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7/01/2006 07:04:00 PM
Captain Zinedine Zidane (right) put on a show against Kaká and the Brazilians.
Posted by Mark Bechtel
FRANKFURT, Germany -- For the first three weeks of the World Cup, one couldn't help but think that maybe Brazil was holding something back, that it was content to do just enough to win while sitting on a massive reserve tank it would tap into when the fixtures got a little tougher. Well, one was wrong.
The defending champs were listless yet again on Saturday night against France. Not until the Brazilians were down to their final 10 minutes did they look at all vibrant, and even then, there were a fair number of players in yellow standing around assuming the unmistakable posture of someone who knows he's beat. Roberto Carlos, especially, looked unable to summon the courage to join in any sort of attack as his team made its exit, a World Cup loser for the first time in nearly eight years.
Brazil never got into any sort of flow, thanks to a stifling French lineup that included two of the best defensive midfielders in the world, Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele. Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira opted to start Ronaldinho as a striker alongside Ronaldo, meaning that if the most dynamic player in the world (well, until three weeks ago) was going to get any touches in dangerous places, he'd need some good service from his midfield. And Vieira and Makele never let that happen.
Even when Ronaldinho tracked back for the ball, things seldom worked out. Perfect example: In the 35th minute, Thierry Henry gave the ball away in the middle of the park. Brazil started a mini-break, and the ball ended up at Ronaldinho's feet. Just when it looked like he might be able to work up a head of steam, Vieira rolled into the picture and stood him up, while Makele cruised in and calmly took the ball. It was like the scene in the Godfather outside the Don's hospital where the Irish police captain tells one of his men to hold up Michael so he can slug him in the jaw. "Hold him up, Patrick."
Of course, to load a midfield with defensive-minded players, you've got to sacrifice a little at the other end. France coach Raymond Domenech played Henry alone up top, with three midfielders behind him and Vieira and Makele behind that trio. As a result, France had trouble getting the ball to Henry; for a few especially boring spells it relied on long balls aimed at his head. It was pretty apparent it was going to take an exceptional individual effort to make something happen. Enter Zinedine Zidane.
Before the tournament, who would have taken Zizou in a Who's Got the Better Moves contest with Ronaldinho? But make no mistake, the old fella wore his keepy-uppy shoes tonight, controlling balls with all manner of flicks and making world-class defenders look oafish. In the 44th minute he gave the Brazilians something to think about in the locker room when he went on a mazy run, slaloming his way through the midfield and leaving the bodies of Lucio and Gilberto Silva in his wake. He played a beautiful through ball to Vieira, who was pulled down by Juan, who was lucky not to become the 123rd player sent off this World Cup.
That was nothing compared to Zidane's sublime touch in the 56th minute to win a 50/50 ball; he flicked it up in the air off his own noggin and headed it to himself in space to trigger an attack. Within seconds, France had won a free kick 35 yards out on the left. Zizou took it and placed it on the boot of an unmarked Henry, who made no mistake with it. Amazingly, it was the first time Zidane had ever provided and assist for Henry.
The goal put Brazil on its heels, but it hardly provided a shock to its system. There's a fine line between affecting a cool nonchalance and doing nothing; that line was one of many things the Brazilians tumbled over. They seemed content to kick the ball around, make a half-hearted run, dive and then plead for a foul and a card. (It was a recurring problem. I'd wager that Brazil was whistled at more in this tournament than in every other World Cup combined. And not the good kind of whistling; we're not talking about attractive women walking past a construction site in 1963.)
Not until the dying moments did Brazil come to life. Sort of. Ronaldo, who certainly hadn't overexerted himself by that point, made a few dangerous runs. But the final five minutes provided a perfect microcosm of the game. In the 88th minute, Ronaldo was barreling toward the penalty area with the ball at his feet. Instead of trying to make something happen, he flung himself to the ground and conned referee Luis Medina Cantalejo to book Lilian Thuram. (Ronaldinho, who reached levels of underperformance in Germany that few thought were imaginable, put the free kick just over the bar.) A few minutes later, Ronaldo had the ball again deep in the France end. As the stadium took a deep breath to see what he was going to do, Vieira came flying out of nowhere and took the ball away with a perfect slide tackle. Thirty seconds later it was all over.
It was a masterful performance from France, equal parts fantastic defense, inspired offense and good coaching (even with the lead, Domenech made three offensive substitutions, bringing on fresh legs and keeping the same formation, which meant that Brazil always had to be wary of a counterattack; hopefully Jose Pekerman took note). For Brazil, though, it was a fitting end to a terrible tournament. The side that's supposed to be the best in the world never played well enough to handle a truly great team. And on Saturday night, that's just what it ran into.
What a classic. But once again, France shows Brazil that you don’t always have to be the most talented team in order to dominate a match. France came to play and did exactly what had to be done in order to stifle the Brazilian attack. This was truly a defensive battle, but more so along the lines of the French being able to keep Brazil off the scoreboard throughout the entire match. You know whom these two teams resemble in American Football? It is the equivalent of the Indianapolis Colts (played by Brazil) versus the New England Patriots (played by France). On paper, the Colts should have always beaten the crap out of the Patriots in the playoffs, however, because of the heart, passion, and team continuity, the Patriots always prevailed and went on to win the Super Bowl. Once again, France prevails because of their team chemistry defeating the most decorated champion nation in the history of FIFA World Cup. Congrats to Zinedine, Thierry, and Patrick. You all deserve this, and I firmly believe there is a 2nd championship in your immediate future. 2 titles out of 3 in the last three appearances aren’t bad at all LES BLEUS; YOU ARE THE BEST EUROPEAN TEAM LEFT.
All focus has been on Ronaldo, but Ronaldinho was passive for all but the last few minutes of play, letting other players take the initiative. The "best player in the world" wasn't even one of the better players on his side. Parreira will surely be faulted for not starting Robinho over Ronaldo, but Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Juninho all put in less than inspiring performances. Zidane, on the other hand, was truly amazing.
I kept watching after the French goal, thinking that Pekerman soon would get Ronaldo out of the game and insert Rodinho, who creates much more of a spark. Didn't happen. I know Brazil pushed up to get the equalizer, but that's hard against 10 guys playing defense. Some of this, I think, was Brazil content to play for penalty kicks and then getting stung by Thierry's beautiful one-timer at the far post. Am I wrong to insist that when you're down 1-0 in the World Cup quarterfinals you need to push like crazy to equalize? I saw all those young faces on the Brazil bench and wondered what they would have been capable of. Yes, Zidane had a game for the ages. Some of the moves he made were sure silky. Old? No. Question: Is this Ronaldo's last World Cup? Question: When you have the bulk of the World Cup qualifiers from Europe, and then the four finalists are European, that sends a large message to the rest of the world: GET IN LINE!!!!
A M A Z I N G, as an argentinian, I cannot explain my happiness today, england out (oh yes), and brazil swallowing their words, this may sound horrible but they hate us too so we re even, amazing display from the french, no one gave them a chance ( including me), I really hope they win this championship, they deserve it. As there is no post about the fight after the Germany Argentina match, let´s put something clear, the germans started, they always start wars (no need to explain right? haha), obviously the FIFA president is a neighbor of the strudel eaters and he actually hates Argentina, the FIFA should be dissolved, create a new federation less corrupt and more equilibrated, ok no more of my crap, way to go france, you have all the support here in argentina. Volveremos volvereeemooos...
"Brazil" was in white today. Zidane had one of his best games ever. I'm French and I must confessed that even if I was confident, I had no idea that it would be such a demonstration. Where was Brazil? Even down 1-0, they did not show any effort to get the ball back. It seems that the players control the team because Cafu, Ronaldihno and Kaka would have deserved to go back to the bench. Why did not Parreira try? Their midfielders were invisible, destroyed, dominated. Domenech, as I said three weeks earlier, is a great coach. He kept the same idea since day one despite everyone begging him to play Trezeguet. I have to give credit to the trainer as well who predicted that "Les Bleus" would get in better shape game after game. France barely qualified to the WC, barely escaped its group but this is now a confident group who does not have anything to lose. Ir might take them to July 9th, who knows?
i think the whole joga bonito thing got to the brazilian's heads . joga bonito ... theres no point of all those flicks and elastico's and cross overs (altho we didnt see any vs France) if u end up losing and crashing out of the world cup ... i think the brazilian side wasnt balanced ... look at france for example .. henry upfront , then u got zizou , two of the best defensive midfielders in the world in viera and makelele and then thuram and sagnol in defence ... when ronaldinho does something fancy the other players in the team think that since we're brazilian as well , why should we be left behind and end up losing the ball ( roberto carlos's defensive bicycle kick in france 98) ... nyways ... if ur going to lose to a team in the knockouts of the world cup better to a former champion then to a team like portugal that is now walking an unfamiliar line ...
The only problem with your comment is that these Colts have never ever done anything to deserve comparison to these Brazilians. I am not sure that even France can be compared to the Patriots, a 3-time recent champion.
But why bring the NFL into this? Give Zizou his due and say he was outstanding this day while France has much to look forward to as they go for it all once again.
The goal was never offside. You should read the rules of offside first. I know that it's very hard for you to recognize the defeat, but France played extremely well, which even exceeded all of my expectations. Zidane was playing (especially his dribbles!) amazingly. No Brazilian could stop him in the entire match. Clearly France won as the best team in the match.
