the Commerzbank Arena.
The experienced French defense of Liliam Thuram, Claude Makelele and Patrick Viera did their bit to confine the 2002 World Champions to a single shot on target in 90 minutes. In attack pace and skill of newcomer Frank Ribery ripped Brazilian defence open and Zidane found him time and again.
Thierry Henry, who also appeared in the finals eight years ago, scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes after half-time. Zidane flighted a freekick to the far post where Henry ran in and jumped to side-foot a volley past Dida.
Zidane's performance in the eyes of experienced observers reawakened memories of his best games for France. He orchestrated nearly everything France did well and always had time for graceful turns, effortless passes, mesmerizing footwork that evaded legs to keep the ball under control.
If 34 year old Zidane played like the game might have been his last match, Brazil's Ronaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos, also over 30, were unable to rise to the same heights on this occasion.
On 90 minutes Ronaldinho had a freekick opportunity 25 yards from goal but it was not to be his night either; his shot fizzed over the bar.
The result meant Raymond Domenech's side would meet Portugal in the semi-final round of the World Cup in Munich on Wednesday, July 5."
France beat Brazil 1-0 to take last semi-final spot - Wikinews