France are through to a FIFA World Cup quarter-final against holders Brazil after coming from behind for a thrilling 3-1 victory against Spain.
Zidane goes on
Much of the talk before the Round of 16 contest in Hanover was about long-time Real Madrid CF colleagues Raúl González of Spain and Zinédine Zidane of France, with the former selected despite not being an automatic choice at these finals and the latter set to retire at the end of his country's adventure in Germany. Zidane, the man who scored twice as France beat their last-eight foes 3-0 in the 1998 final, proved the star tonight as his added-time goal sealed a famous win.
They were the first team to show this evening, with Thierry Henry racing clear on the right in the 23rd minute before sliding an inviting ball across the penalty area that just eluded Patrick Vieira and Franck Ribéry. Spain responded well, and went in front five minutes later when David Villa stepped up to convert from the spot after Pablo Ibáñez had been fouled by Lilian Thuram. France refused to buckle and Ribéry equalised just before half-time when a one-two with Vieira set him free. He rounded Iker Casillas and sent his shot, slowly but surely, into the net.
France nearly took the lead when Florent Malouda forced goalkeeper Iker Casillas into a good save early in the second half and Spain coach Luis Aragonés clearly felt the time was right for changes, with Villa and Raúl making way for Luis García and Joaquín Sánchez. Both were to inject more pace and purpose but it was Thierry Henry's own burst of speed that led to France’s decisive second. With Puyol about to deal with a routine ball forward, Henry surged forward and the FC Barcelona defender brought him down. From the resulting 83rd-minute free-kick, the ball found its way to Vieira at the back post and he headed into the net via the hapless Sergio Ramos. France were not finished and when Zidane, 34 last Friday, went through, there was to be no stopping him.
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