A clinical performance by France which revealed all the weakness the Brazillian team had been able to hide agaist lesser oponents.The brazil midfield had no way to stop Zidane.It looks like its gonna be a grand farewell to Zizou.And lastly to anonum @ 7:35:- Dude get a life.The goal definitely wasn't anyway close to a offside than Adriano goal against Ghana.And Brazil was thoroughly outplayed in every department of the game.Period
A clinical performance by France which revealed all the weakness the Brazillian team had been able to hide agaist lesser oponents.The brazil midfield had no way to stop Zidane.It looks like its gonna be a grand farewell to Zizou.And lastly to anonum @ 7:35:- Dude get a life.The goal definitely wasn't anyway close to a offside than Adriano goal against Ghana.And Brazil was thoroughly outplayed in every department of the game.Period
Vive les bleus !!! That was football !!! Finally a superbe game in this World cup ! Awesome were the french... It is a shame that the brazilians weren't playing as their best and I am nice (because I like Brazil very much).France deserved a 2 - 0. If they keep playing like that : they will be the champions for sure ! They deserve everything !
France deserve to win; from get go they were attacking and they remain attacking and controlling the middlefield throughout the game. That is how you win in masterful game. The best game in the tournment so far. Amazing skills is shown by the french middlefield and they desreve this ein.
Off-side? You did not watch the match. Not even close. He came from the deep. Henry read the ball better than the pack rooted at the goal mouth. We must come to accept that having a menu of best talents in the world is one thing, ochestrating as a team is another. At this level, team matters, Brazil fell short in that department and they paid dearly for it. I wished they had brought in their Michael Jordan (Number 23)earlier. The loss is a pain I bear with them, maybe not as much, but I am not going to escuse it on some funny off-side call. It was a good goal, world class.
As a Brazilian, I feel ashamed for what happened today. No team can win the world cup every four years, but to loose like that?!? This team that played against France today was not the true Brazil. Our players showed no courage, no honor and no respect for our traditions and for the 185 million brazilians that supported them. All these Brazilian players are mercenaries that are probably relieved to stop training a to go back to their multi million dollars contracts in Europe. What can we say about Ronaldinho? Pathetic, to say the least... Now, let us hope that in 2010 our team is formed by real players, instead of a bunch of clowns. Congratulations to France. They played a great match, with courage and talent. Undoubdtly, they desearved to win.
As a brazilian I'm very upset, but here is what I think about the game:
France totally outplayed Brazil, they deserved the win and zidane was... magnificent, he played a hudge amount of football tonight, he already is one of the best players of all time for sure.
Our players had a hollywoodian life since the day they arrived in switzerland for the world cup, but they didn't show what they came for, they didn't even swet the shirts!!! They were more or less made out of the image of parreira, or so it seems to me... now I'll cheer for portugal and scolari.
the Colts-Patriots paralel seems pretty ignorant. France didn't even qualify out of its group in the last world cup. also, the only world cup it ever won was on its home turf. Brazil in contrast made 3 straight world cup finals, winning two, and has 5 total titles. not exactly peyton manning-tom brady.
France seems to be hitting its stride, overcoming the chemistry problems that plagued it in '02 and in some of the qualifying matches for '06. The two-striker combination of Henry and Treguezet never clicked. Thierry has been looser, more comfortable as the lone striker, and the midfielders have been magnificent, especially Zidane and Vieira. Vive Les Blues!
Parreira has to take the blame for this one. His team, as the one in 94, never glued. Let's start with his line up: Roberto Carlos, and Cafu?? Those two should have never made the team. Dinho played out of position. I don't know that he had any...he just roamed from side to side.. Ronaldo should have been benched in favor of Fred. This team never reached its potential and unlike Argentina, that played as a team and still lost, Brazil was a fraud. A team of primadonnas and ageing stars that should have been left home.
At least Brazil left with dignity and sportmanship. Argentina went out crying and punching everyone on their way. By the way, when was the last time Argentina won a tournament that mattered? Not in a loooong while...Enjoy being second again at the Cup America next year..
It was not an offside. What it was, WAS OLD ROBERTO CARLOS FALLING ASLEEP at the edge of the box and letting Henry have a clear run at the goal. The better TEAM won today. Besides, Henry deserves a win against Ronaldinho every once in a while....
I have been a fan for France since the era of Michel Platini and Jean Tigana. Needless to say i was very dissapointed in France after a horrific performance in 2002 espcially after winning it all in 98. Coming into Germany 2006 i was a bit skeptical after two early draws against Switzerland and Korea. However, since beating Togo and Spain, i think the French have found their spark back. Brazil on the other hand i think is very talented and seriously overated. No one gave the French a chance. Zidane completely dominated the midfield, and Thierry Henry executed in the front. The French team has had the Brazil's number for a while. France was better prepared mentally for this match and the results speaks for themselves. Well deserved win. Allez Les Bleus !!!!!
If you don't know the rules of football, then don't talk. It was NOT an offside. Fifa regulations: "A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play". IN ACTIVE PLAY. That is the key. It doesn't matter if there were other players in offside (ther weren't in active play). Henry wasn't, so the goal is perfectly valid.
Truly, brazilian were embarrassed today, the domination was even bigger than 98 even though the score did not reflect that. They looked like amateurs. Now don't celebrate too fast, brazilian failed again (3rd time in a row against france) but france always fail against germany... so nothing won yet...unless it is Italy.
the credit goes to the french, they controlled the spirit on the pitch today and capitalized on a beautiful opportunity in a game that was predicated on defense.. brasilian side like paper tiger this yr, ronaldinho was truly disappointing and underperformed on the worlds biggest footbol stage... ronaldo also secured his place as a prolific but unartistic scorer.. and ultimately brasilian lack of play as a cohesive unit, juxtaposed with france playing to the contrary, led to their demise which had it not occurred in this game, would surely have occurred in the next.. you cannot win a world cup with repeatedly lacklustre game integrity..
I couldn't believe what i saw today. After their lousy start in this tournament, i thought that the team of france wouldn't survive any longer than the 1/8 finals. But they surprised me. My honest respect! Today the french team seemed to be completely substituded. The guys from Brazil acted like paralysed. So it was just a question of time they would get a goal from the french. Now i'm confident that the "bleu" from france can reach the final in Berlin on 9th of july. But which team will be their opponent? Germany or Italy? According to the statistics Italy has the better chance to reach the final, because in a WC-tournament Germany never could win against the Azzuri. But on the other hand the German team has its "12th man", the fans, supporting and pushing them. Also the German "Mannschaft" never lost a game in Dortmund, where the SF will occur. You also shouldn't underestimate the power of will and the teamspirit of the Germans. So in my oppinion this SF will be the one that costs me the most nerves and years of my life. At the end one thing is absolutely clear: this time the cup will stay in Europe! ;-)
To respond to the 8:28 pm comment... about pure luck ! Was it your first socker game your were watching ??? The french were admirable and that is it ! Pure socker ! Slowly but surely les bleus are heading to the finale and if they keep playing like that so they deserve the Cup !
this brazil "joga bonito" and arrogance is like putting talented NBA players on a World Basketball Cup... No matter what if you play for the starring and show you will be quicked out by the team who plays with their head on the ground and simple tactics.
The Brazilian team thrives on past glories. Until today, officiating in this World Cup had favored them. The Ghana Black Stars were denied the opportunity to beat Brazil because of biased officiating. Two of the Brazilian goals against Ghana were offside. Besides, had Essien played in that game, Brazil would have been defeated at that stage. I am glad France has done what Ghana was kept from doing. Those who refuse to accept the fact that the Brazilian team is mediocre are doing a great disservice to Brazil and world soccer. Well done France!
If you look at the comments in this thread and compare them to the comments on the Germany-Argentina game, you can clearly point out the difference between Argentina and Brasil football fans in this forum. Even though there are some stupid comments here as well (like the guy claiming the goal had been offside...), the Brasilians appear to be way better losers - which also could be seen in their reactions after the match. And no one blames the referee, the weather or something else. Sure, as usual there´s some people who love their team so much that they seem to have seen a different game (The French were just lucky??? No, they were just way way better than the Selecao...), but there appears to be much more sense of reality here. Sorry, Brasil, you can´t always win. I hope France beats Portugal and keeps that pathetic team of divers from playing the final. Henry, as the great player he is, should stop rolling over the pitch and cover his face everytime he is being fouled though.
For all those Englishmen , who were preparing for a victory parade in London, tthis is the european order with pedigree.. For all the crap that english talked before the tournament, ' Italians are a fadind world power, Germans are too young with a inexperienced manager, French are a spent force'..See how the Semis have shaped.. Neither Brasil nor england had a single good game.. The sides in Semis came prepared for this and have earned their places
Obviously I am very disappointed with Brazil losing the game today, however, winning and losing is part of the game. Life goes on nonetheless. What is unacceptable is the way in which this team performed. In a World Cup with some horrible teams and a level of play that has been very low this team had more than enough talent to win it all and double up the number of championship on the next closest competitors (Italy and Germany). However, this group of players never came together.
There was no leadership and mainly because Roberto Carlos and Cafu are the two players who yield the greatest power within the group but they also happen to be part of the problem. Everyone knew that the team had been divided with the younger players wanting a youth movement to happen mid-way through the WC. In training session after training session Gilberto, Cicinho, Juninho Pernambucano and Robinho outplayed the starter. Parreira simply ignored what I think was a tough but needed decisions of yanking the left and right backs (especially R. Carlos).
