Zinedine Zidane changed everything. While the Blues seemed to have to start Euro 2004 with a defeat, the French No. 10 crucified the English with two goals in added time.
The French team is thirsty for revenge at the start of Euro 2004. Consequence of the incredible fiasco of the 2002 World Cup. Big favorites to their succession, the Blues had yet left South Korea in the first round, without winning a single match, or even scoring a single goal. The tone had also been set from the first match with a resounding 1-0 defeat against Senegal.
The English strike first
Two years later, Jacques Santini’s men hope not to repeat the same mistakes. But the challenge is daunting for the band in Zidane, opposite entry to England, which emerges among the favorites of the competition. The duel between Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham quickly turns to the advantage of the Three Lions. Despite several chances for the Blues, it was indeed the English who opened the scoring shortly after the half-hour mark thanks to a goal from Frank Lampard following a corner perfectly taken by David Beckham.
The Helpless Blues
And the French may well dominate the debates and multiply the centers, they struggle to be really dangerous. They are even on the brink at the start of the last twenty minutes when Mr. Merk, the referee of the meeting, awards a penalty to Sven Goran Erikson’s men after a foul by Mikael Silvestre on Wayne Rooney. David Beckham has the opportunity to double the bet but Fabien Barthez intervenes and allows the Blues to stay alive.
A free-kick equalizer
But the minutes pass and the France team is still unable to worry David James. A first defeat looms when the Blues benefit from a well-placed free kick at the start of additional time. Thierry Henry stands ready but leaves Zinedine Zidane officiating. The former Bordelais delivers a marvel of strike which comes to lodge in the skylight of David James. The Blues hold their equalizer!
The coup de grace on penalty
Better, while the directors are still showing the slow motions, Thierry Henry is launched into the English surface and mowed down by David James. France’s turn to benefit from a penalty. And unlike David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane did not miss the opportunity and doubled the bet, allowing the Blues to win in extremis. While the English blame the blow, the French exult.
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