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Zidane Gets Last Kicks in for France

June 14, 2004|From Associated Press

It was the Euro 2000 final all over again.

Four years ago at Rotterdam, Netherlands, France was moments from defeat against Italy in the European Championship final when Sylvain Wiltord tied the score deep into injury time. David Trezeguet then scored the winner and France won its second European title.

France's 2-1 victory over England on Sunday at Lisbon was perhaps even more dramatic.

Having surrendered a goal for the first time in nearly a year, France was close to its first loss in 19 games. Then Zinedine Zidane showed why he's one of the world's best players.

The France captain powered home an injury-time free kick and, two minutes later, a penalty kick to secure the victory in the Group B first-round game.

"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."

In the Euro 2000 semifinal against Portugal, Zidane scored an injury-time penalty winner with the match heading for a penalty shootout.

Against France, England captain David Beckham missed a second-half penalty kick.

He had earlier set up England's goal with a free kick that led to a header by Frank Lampard in the 38th minute in front of 65,000 in Stadium of Light.

Beckham missed a chance to make it 2-0 after Wayne Rooney -- finishing a long run down the left side -- was pulled down by Mikael Silvestre. But goalkeeper 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% luck for a goalkeeper and 10% concentration."

Zidane curled in a free kick in the first minute of injury time to jolt a stadium filled mostly with English fans. He later scored his 25th international goal on a penalty kick.

Croatia 0, Switzerland 0 -- Croatia missed three easy chances and squandered a man advantage in the Group B first-round game at Leiria, Portugal.

Niko Kovac, Josip Simunic and Ivica Olic all missed easy headers, with goalkeeper Joerg Stiel making an acrobatic one-handed save.

The Swiss played the last 40 minutes with 10 players after defender Johann Vogel received his second yellow card and was ejected.

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