Look at the great teams in Brazil's history. What do they have in common? A deadly striker and overlapping, attacking backs who act as extra attacking players. It's a long list of players: Djalma Santos, Nilton Santos, Carlos Alberto, Leonardo, Ze Roberto (both before being pushed up to the midfield), Leandro and so many others. Now think about the last Cafu and R. Carlos actually went ALL THE WAY forward and ACCURATELY crossed the ball into the box? Friends, it's been years since that happened. At this advanced age all they seem able to do is come up about 3/4 of the way forward and then either play the ball back into the middle of the field or start the play back with Juan/Lucio/Gilberto Silva.
The other BIG problem with this team: there was always only one player to create in the midfield and feed our striker. Even at 70% Ronaldo's better than 90% of strikers. Today's loss doesn't fall on his broad shoulders. The man CAN'T SCORER if he DOESN'T GET ANY BALLS. HUGE, huge mistake by Parreira, not opting to pair Robinho with Juninho and/or Ronaldinho Gaucho. Did you see any Brazilian give and go and triangulations in the midfield from this team in this WC? No! Why? Because Ronaldinho didn't have a second creative mind along side him.
It was just so evident that Robinho was the best player on this team. He will be the best player in the world w/in 5 years. No one can stop the kid and he can create more chances for others than anyone else. Making Robinho pay his dues and forcing the square peg (Adriano) into the round whole was clearly not wise. Even today Brazil had 2 shots (none on goal) and when he came in they had 3 more shots (1 on goal) in 7-10 minutes. Parreira was so shocked with his team that he was also listless. His brain fart caused Robinho to sit on the bench for at least an extra 20 minutes. That was a lot of time.
Like I said losing is part of the game! However, playing listless with an arrogant attitude while better players sit on the bench is unacceptable. I think 20 years from now we're going to be reading an interview that a retired Parreira said he wished he started this French game with Gilberto and Cicinho and had subbed Robinho at half time for a less than 100% Kaka.
Offside, luck ... I am just waiting for complaints about the referee. Admit it, the Brazilian team has been underperforming since the start of this WC. They never had a true chance to score against France (until maybe at the end) and lacked the magic they usually have. Oh, and recalling that commentary that was posted about "foreign" German players: Maybe Brazil should look to get some Polish players to win. But I bet that some people will all of a sudden discover their Portuguese roots and cheer for Portugal. Four European teams left ... quite humbling for some. As we say in Germany: "Pride goes before a fall" And a fall it has been.
Zidane's assist to Henry was a classic and reminiscent of Peter Bergkamp's goal vs. Brazil in 94 cup -- another classic, but won by the canaries. Zizou put on a one-man clinic tonight and anyone who calls it offsides is blind to beautiful soccer. As for the Argentine whine over the Gaucho-fight, get real. Why would the hometown team strike up a melee in their jubilation? Poor sportsmanship by the talented Argentines -- plain and simple. Brazil and Argentine are loaded with bright stars, but they both wasted opportunities, especially the Brazilians today. IF Germany can recover physically, they'll put away Italy. But it looks like France and the master ZZ are on fire. THey're the spirited underdog from here on out.
GREAT game. All credits to France, they were the better team and they deserve to go through. Am not suprise about Brazil's performance, they havent played well in this tournament. Against Ghana, they just laid back and let Ghana dominated them, they never look like world champions. Adriano is too selfish, Ronaldo is too fat and Juan and Lucio seems to have some holes in between their legs
Les Bleus played beautifully (joga bonito) today, and deserved to win. Brazil self-destructed, probably as a result of the lack of team chemistry and the over-studding of stars and not enough role players. Zidane is the best futbol player since Maradona, hands down. Henry is the best striker in the world, loads better than the gloating sometimes oafish Ronaldo. The goal was not offside, you seem to have overindulged in some Brazilian wine.
I have to say I have never seen a finer player than Zidane. He always knows where to pass the ball, is thinking two steps ahead of the other team, and has remarkable skills. He does things in a game others only do on the practice field. No matter what happens the rest of the tournament, Zidane has proved that at 34 he is still better than most.
I must say the best team won. As a Brazilian, I am going to root for Portugual now. I also must say that I am ashamed about the way the Brazilian team played. No Heart at all. No "Endure to the end" mentality. The Brazilians commentators said that the team looked like they gave up the moment they step in. Parreira did not say or do anything in the whole game, unlike Big Phil who motivated to death the Portuguese. Heck, a good club from Brazil would give France a better fight. For a long time, many Brazilians have asked for a more local team, with players who play in Brazil with maybe some Euro "superstars". These idea is going to get more looks now. Heck, the way Brazil played, Romario would do better than Ronaldo even now. A Sad commentary in some way. The best players from Brazil today were Lucio and Juan. Defenders both. That should tell the whole story. Both were sold out by the rest of the team. If wasn't for these two, Brazil would have been out even earlier. At least they had heart. Kudos to them. And, as the other post said, where in hell was Roberto Carlos? He alowed Henry to score the goal alone. With the exception of Lucio and Juan, the rest should stay clear of Brazilian soil for a while. They step on the flag and the shirt. Good luck France. Vai a frente Portugal!!!
This was the most all around beautiful display of football I have seen during this entite tournament. It was even beeter since it was against one of the most celebrated teams in the world. I could tell from the moment Zidane touched the ball that he was on a mission. His skills are out of this world. Not too flashy but smooth, effortless and effective. If the French keep playing like this there is no one who is going to stop them Not even the hosts.
I'd given up on sports. American football is a three hour commercial containing an hour long game containing maybe a half hour of actual play. No travelling in NBA? Gimme a break. Baseball is best watched in a park and I don't have access to one. Ditto hockey. Ahhhhhh, but football...fussball...futebol. And so the wonderful game has its hooks in me. Speaking as someone who has watched World Cup in the past but who is obsessed by it for the first time. I have two opinions. First: France played an amazing game. I got to see Zidane play like a man possessed. Possessed and furious. The Zidane we've been waiting for all during the Cup. Thierry Henry scoring that graceful airborne goal. A beautiful, heads-up, ONSIDE goal. Ribery, the madman, never in retreat, always sure of himself and his mates, press on, press on, press on. The French team taking it to the posts for an hour and a half solid. That, friends, that was a game. Like you seldom get to see. It had all the elements. Joy, grace, skill and, bringing me to me my second opinion, tragedy. Tragedy. I have Brazilian friends who are drinking themselves silly at the moment. The cachaca flows with lime all over my city tonight. I watched people cry over a game. A child's game. Jose +10s game. I saw people clutching their jerseys to their chests. Jerseys emblazoned with the names Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and even one Romario. And I saw Ronaldinho, with seconds left on the clock. The camera focused on his face. He was trying to smile. But that was despair. It was the look you see on a child's face when someone takes something precious away from them. Takes it away and that child has no way of knowing if he'll ever see it again. I don't know if I'll ever want to forget that look. I saw a man who saw everything he held glorious on this earth slipping away. A look like that reminds you of life itself. And his fans took that look with them. So France, former home of mine, congratulations. Would that I were back on the Rue 8 Mai 1945 tonight. And good luck against Portugal. If you should win, you just might be facing the team of my heart, Germany, another former home of mine. I've cheered for my beloved Deutschland from the beginning. I'd love to see that game. And Brazil. My deepest sympathies to your fans. Your team didn't let you down so much as they were unable to rise above with consistency. But they're good men and they'll be back. What Ronaldinho saw taken away? I have certainty that he'll see it again. And I have the sad feeling that regardless of who wins, I'll be taking a little of Ronaldinho's look home with me. Because in this great tournament, we should all win, and we won't. It has to end. And slip away.
Ah, one more thing to point out is that most of the players of the 4 teams in the semi-finals play on their home soil. I am not saying that is the formula, but these guys have been living the spirt of the World Cup amont their countrymen, and they will fell the result amongst their people. While most of the Brazilian, with the execption of some on the bench, will go to their cozzy European homes and BMWs. No pressure. No one to answer to.
Luck? Brazil had one shot on goal, left the back door wide open all game and on Henry's goal (I replayed goal on Tivo - Henry was well onsides when Zidane kicked the ball). France kept pressure up and won.
France played a great game, Brazil was flat. Zidane was a joy to watch. I just never saw the Brazil team that all the hype was about...too bad.
Heh, lots of folks overrun by emotion. Lets not overreact, France isn't a great team and they didn't play great football but they pleyed their hearts out and some great defense all over the field. As for Brasil, truly pathetic, created absolutely nothing, Ronaldinho and Adriano non-existant and Pereira probably the worst Selecao coach in a long time. I'm hoping for lots of public outcry in Brasil because this was really embarassing to watch.
Quick notes. - Parreira and Zagallo suck. - This '06 team had many weak pieces. Some subs deserved to be in the team. - Ronaldinho never played well wearing the yellow jersey. Even before the World Cup. If he wasn't the World's best player, he wouldn't be a starter. - Zidane is a HOF of football. Hate to lose, but at least it was against a really magnificent player. - Vieira is great too. - Argentina is ridiculous. Just a pair of titles. Both stolen. '78 they payed Peru's goalkeeper. '86 was "La mano de Dios". The have to come a really long way to even have the rights to say anything about Brazil. - We still have the best players. Some still play in Brazil and the world don't know then yet. In 2010 our team will be amazing. Just wait.
