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France through after edging Czech Republic in EURO 2000 Group D

Czech Republic 1-2 France
Youri Djorkaeff's goal decided an enthralling game that took France through and sealed the Czechs' exit.

Youri Djorkaeff scores France's winner
Youri Djorkaeff scores France's winner Getty Images

Goals from Thierry Henry and Youri Djorkaeff took France through to the quarter-finals with a game to spare, in the process consigning EURO '96 runners-up Czech Republic to elimination.

A shaky start from France looked long forgotten when Henry broke the deadlock on seven minutes, but doubts resurfaced when Karel Poborský's penalty levelled matters ten minutes before the break. The world champions restored their lead on the hour when Djorkaeff powered in a shot after Henry got the better of Tomáš Řepka in a goalmouth tussle and poked the ball to his team-mate.

EURO 2000: All you need to know

In an enthralling Group D encounter the Czechs were not done, and Jan Koller glanced a header off the top of the crossbar. Laurent Blanc headed wastefully wide at the other end but as the game neared its conclusion, they were pushing forward more in hope than expectation. France duly held on and join next opponents the Netherlands in the last eight; the Czech Republic meet Denmark with only the pride of third to play for.

Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000
Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000

The outlook was decidedly rosier in the early stages as France's back line, with Vincent Candela preferred to Bixente Lizarazu on the left, creaked alarmingly. Fabien Barthez parried Pavel Nedvěd's drive and Koller headed Jiří Němec's cross just wide, as the Czechs – so unlucky to lose their opening game to the Netherlands – burst out of the blocks.

Again, however, they were architects of their own downfall. Petr Gabriel, who conceded the last-minute penalty against the Oranje, played a back pass straight into the path of Henry and the Arsenal FC striker raced clear to poke the ball in. It was a sledgehammer blow, and Henry almost increased France's advantage on 19 minutes after being released by Zinédine Zidane but he side-footed wide.

It was splendid, end-to-end football and before half-time the Czech Republic were level as Vladimír Šmicer capitalised on an Emmanuel Petit error and released Nedvěd. The midfielder was brought down by a dual challenge led by Didier Deschamps and, from the resulting spot kick, Poborský slammed in. Poborský also shaved the post as a fantastic first half of fire, passion and skill reached a glorious crescendo.

The players exited to a standing ovation and picked up where they left off on the resumption. It took a marvellous Barthez save to deny Nedvěd after more good work from Šmicer but the goal from Djorkaeff, a half-time substitute, left the Czech Republic's hopes hanging by a thread. The Netherlands' subsequent win against Denmark severed it completely.

EURO 2000: Team of the Tournament


France line up before facing Czech Republic in Group D
France line up before facing Czech Republic in Group D Popperfoto via Getty Images

Czech Republic: Srníček; Řepka, Rada, Gabriel (Fukal 46); Bejbl (Lokvenc 49), Poborský, Rosický (Jankulovski 62), Nedvěd, Němec (c); Šmicer, Koller
Substitutes: Maier, Blažek, Vlček, Kuka, Horváth, Novotný, Berger
Coach: Jozef Chovanec

France: Barthez; Thuram, Desailly, Blanc, Candela; Deschamps (c), Vieira, Petit (Djorkaeff 46), Zidane; Anelka (Dugarry 55), Henry (Wiltord 89)
Substitutes: Lama, Ramé, Lizarazu, Pirès, Micoud, Leboeuf, Karembeu, Trezeguet
Coach: Roger Lemerre

Referee: Graham Poll (England)

Man of the Match: Thierry Henry (France)