has Brazil's number. And on Saturday in Frankfurt, Germany, the French had all
the flair, too.
France's Thierry Henry celebrates, as Brazil
coach Carlos Alberto Parreira walks in the background, after France
defeated Brazil in their World Cup 2006 quarter-final soccer match in
Frankfurt July 1, 2006. [Reuters]
The experienced and savvy French ousted the five-time World Cup champions 1-0
in a stunningly one-sided quarterfinal game. Tacked onto France's 3-0 victory in
the 1998 title match, the last time Brazil lost in the World Cup, it's clear the
Brazilians have a nemesis at soccer¡¯s highest level.
The heroes were familiar as well. Zinedine Zidane, headed into retirement
after the tournament, served a perfect free kick to Thierry Henry in the 57th
minute. Completely unmarked, Henry had the whole right side of the net and
smashed in a right-footed volley.
It was Zidane who sank the Brazilians in 1998, scoring two goals for France's
This was a shocking exit for Brazil, the pretournament favorite. The
Brazilians had just one shot on goal all game and allowed huge gaps in the
defense all night. Stars such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka were either
invisible or inept.
Brazil's Ronaldo reacts to his team's loss to
France after their World Cup 2006 quarter-final soccer match in Frankfurt
July 1, 2006. [Reuters]
France began the tournament so poorly it appeared headed for a first-round
exit like four years ago. Instead, France heads to the semifinals against
Portugal on Wednesday in Munich.
With Germany playing Italy in Tuesday's semifinal in Dortmund, this will be
the first all-European final four since 1982.
In the final minutes, Brazil desperately pressed forward, with Ronaldinho
surfacing at last and barely missing on a free kick. Two more attacks yielded
nothing as France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez screamed at his teammates to hold
Barthez was gripping a floater by Lucio as the clock ran out, setting off a
wild celebration in which the France players mobbed each other while jumping in
a circle. Several of them offered hugs to the vanquished and dazed Brazilians
before heading to the corner where their fans were waving flags, take pictures,
and savoring a magnificent victory.
0, England 0 (Portugal wins shootout 3-1): The ending is familiar: Luiz Felipe
Scolari pumps his arms, his players wildly celebrate and their English rivals
slump to the field, beaten and exhausted.
Horacio Elizondo of Argentina shows England's Wayne Rooney a red card
during their World Cup 2006 quarter-final soccer match against Portugal in
Gelsenkirchen July 1, 2006. [Reuters]
Portugal, Brazil, it doesn¡¯t matter. When Big Phil is coaching, his team will
send England home. That goes double when the team is Portugal, triple when it
comes down to penalty kicks.
England gamely hung on after David Beckham got hurt and Wayne Rooney got
ejected, but lost to Portugal 3-1 in a shootout Saturday night in Gelsenkirchen,
Germany, after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Ricardo, Portugal's goalkeeper, saved three penalty kicks as his nation
advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1966, when it lost to
England. The final kick was converted by Cristiano Ronaldo, who stars for
When extra time ran out, the boisterous English fans seemed happy to have
survived, jumping and singing "Que Sera, Sera" as penalty kicks loomed. But
shootouts are not where England shines, and it now has lost five of six in major
tournaments over the last 16 years.
Portugal also beat England on penalty kicks in the European Championship
quarterfinals two years ago. Scolari has won three straight big games over the
English, he led Brazil to a 2-1 quarterfinal win in the 2002 World Cup and
Portugal to the Euro 2004 victory. In April, he turned down an overture to
succeed Sven-Goran Eriksson as England' s coach after this