Sometimes, I wish that coaches should just poll the TV viewers for tactical moves and substitutions. What is clear to so many of the amateur TV viewers right away, somehow eludes the professional coaches for the entirety of the game. For example, it was obvious early in the first half that Brazilians had to change their tactics drastically because they looked so non-threatening so benign in their attack that I thought I am watching Ukraine. They were just hoping that some ball is eventually going to bounce their way. Defenders played timidly, giving too much space to french players. Midfielders, Cafu and Ronaldhino were suffocated by the aggressive french defenders. Ronaldo is too old to create his own chances. Kaka was only the one who seemed to be hustling. And they took him out instead of Ronaldo. Was the Brazilian coach watching the same game I was? Same story with the Argentinian coach. The moment he subbed Crespo for a defender, every viewer knew in their guts that it is the wrong move.
Hey Brazilians -- don't take it out on Argentina, at least they didn't lose the match, but caught some bad luck in the penalties. Brazil was WHIPPED, so don't pretend that you would have beaten Argentina.
I am a brazilian and I can say something to you: our team was totally overrated; we really have never proved that we are the best. We played only ONE convincing game against argentina last year ( 4 to 1). In this World Cup we played a mediocre lackluster football. Our players are not that good! We have a great player in Ronaldinho but he only plays well in club level. We deserve our destiny.
What's with Ronaldhino? All too often, he would just pass the ball back to Roberto Carlos rather than do something creative. He needs to learn that, as the world's best player, he needs to show his skills and take over a game.
No surprise. Brazil was completely over-rated the whole Cup. Expect for against Japan (who is terrible), they looked mediocre. This simply proves that Brazil needs a coach like Scalari. Unless someone makes them play defense, they will always lose.
By the way, will people now stop talking about Ronaldinho? He was terrible every time he played. His step-overs may be pretty, but they accompish nothing.
It might sound silly to some people, but I think the lack of personality displayed by brazil is a clear picture of the work of parreira, he is a great coach, but too conservative to coach a team like brazil... we could easily make 3 or 4 world class teams with what we got, but all that parreira coud do was a moveless team with no sign of motivation to win... :((((
France took control of the midlefield Viera and Makelele were outstanding, I think the mental of Brazil was not there ,they were too cautious >FRance play as a Team Brazill rely too much on individuals There is no fault from Thuram on Ronaldo what a shame to try to win diving at this level.. Ribery is going to be a great player,,, Zidane was in demonstation...Sagnol Viera were too much powerful.. Next one thing at the time Portugal.. The Coach Domenech merit an standing ovation as well
i am not a fan of les blues, but i know a great performance when i see one. they put on a masterclass performance, and as much as it hurts to say this, brazil were CLEARLY the inferior team. great job, france!
i agree on some points raised previously about the performance of the selecao, specially about the persistent use of ageing wingbacks. cafu was awful, but r.carlos was horrible. at least cafu could defend (a little) and didnt attempt any wild shots, unlike r.carlos who was made to look silly on a number of times by ribery and even sagnol!
but i dont agree with placing the blame on r9 and r10, specially r10 who was played out of position again . the strength and coordination of the french defense coupled with a lack of service from the brazilian midfield certainly had a lot to do with this.
and this ultimately begs the question: is parreira nuts? it's like the guy never even saw the spain-france game, in which the french did the EXACT same thing to the spaniards: massacred the spanish midfield with their 4-5-1 (or 4-2-3-1) formation. xavi xabi and cesc are great players, but when you have a 5 strong midfield constantly rushing and harassing you it makes it difficult going forward. what, did parreira think that the french would change their tactics after having implemented it with success against arguably the side most similar to brazil in terms of attacking play?
you'd think parreira would at least have come up with a way to deal with france's strategy of choking off the midfield like change their formation, or put in different players better suited for the task. but the guy shuns change like it were the plague, and now brazil fans the world over are suffering for his arrogance. and incompetence.
france deserves to win this thing. kudos to domenech!
Well... That was a great game! And I really think that the French team did everything to win (I can't say anything else, I am french...). We knew that we had to shut down their attack for the first 25 minutes and that they would start doubting, what happened...
What I like to add is that both teams respected each other. We all know how great is Brazil and how well they can play.
Thank you Brazil for this game (I am 100% sure we will see you in 4 years)and 'Allez les Bleus' for the next one that will be difficult against a raising team like Portugal!
As an American fan of the game, I really came to enjoy this Cup while watching the tournament in Japan with Japanese friends & my wife's family. You could say I contracted futbol fever there. One of my best friends is my "twin" - we're born on the same day & year, and he's really not much of a sports fan, but the affected intellectual. He just spent two weeks in Holland & Hungary, and to my surprise, upon his return to the States this week, told me that he too had contracted futbol fever, watching both qf matches on TV on what was a beautifully sunny day in the nation's capital. Yes, we Americans do get to watch the Cup on TV - ABC & ESPN. While we as a nation still bafflingly stink at the game, there are many of us who love to play and watch it. Loved seeing France dethrone the Brazilians - disappointed that England lost to those arrogant, nasty Portuguese, and hoping for a Germany - France final, fittingly.
sorry to the Brazilian fans and thanks for your sportsmanship. Clearly it was a domination, it could have been 2, maybe 3-0...and those of you who hail offside: I agree...get a life and stop watching soccer for evidently you do not know anything about the game. For now on lads, just enjoy Henry (the best striker in the World) and Zidane (The King) concoct their receipe together...for very soon it will be history!!! Zidane is in the pantheon of Soccer along with Maradona and Pele...the difference is that you can still see Zizou play on Wednesday...and then...on Sunday. Love you all, Sleep well, pierrot de Boston
Given the results of 1986 and 1998, it would seem that we (Brazilians) have no clue how to play and win against France but it was another case of 1982 (or Real Madrid for the last 5 years): put together a dream team of the most talented individuals and a coach whose strategy is focused on not bruising egos rather than winning games and you get a complete disaster. This squad was by far more talented than any in Brazilian history but Parreira, like a number of coaches in the oast, wasn't strong enough to make the right decisions and sit older stars when the need was so obvious. The team that played Japan and the one on the field today for the last 10 minutes (thanks Parreira for putting Adriano in and waiting 20 more minutes before putting in Robinho) could have possibly won but... Either way, as disappointed as I am, I have to admit watching Zidane play like he did from 97 - 01 was amazing. He outclassed his Real teammates Roberto Carlos (how could he just leave Henry unmarked) and Ronaldo. Only Robinho played anywhere close but 10 minutes is too little to give for that. My congrats to the Frence who were the better team today and I'll have to wait another 4 years to hope again!!
You could almost see it coming in the earlier games Brasil played. Their defense made all of their opponents look dangerous, giving them unmarked shots and access within the penalty box. Defense was a real concern going in. What suprised me however was Brazil's inability to control the midfield or present any real threat to France. Juninho was invisible, and Roberto Carlos shanked everything he touched. There were an appalling amount of giveaways by the back 4 when they would clear the ball. I thought I was watching a replay of WC 1998!! Yes, Ronaldo really didn't have much to work with, but he's a vulnerability to Brasil in a game where they needed a Robinho or other player that could do more than just sit in the box. Adriano looked slightly more dangerous, but unfortunately that was after France was ahead 1-0 and were packing the box. But let's give credit where credit's due - France deserved to win. They played tough in the middle and pushed Brasil all match long. They marked Brasil tightly and forced Brasil to be disciplined and play as a team in order to win, which Brasil didn't do, and frankly, hasn't done this whole Cup. Finally, I wish we had seen more of younger players throughout the Cup for Brasil. Roberto Carlos was ineffective, and Cafu just couldn't lead the midfield. Brasil-Japan gave a glimpse of what was in the wings. Parreira was too cautious. Hopefully there will be a new coach next time.
I´m a brazilian, but I have to say: France is a better team. Soccer is not made of names in The starting lineup. It´s made of team play, offense, good defense, flowing passes,intelligent Tactics and Fitness. The bleus had all that. I´ve been watching every game I could in the Cup and pretty much feared France would win. to be truthfull: Brazil is just not good enough as many could think.It´s just sad and harsh to see the way that my country side have been playng in the last ten, fifthteen years... A tough but ugly defense setted game. We won two world cups in the period it´s true, but never had a true agressive and Definite style and game. How easy is to play, and sometimes win, playing on the dependance of the opposing team´s errors! How ugly and lackluster is the way that Brazil is playing in the recent era ! How sad is to see a coward and unispired side play on opponents errors in spite of our glorious past and past great teams and our past offensive, fluid inspired way of playing. It´s been replaced by a team that have suffered pressure by everyone...from Croatia to our nemesis: France. You that read this, please excuse my sad words...It might be taken as an appeal for the true love that I have for the game. I WANT TO SEE TRUE SOCCER. In a way it´s a lesson for us to lose to a Trully good French side, instead of winning with this horrible style, with,in actually is same of last World Cup,witch we won, regardless the poor showing that we had in this era. And I pledge for all that love the game: To always play an inspired and courageous game. WINNING OR NOT, BUT PLAYING OURS HEARTS OUT!
Brazil deserved to loose this one!!. They were useless agianst Ghana, got awarded an offside goal which eventually killed the game in the second half. Good thing an "African" team in the name of France gave them what they deserved!! Go France, Go Les Blues!!!
