In the end, as expected, France and England made it out of Group B and into the UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-finals, but Switzerland and Croatia gave them a scare. Inevitably, the English press focused on 18-year-old striking sensation Wayne Rooney's two-goal salvo, while their French counterparts were in cautious mood despite victory.
Croatia 2-4 England
So Croatia's football players are returning home. They were eliminated by a much better England team but we are left with a bitter taste because of our tactics, especially in the first half. Even when we were leading during the first 40 minutes even the most loyal Croatia fan didn't think that we were going to keep the lead. The England team waited for their moment and came from behind for a big victory. The blame is certainly on the coach Baric, who didn't change anything when it was obvious that we were going to lose. When he made changes in the second half it was too late. It is just thanks to the excellent Butina that we didn't lose by a bigger margin.(Vecernji List)
Inspired by the tyro tornado that is Wayne Rooney here at the Stadium of Sweetness and Light last night, England breezed into a EURO 2004™ quarter-final with Portugal to the unbridled joy of 40,000 impassioned fans present and an estimated 30 million watching spellbound back home. Trailing to Niko Kovac's early strike, England just showed their class, ripping a decent Croatian side apart with some devastating attacks. Rooney played both broadsword and rapier, harming Croatia with strong shot and deft touch. (Daily Telegraph)
Switzerland 1-3 France
Switzerland came close to springing a surprise, and leave EURO 2004™ having made a good impression. Vonlanthen scored Switzerland's only goal in the tournament and although the match was lost 3-1, at some points we came close to surprising France. In the first half, capitalising on the weaknesses of a French team who are not at their best, Switzerland played their best football of the competition. What the Swiss lacked was a more offensive and open game against a rather passive and slow French team. (Neue Züricher Zeitung)
France booked their ticket for the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 3-1 win against Switzerland which failed to resolve any of the question marks surrounding the team. The first two goals came from set-pieces, from Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry, before a solo effort from the Arsenal player. France's next opponents, Greece, are unlikely to afford them the chance to iron out any remaining creases. (L'Equipe)
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.