What a beautiful match! it is right that nobody believed in France before the World Cup,even here in Paris! I m glad to see that oversea you support our team...thank you very much, we love you! VIVE LES BLEUS ET VIVE LES ETATS-UNIS
It is not enough for all of you to just say that Zidane had a good game or even a great one. THIS GAME SHOWED THE WORLD THAT ZIDANE IS THE GREATEST FOOTBALLER OF THIS GENERATION. Not Ronaldo, not Ronaldinho, or anyone else. In every different situation, he has performed. Every other team has looked for their stars to perform, but Zidane has not only performed consistently, he has contunously upped his game beyond even his own physical limits of age. He is to football what Michael Jordan was to basketball.
I am a Brazil fan, by the way. But the truth has to be told. There were moments yesterday when Zidane controlled the ball as if he controlled it with his mond and not just his body. In the beginning, he pushed the ball up too far and fast becaus eof Henri's insistence that the ball has to come up faster. henri was not getting there fast enough to reach Zidane's balls...so Zidane reverted to his old, settled, slow paced game, and showed the world some of the most beautiful football...something we expected from the Brazilians all along but never got to really see.
I was fascinated by Zidane. I am a Brazil fan, but I am now going out to buy myself a Zidane jersey...to commemorate the best player of this generation.
One thing was clear about midway through the match and that was Zidane, Makelele and Vieira completely dominated the midfield. They were doing all the playing and the Brazilians were looking pretty ordinary. Here in Lagos my pals and I had all predicted a French victory but we were all surprised at how easily they won. At no time was Brazil a threat and to top it all a 34 year old Zidane, on his last legs, was running circles around the Brazilian midfield! It was positively embarrassing for a team that parades Ronaldinho, Kaka, Gilberto Silva etal! The French were simply superior and the Brazilians were lucky to go out with such a respectable scoreline. With the way the French played they deserved a scoreline like the 98 finals. Finally, all the big-mouthed teams especially Brazil and England have crashed out. Despite the hype both teams were PATHETIC throughout this world cup. What would have been cruel would have been to see either one of them in the semis! As for Argentina they were undone by their coach. It made no sense to remove Riquelme when he did and what did he have against Pablo Aimar?
France has shown today that it is worthy of winning the soccer cup. Each man who has ever mocked or belittled France, particularly Les Bleus, for any reason whatsoever, should have some class and eat up his shoe soles or his handkerchief. Every serious soccer team in the post-Pele era has been fearing Brazil. France proved yet once again today that it is possible to defeat Brazil in a World Cup -- reminder: Brazil has *never* beat France in a World Cup, at least not since 1958. Friday night, I watched on a French internet TV Cariocas laugh at "grandpa" Zidane "who should be retired", make fun of "scary-homely Barthez", and "pansy Henry". I wonder what kind of samba these dudes are dancing tonight. Ronaldo: pathetic. Ronaldinho: absent. Zidane: majestic, at the peak of his art. Henry: stunning. Barthez: impermeable. I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of my country. And I will be watching Portuguese tears on Wednesday. And I will be watching German tears on July 9.
It was evident in every single match before that Brazil won them on momentary inattention and late-game breakdowns of the opponent teams -brief: If you don't manage to be a pro about covering the strikers, you will receive punishment. It was, however, clear that this alone would not suffice against more complete teams with the stamina to go the distance. And France proved that last night. Brazil continued their happy-go-lucky attitude confident in their belief that there's be enough chances for them over time. France built their game from the ground up, which took a few minutes, but once it was set, the Brazilians had no room to maneuver anymore. This wasn't a friendly. This was a world cup quarterfinal. Apparently, the Brazilians weren't quite aware of the stakes.
after the 3-1 draw against Spain every body in France had to recognize that we had a very strong team and every person who criticized them before had to shut up. after this perfect game against brazil it is the entire world which must recognize it had talked too fast. even if France doesn't win the word cup they have proved that great players like Zidane never give up. I really really hope we'll win the title. For Zidane. For those who respected this team since the beginning. For respect. VIVE LA FRANCE et ALLEZ LES BLEUS.
After seeing the lack of effort and inability to close down any French player I thought that Brazil would still win but have trouble doing so. After seeing their reaction to the Henry goal I knew they would lose. Also, I have to say that the French supporters at the game are probably tied with the Polish fans from the Germany game when it comes to passion and volume. Bottom line France deserved to win.
Who of us can deny that Ghana should have beaten Brazil? Who in the world can tell me that were it not for some very, shall we say suspect, officiating even there, Brazil might well have gone home last week!
The quality of the game that we see being rewarded at this cup is not the neccessaily the most artistic, its really that which is most aggressive, most eager to exert pressure. Bralzil primadonnas, who unqyuestionably can do some amazing tricks, lacked the desire to go ourt and win the ball.
The inablity of the Brazilian team to alert one another when a French defender came and took the ball away from behind, was a very lclear incdicator of what a few commentators were willing to report...Brazil was not a team. They were a collection of stars. No one wanted to do the dirty work.
Ahave the New York Yankees of Soccer slipped out of the airport yet??
Now if France could just convince Henry to be a half second more patient, so that he could stay onside, he might score a hatrick in the next match
Who really is the best player in the world? How many goals did Ronaldihno score this World Cup? How many shots on goal did he get? How many assists?
I feel so sorry for him because it just never seemsed like his team was willing to cede cntrol of the game to him?
I pity the players in La Liga who will have to deal with this guy next season.
As for Zidane, Makalele and Viera I think its going to be tougher against germany because the germans don't sit on the ball as much in the mid field. But if they do try and dribble it, these hawks will take it from them, like taking the World Cup from Brazil.
This game will be the real World Cup Final because Portugal and Italy will get steam rolled
Brazil deserves to lose as the team was never "a team" but a bunch of individual talents put together like the Real Madrid Galacticos. Seriously, it did not take a genius to know that Roberto Carlos had no way to counter Henry, that Cafu is spent, Adriano and Ronaldo cannot played together. I still think Ronaldinho is great but he needs real talents and athletes surrounding him. Ronaldo is clearly no Eto'o. Parreira paid the price for sticking with tradition when an overhaul was needed and that right after the Croatian game (Ronaldo was a disgrace to football....this is the World Cup not a bunch of friendliies game!!!!) the arrogance of Brazil got the better of them; this was the worst team since 1990.
On the other hand, France was superb!! Just incredibly superb on the field. Zidane played again like a sorcerer...For now on, it is Vive les bleu! Portugal won't beat France with Zidane playing like that!!! remenber Euro 2000 Not only Zidane but all the role players did their job: Viera, Makelele, Thuram, Sagnol, Ribery. Football is a team sport, the Real Madrid Galacticos proved that putting individual talent ahead of team chemistry is not the answer to win championship but is only a great marketing tool to sell shirts. I just hope Brazil for now on will look in its reserve in Brazil instead of automatically select those who play in Europe just because of their former glories. This was the worst Brazilian team I have seen in years...
I'm Braziian and my wife is French so this game was doubly interesting. First of all, I think that Brazil played harder and with more will than in other games. Ze Roberto was all over the field and was one of the few brazilians who played courageously and with heart. I do not agree that Roberto Carlos had a poor game. He was able to lock Ribery who did nothing in this game because of Roberto Carlos' stamina and speed.
Brazil just happened to play against a very good French team who was better. France was physically superior and Zidane was at another level technically.
The main problem with Brazil's team this year was hiearchy. Wanting to place old and slow players like Emerson, Cafu, and Adriano on the field in stead of younger and faster ones such as Cicinho, Gilberto Silva, and Robinho. Parreira only realized this when it was too late, placing Cicinho in the place of Cafu. Many have talked of the underpeformance of Ronaldinho but few have noticed the huge price Brazil has played by keeping Cafu on this team. I think Cafu only played this world cup so he could add some world cup records to his career. Brazil collectively payed the price for the individualistic achievement of certain players. Cafu created almost no offensive opportunities, being unable to make accelerations down the right line, this meant that Brazil had fewer options having to rely more on the left or center for offensive opportunities. Likewise, on defense Cafu was unable to keep up with players such as Henry. This only made Kaka work more on the offense, rendering him tired, and forced Lucio and Juan to do the defensive work that Cafu was unable to do. I'm surprised that a professional coach like Parreira only admited this at the end of the 2nd half when he placed Cicinho for Cafu. But by then it was too late for Brazil to come back. The same story can be said for Robinho. The last 10 minutes of Brazil's game was superior offensively because of the arrival of Robinho and Cicinho. But there's a hiearchy on this Brazilian team that you can see on the pitch ( old players like Cafu, Emerson, Adriano, etc) and on the bench (old-school coaches like Zagallo).
Being a Ghanaian i suported France but I have always done so anyway. Brazil have just been lucky to get this far. Their galaxy of stars were more like super models on the pitch rather than footballers. France played a fantastic game and i hope they win the cup. ... As for brazil they shld have stopped by ghana. WATCH OUT FOR GHANA IN 2010
I don't know how people can claim Viera to be the best defensive mid fielder in the world, he wasn't even close to the best in this tournament. That honour goes to Owen Hargraves. Hands Down Best DEFENSIVE mid fielder in the WORLD.
I have watched as many World Cup games as I can. At times I see some beautiful sport, but most of the time I see a game for sissies and referees. I guess in most countries you are a hero if you fall down and cry for help. With all the penalties and offsides calls the game is slow and boring.
to see ronaldo plunging shamefully without Thuram it key not showing the impotence of the Brazilian team yesterday evening. France was untouchable and deserves thousand times the victory vis-a-vis with a Brazilian team exceeded in any point I espere maintaining a final "France-Germany! and how the best win!! allez les vieux (bleus)!!
Ten or twelve years from now when all these players have retired we will all look back at this Cup with a sense of regret since both Argentina and Brazil had their most talented sides ever and under the right guidance could have produced an unforgottable tourney and an epic Final in Berlin....but now we are looking at an average side which either relies on experience (France and Portugal) or discipline (Germany and Italy)lifting the trophy.
Zidane the legend! I did not follow soccer closely back in '98 and was hoping coming into this WC that I would get to see at least a little of his magic. Then the game against Spain and now this! France-Germany for the final would be a dream game.
Is there an award in the World Cup tournament simlar to the "Rookie of the Year?" Because if there is, it must go to Franck Ribery, the best player no one has ever heard of. Relentless on the attack, blazing fast and quick, and with an amazing ability to turn the ball on a defender and leave him chasing the play, he has been truly a magnificent player in this tournament so far.
Finally, I would like to comment in response to the poster above who asks about Latin teams and their propensity for diving. This is an extremely shameful and disgusting aspect of the current game, and I agree with the previous poster, it seems rampant among Latin teams, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and to some extent Argentina and Italy. Stay on your feet and play like men, gentlemen. If Brazil had tied that game on the free kick following Ronoaldo's dive, it would have reduced what had been a mgnificent game to a travesty. I'll say it again, stay on your feet and play like men - this means you, Portugal!
I have always supported france from the beginning of this world cup. Zidane being the best player in the world, to me, proved it. I couldnt be happier with the way France played. Brazil on the other hand, need to work on using kaka ronaldinho and ronaldo much more effectively.
ahh brilliant by france. i am really hoping for them to take the win against portugal now and i am sure they will. portugal surely didn't deserve the win against england and if england had a manager with a brain they would probably win the world cup.
Ribery is a star.. He might not be the next Zidane, but watching the way he played, you know he's going to take over his shoes. He kept pressing and attacking, moving, and passing. He made Roberto Carlos look old. And then Zidane himself became the Zidane of old, the play-maker who weaved and dribbled past the defense, and creating plays for everyone. Makalele and Viera played their role wells, holding the middle and controlling the ball, allowing Zidane to move freely (like the formation back in 98). Thuram, Gallas, and Sagnol were strong in defense, they went up when needed and quickly came back in defense. Henry might not be able to play freely as he usually does but that's alright. He's holding the line for Malouda, Zidane, and Ribery to come behind him, and then Henry moves forward. The interplay between forward and midfielders was great.
It's sad to see Brazil lose. Ronaldinho didn't have any midfield support and didn't look like the same player for Barcelona, he wasn't free to move about and create (again, no support play). Kaka was trying his hardest, hustling and moving but still he and Ronaldinho can't take on the back 4 + Makalele + Viera alone. And Juninho, what happened to him? Maybe it's the formation and the players. Two old full backs who can't make the runs. No interplay and passing between midfield and forwards, no movement, no quick passing, and no flair.
Adriano leading the line (he's got size, strength, skill, and speed); Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Robinho playing behind him. Ednilson (where are you Ednilson) and Ze Roberto in midfield. at least that'll give the attacking flaier of kaka, Ronaldinho, and Robinho the freedom to attack and create.
Sure! It was a surprise to see Brazil go out, but not really! I mean Brazil and Argentina are two arrogant teams that think they deserve to be in every single final. Now, I know Brazilians and Argentinians are very good people, but their teams just didn't have what it takes to go further. France was excellent today. To be honest, I sort of knew that they would beat Brazil. Why? Spain was a much better team than Brazil. Spain had its best team in the last 20 years and they got beat fair and square by the French. But as good as France was today, how good has Germany been this year? After all the criticism that the coach got for his tactics, they are playing the best Football. I think they are now the firm favorites to win it all. They only need to keep their heads against Italy. Portugal plays beautiful football, but they dive a lot. They are over-rated too! But still give them a chance. Might surprise us. I think the eventual winner comes out of Italy-Germany bracket.
As a Brazilian I am so, so ashamed of what happened today. We must put the best TEAM on the field, not the most celebrated individual players. If the best players in the world, and we have about seven or eight of the absolute best, can't play as a team...put someone else on the field. Just because you are a great individual player doesn't mean you'll win the world cup. Sure, usually it happens as in 02' and 94' but not this year. These spoiled brats need to get booed when they come back home!! France was magnificent...oh well, 2010 we'll do better with a new coach...
About the offsides claim...I'm still h olding my ribs from laughing so hard. No need for TIVO or any replay. It was so obvious that Henry and zizou played the Brazilians perfectly on that play. So beautiful. Now on the previous set piece (from the right side) Henry played the ball perfectly and found himself open except the flick on put him into an offisides position. So my question is this: Why didn't the Brazilian defense learn it's lesson?
Anyhow, I missed all of France and Brazil's earlier matches (mostly due to press comments of lackluster and boring football and neither of these are my favorite teams.) But I must say thank you to the French side for playing the game so beautifully and give me such a nice present yesterday. One I will remember for such a long time. Repeat that performance twice more and hoist the cup yet again.
Finally, I'm left with this: Run, Ribery, Run. Inspired football.
"he was a joy" that's how french newspaper talked about Zidane yestarday before the game to describe his incredible talent. just to celebrate one of the greatest player in football history! I hope the party 'll be completed by the win against Germany in Final
The Brazilian team was over-rated. Based on their mediocre performance against Ghana, I knew they would be beaten by France. Thank God officiating was excellent this time around and the "mighty" fell face down. Ghana could have beaten them easily had Essien played. Those who kept over-rating Brazil (including referees) did a great disservice to World Soccer and Brazil. Thank God, the sun is shinning on the Brazilian team and their mediocrity has been finally exposed!
Not Peter Bergkamp, DENNIS Bergkamp... this is an insult to one of the 90's greatest football players. About France game, of course Zidane was absolutely stunning, but the very heart of the squad is the almighty second "carré magique" Thuram-Gallas-Makélélé-Vieira. This is why France are so strong...
Looking for a reason for Brazil's atrocious defeat? Just name their three top players: Goalkeeper Dida and Central Defenders Juan and Lucio. As far as their quadrado magico is concerned, about the only magic they produced was their disappearance act.
It's interesting. As a neutral observer: After watching the France-Spain game and the France-Brazil game, my lasting image of the French team thus far isn't their victory over Brazil (which was a great victory), but rather Thierry Henry's shameless dive in the game against Spain, (pretending he was SMASHED in the face) to set up a French goal. How sad.
No doubt, France was the better team and deserved to win. And Henry was most definitely onsides, but from my perspective and not having Tivo, I would question his two teammates that appeared to be in an offsides position at the time of the cross and being directly in the goal mouth, were in an interfering position. That is also part of the rule. But like I said, I don't have Tivo and never saw the replay in slow-mo. Center Back
France won because blacks are superior athletes, especially Africans. Did you see the raw talent exhibited by Ghana and Ivory COAST?Those teams did not advance because they are raw and do not possess the European or western mentality. Those Frech players have the european mentality and the African physical prowress. This is why the Drench back line was so strong. Do you think it is a coincidence that most of the french team is black while most of the other european sides are white? The hottest league in terms of selling players to the top tems in Europe is the Frech league which has a lot of African Players plying their trade. They go there for a few years to harness their talents and then move on to the bigger leagues. France however always has a team in the final four of the championship league.
Finally, Brazil couldn't get away with its bad play. All tournament they relied on opponent mistakes (like Ghana playing the offside trap in Brazil's half) to score and never produced anything, while relying on a mediocre defense. The French made no mistakes and played a great game a the right time, although I can't see them winning the cup. There are better teams in the competition still. And to all the commentators: Stop basing your predictions on reputation only, look at the recent play.
it's interesting reading all of the comments coming from around the globe, and to get such a broad perspective. I'm neither Brazilian, French or German but a plain soccer fan living in the US. After watching the Brazil/France match, the French DESERVE to win the game, no matter what the score or shots on net stats. It doesn't matter what sport your watching, as the team that wants to win the game the most & has the heart to beat the other team, usually, wins the match. France had a clear-cut strategy for the match, Brazil had none. Brazil played listless, period. France wanted to win the game more, period. Brazil's coaching and strategy, this entire Cup, was ill-prepared and terrible during the match's. Does Brazil have/had the best talent from top to bottom? Absolutely. But the match doesnt always go to the fastest, or the most skilled or even the strongest... it almost always to the team that plays with the most heart.... and in this case France. Everyone on here can come up with a million reasons as to what went wrong, or COULD have happened for Brazil, but the bottom line is that only a handful of it's players played to win....AND, .... AND.. the French played and excuted a wonderful match....congrats to the French & as a fan, I hope to see more of the same this week!
I'm not a big fan of soccer, and am disgusted by the flopping, writhing on the ground, stretcher-bearers, and crying, as well as the ridiculous amounts of yellow cards.
Watching Zidane yesterday was on par with watching Larry Bird at his best---not exceptionally athletic, like his rivals, but a step ahead in thought, and having phenomenal field-vision. He made it look effortless, too.
Just winning a game does not make a good team.France has still alot to do.People have said a few teams the best in the tournament but they exited.Let us see what France does in the next tournament.Though they lost the game,Brazil is Brazil ,Arg is Arg.No one can see so much of Football in other teams.
Well, I still think we got the best players, that's simply true, but france totally outplayed our team nonetheless and zidane, well, I wish he was born brazilian, he is not just a genius with the ball, he is also a fantastic example of humility and will in the field, I think it's time to assimilate this lesson once and for all!!!
That's football: unlike other sports, the weaker team (in theory) always have a good chance to beat the best!!!
The english invented foot, but brazil reinvented it!!!!!!!!!!
The bottom line is that money corrupts sports.You'll think that players will respond better if they make money.The more money they make the less hunger they have to go for what really matters. Brazil never played as a team France took it serious and played like broke men with a lot of heart trying to win a battle.The fifa should incorporated instant replay into these games.The brazilian team played like a bunch of pawns with out knights and kings.They forgot what their shirts and soccer history meant.
To Reggie: Since when has Italy been a cheater in a big tournament? I've seen only 2 players on Italy take big dives (every team has taken dives so far) and only one of the dives was obvious. At least Italy didn't bribe the ref to win the Euro cup in 2000 like France did. The Italian team has a lot going on back home and they are still pulling through. If Italy gets to the top of their game, and gets a leading goal against Germany, Germany will be out. Italy will just play defense and counter-attack the rest of the game. And although a lot of people hate this, it works, and since the world cup is on the line, why take the risks to run everyone up to score another goal? France has been playing well and I hope to god they beat Portugal but if Zidane doesn't play like he has been doing, then they will have a hard time.
This was the most exciting of all the World Cup games. France put on a clinic. Zidane showed what a talent he is. Brilliant passing, anticipation etc. France IS the best of the remaining teams and truly deserves to win the World Cup.
The Brazilians played like a bunch of pawns with out no king and knights to back them up.They forgot what their shirts and history of soccer meant.These guys aren't hungry for the real goal anymore.Argentines left crying, bad representation for the whole South America learn how to lose like real men.
Not much to add to many of the insightful and enjoyable posts (barring the "luck" and "offside" comments of disappointed losers and poor sports.)
Didn't grow up with the sport - neither playing nor watching, so not a big soccer fan. This was one of less than a half dozen televised matches I've watched in my life. Tuned into one match earlier in the 2006 Cup and found the play listless, the skill level seemingly poor. (Admittedly, I don't know a lot about the game.)
But this match??? Absolutely riveting! Wonderful to watch skill, heart, hustle, teamwork, and the individual brilliance of Zidane, the French midfielders sterling play, and the hustle of Ribery all combine to beat the braggadocio, theatrics and, ultimately, complacency and questionable coaching of the Brazilian side.
My two young sons joined me and we were on the edge of our seats the whole time. I was stunned at the play of Zidane. The sheer artistry, the dominance, the calm control, the seeming ability to accurately place the ball in the perfect place every time, the combination of physical and mental skills. The midfielders were outstanding. Time after time they out-hustled, out-ran, and out-played their opponents. They owned their opposites. And Ribery? Always showing up at the right moment and pushing the ball upfield, a dynamo.
I don't know much about the Brazilian side other than to say that the various comments about coaching and personnel deployment seem bang on. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and company seemed very listless. I was rooting for France, but would have enjoyed seeing some of the younger Brazilian players. Even a couple insertions late in the game seemed to be an improvement. As in so many sports, and life, it's difficult to know when it's time to move on, to change, the right time to quit. Ronaldo looked very, very slow, Ronaldinho almost bored, and there seemed little heart in the overall Brazilian play.
Finally, about the fans. The pro-Brazilian fans in this thread are amazing and great representatives of their sport! Though saddened, and justifiably disappointed, at their team's loss, given the way they played and were coached, and the talent level apparently either sitting on the bench, or left behind, they give France due credit for their victory. Nice to read instead of whining or excuse making.
Anyway, looks like an exciting finish to an initially lacklustre Cup. I'll have to watch another game or two! Go Bleu!
As a Brasilian I'm sad to see Brasil eliminated. It would have been great to see this team finally going at full speed. But I must say that, as a fan of the game, France played beautifully. They were able to take full control of the midfield neutralizing the Brasilian attack. Both teams defended extremely well and it took a brilliant set piece for France to score. It's hard to admit but France deserved this win. They didn't outplay Brasil in every aspect of the game as some have claimed but they sure dominated where it counted, the midfield.
History shows that it is highly unlikely to repeat as World Cup champions. Maybe history caught up to them or maybe they weren't as hungry to win. Either way I am happy that we are going to see a new champion. I was really tired of seeing Brazil in the finals. Forza Italia!!!
With one my predictions with my friends, i had France beating Brazil 2-1, in the end we all know the result, 1-0. I started by telling my friends that Brasil has no psychological advantage over France, but instead it was the other way around, and this game would be decided within the first fifteen minutes by which midfielder would control the game. I admit that Kaka and Ronaldhino are in the top five midfielders on earth, but Zidane is the best, as was witnessed yesterday. I went on to say If France dominated the midfield through Zidane, then France would win, if Brasil dominated the midfield then Brasil would win. Being an American/Italian i have every reason to hate the French team....(World Cup 98, Italy goes out on penalties to France in the quarters, then in final of Euro 2000, Italy get knocked out in extra time 2-1 to France). But because i am a Juventus of Italy fan, the French players have had their stints of playing with my team. Henry, Zidane,Thurman all played with Juventus, and Trezuguet still does. I know deep down in my heart that Italy beating Germany tuesday is not likely, not because the Germans have better players, because they don't, but the Germans have one thing that for some reason people underestimate greatly...that is home field advantage. The Germans can make ten mistakes and Italy make none and Italy can still lose. I do believe that France will beat Portugal in a tough semi-final game 1-0. or even penalties. If Italy does get knocked out by Germany i hope France meets up with them and beats them for their second world cup. It's not that i do not like the Germans, but i don't want them to surpass Italy in having four World Cups. The French play a beatiful style of attacking soccer and have world class defenders that, if need be, play a cattonacio style defense as witnessed by Brasil. The bottom line is all European powerhouses can play great defense, maybe not as potent as Italy, but pretty damn close, and when France scored Brasil knew deep down they were in trouble, and coming back was very, very difficult. We all saw yesterday, with twenty minutes to go, how the French packed the box with six men and had Viera playing a less attacking role as he was coming back to defend. This tactic is risky because you let the other team come down to attack, but at least you have six men, seven including Barthez, the get rid of any rebounds that might come about. If France decided to go for broke and attack for the whole game, like they have back in the seventies and eighties, Brasil would have eventually equalized. But over these more recent years France has come to understand you need to know how to play defense to win a World Cup, they did this in 1998, and hope to do so again. With this being said, Congradulations!!!! to the French, who knows maybe with some luck it will be an Italy/French final. This would be awsome because if Italy lost to France, it wouldn't hurt so bad.
What the press missed in advance of the game is that France historically has had the edge over Brazil head-to-head, not just in the 1998 World Cup final. Their styles match up well for France -- France has the defensive talent at midfield and in the back to stifle Brazil, and is technical enough to create scoring chances and at times out-Brazil Brazil in that department. At the same time, France is more collective and more physical from its constant play in Europe. France should get by Portugal, which is perhaps equally technical, but just not quite as good and lacks the champion's heart of this group of French players. Germany, on the other hand, has always plowed over France, and may well do the same this year if both reach the final. By the way, FIFA, Zidane is still the best player in the world in the big game.
As a Brazilian fan, I am of course disappointed in yesterday's game. But, the truth be told, Brazil in no way deserved to win. They played without any spirit, seemingly without any motivation, and for a team who supposedly was full of first-class players, had been a disappointment since the World Cup began. Parreira certainly deserves a lot of the blame; he had a lot of talent but did nothing extraordinary with it. Yes, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo and the rest will go back to their multi-million-dollar contracts in Europe and the rest of us can only lament the failure in this years WC.
Perhaps the one good thing that will come out of this early exit for the Brazilians is that it will finally force the old guard out and allow a coach to select the best players for a creative, exciting, bonito, Brazilian style of play.
Still, kudos to France who, despite appearing out of touch and out of gas for the group stage, managed to come together and is firing on all cylinders. That they didn't cower in front of the talent of Brazil explains why they found the way to send them home.
waouh! What is there to say. Apart from the game I just want to emphasize on Zizou's performance; simply amazing! He won his ticket for football's heaven of champions, right next to pelé and diego. He's grace personified. And so efficient...he taught brazilians a historic lesson of football. Allez les bleus and Zizou forever!!!
In response to the person who called the Brazilians "loudmouthed": When did Brazil pretend to be more than what they showed? It seems that the facts point to Argentina as the 'loud mouthed" team. Throughout the tourney they claim to be better than they showed against Mexico and Germany. Moreover, assigning blame to Pekerman is to deceive yourself into thinking that Argentina has the players to compete against the top nations. They do not! They fell flat when their best players were exposed by the Mexicans and Germans as fraud. Riquelme? Messi? Rodriguez? Crespo? All are good players at best. If you want to blame a coach for the poor performance of his team, then blame Parreira. He was outcoached and outmaneuvered in every aspect and at every instance. So much that Brazil was lucky to get by Ghana... get the facts straight. Blame Argentina poor players not the coach, Pekerman got them farther than they had in a while.....
In my opinion, this game will lift Zidane's legacy as a midfielder and player to the same level as Beckenbauer, Cruyff, and Platini, where previously, it had just been below them. In fact, if France manages to win it all, he might be mentioned in the same breath as the two soccer deities. This would make him arguably the greatest European player of all time.
As a great Brazil soccer fan for the last 20 years I have to say that yesterday was the darkest day in Brazilian footbal history. So many great players like Kaka, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Adriano, Robinho & Roberto Carlos where not even able to make it through to the semi finals. Why is that? They where outplayed by France. Brazil did'nt even get to start their own styl of playing for the whole game & World cup. It's a shame. Why did they play like that? Brazil was not itself against France & it's something between these two teams. Milions of fans cryied last night. I was one of them. Parreira & the players made us cry..... See u all in 2010!!
Re: post above: "On the other hand, this Mondial lost its beauty, since its only Brazil that is ispiring, imaginative, poetic and artistic. Now that the "artists" are gone, so has the charm of the World Championship."
Are you kidding!? Brazil played soulless, uninspired football throughout most of the World Cup. If a bunch of individual stars standing around and occasionally trying to make fancy moves counts as the beautiful game, then I'm glad that Brazilian "artistic charm" is out of the tournament. This Brazilian team was bloated and boring. It was France that brought joy, beauty, magic to the game last night.
As to one of the previous bloggers, Italy will not get ''steamrolled'' by Germany. Fine, the World Cup is rigged. Shocking. They all are. Germany, however, is not good enough to contend with 6'4" giant Luca Toni, and their beloved striker Klose will get clinicked by Captain Cannavaro. Portugal should never have even beaten the Dutch, and they will get spanked by France, despite the return of Deco and Costinha. Italy has the best goalkeeper remaining(Buffon), and Germany's Michael Ballack is a wuss. I see a ''romantic'' Final between Italia and le Francais. Allez, Zizou!
I haven’t managed to watch many matches of this WC and only followed my team (the French team) from a distance, checking out the scores and comments on the web, and until the win against Spain, like everybody else I had very little hopes for the boys in this tournament. So, the QF match yesterday was the first I managed to watch and God, I was happy I did! My knowledge of football is probably not as good as many of the people who have posted comments here, but watching Zizou performed as he did yesterday just made my day. I don’t want to take anything away from the other players, but I really think that their confidence is inspired by their captain. The French team is simply not the same when he is not there. It’s like they must be thinking:”Zizou is on the pitch, nothing can happen to me, he’s gonna take care of things”. And taking a look back at the last world cup, Zizou trembled and the French team collapsed. Of course he is an amazingly talented player and even I, can see his incredible skills, but I think the difference between Zidane and other great players, is that he only uses his fancy moves when it is required to achieve something, otherwise, he keeps it simple. And in my opinion, that is just being smart. His vision of the game reminds me of that of a snooker player, who plans 3 or 4 shots ahead. So, this only proves to all these people out there (and believe me I know a few), who think that football players and athletes in general are thick, that to be truly great in sports, you need the brain cells as well as the fitness and the talent. Obviously they don’t come in the same package very often. France was lucky enough to get it in the person of Zinedine Zidane. He will be missed, by me certainly, and my guess is by many football fans, French and others…, Now, I fear the Portuguese team a lot more than I feared the Brazilians, just because I really don’t want to see my boys cheated out of this world cup. A defeat against Brazil would have been sad, but clean. Matches against Portugal are always dirty… (Thank God I’ll be working and won’t have to watch this!) So, whatever happens from now on in this tournament, many thanks to our football wiz for all these years of good service, and farewell…
The best two indiviual performances in the world cup that I have seen were Zidane against Brasil in 1998 and Zidane against Brasil in 2006 when he was 34. He is the greatest player of his time. Long live Zidane
As a brazilian I am disapointed that Brazil played without heart, with no desire whatsoever.But what hurts the most is knowing that Brazil has better players than France, altough France is also very good.Parreira lost this tournamnet for Brazil when he didn't substitute Cafu and Roberto Carlos, cause both players cannot play attack anymore, and when an experienced player like R.Carlos looses his man like he did with Henry in France's goal, clearly things are not right.Props to France for playing perfectly against Brazil but, make no mistake, one day Brasil and France will play again and we will have our revenge, that´s for sure.Now all there is left is to root for Portugal and Scolari, a good coach wiht a heart the size of the world!!Parreira, please, have the dignity to quit before you are FIRED!!If one can't win with the players Brasil have, change your profession because you aint gonna get better players anywhere!
Brazil vs. France was an excellent example of a contest between fancy ball handling versus efficient, professional soccer. The French played as a well-integrated team, where the Brazillians were depending on individual heroics.
In the end, great teamwork usually beats a looser collection of great players. Viva Les Bleus.
"Offside, luck..." What a bunch of sore losers! Brasil, Brasil, Brasil... What a bunch of overrated players! "This Mondial lost its beauty because Brasil is the only team that's ispiring, imaginative, poetic and artistic and now that the 'artists' are gone, so has the charm of the World Championship?" Well, too bad because artists don't win matches! Now, these pathetic Brazilian "dancers" can go back to Brasil and dance to their well-deserved loss!
I have watched major portions of many of the games in the World Cup.
It is my opinion that it is a great activity to keep in shape for real sports. I think that basketball players, some football players and even baseball players can benefit from learning footwork and the running required which builds stamina. But let's not kid ourselves about it being a competitive sport.
Between the rules and the referees, games are easily controlled outside of what the players actually do.
Sports entertainment? Makes you think about pro wrestling.
"It is my opinion that it is a great activity to keep in shape for real sports. I think that basketball players, some football players and even baseball players can benefit from learning footwork and the running required which builds stamina. But let's not kid ourselves about it being a competitive sport."
What makes you say that this is not a competitive sport. This is a sport that depends on skill, speed, and imagination. It might not be like your American football, basketball or baseball, but how can you say it is not a real sport and merely an activity? This is a sport for real athletes, a sport where you have to be in top shape to succeed and you have to think outside the box and off the top of your head because you are not force fed plays out of a playbook.
"Between the rules and the referees, games are easily controlled outside of what the players actually do."
First of all, you should not judge a sport on one tournament, because this has been perhaps the worst example of refereeing I have ever seen.
And how can you say that it's not a real sport based on that. Other sports are also plagued with bad calls and terrible officiating. And in addition, refs in this sport do not have the privelege to use instant replays like other sports.
"Sports entertainment? Makes you think about pro wrestling."
And even comparing this beautiful game to pro wrestling is an insult. It is very sad to see what some people think of this game.
Regarding all the offside nonsense: it is the player that is receiving the ball that must be judged offside. Even if the other players are in front of defenders, the receiving player, if he is behind at least one defender at the time the pass is initiated, is not offside.
I agree that Portugal will be more difficult than Brazil not only because they play as a team but because they're slightly dirtier as players. But, a good clean solid game by the French will see them through.
Ironically, Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the most and the least dangerous player. His movement and speed are awesome, but his pig-headedness and selfish player also makes him responsible for not converting some of his team's better chances. Poor Pauleta! Still, a little concentration, patience and passion will see les Bleus through.
Perhaps it will be Ribery's turn next to show us the light!
I would love to see a France-Germany final so that France can avenge the traumatic loss of 1982.
Home advantag!!!! People and a decent team and good coach. Nothing is better than having fans encourage players to keep going, and as you all know, the Germans playing at home have a lot of that.
Disapointing World Cup from Brazil, Englan (don't even let me start on them), Argentina (Where was Messi and Saviola to help Tevez????)
I see a final between Germany and Portugal. But i think that a team like Germany and home field is too much and will earn the Germans #4.
The most disapointing aspect of this World Cup was the referees!!! Oh my God the were awfull, all you saw comming out of them was either a yellow or a red. It is a disgrace to have them cast a shadow on this event.
"But let's not kid ourselves about it being a competitive sport. Between the rules and the referees, games are easily controlled outside of what the players actually do. Sports entertainment? Makes you think about pro wrestling."
NonSoccerFan wrote the above at 8:19, making his decision after watching many games, and I wonder, what is he (or all the guys who say the games are fixed) watching?
Pro wrestling is an act. Guy pretends to hit another guy, his opponent acts as if he got hit; a guy holds another guy down with an arm and no leverage, the opponent lies there kicking as if he can't get up, and then after two counts by the ref, he's up because just one arm obviously can't hold him down, and yes, pro wrestling is just an act. A lot of yelling and talking and bravado. A bit of skill in making it look like they're actually trying to hurt the other guy, and a bit of skill in not getting hurt doing it.
Soccer is a real sport and is not fixed. Sure, there's a lot of acting on dives, and I don't like those at all, but you have acting in pro basketball, too, and it's not pro wrestling. Don't tell me that in the NBA finals at the top of the key that when Wade backed into Harris he did so with the force to knock Harris over. Yet Harris fell, and Wade got called for an offensive foul. On that play in basketball, there's a lot of acting. To equate soccer with pro wrestling is a low blow.
Regarding the GET IN LINE comment to other continents, I only have one thing to say to this stupid European - sorry to be this harsh to all other. Study Math before opening your mouth!
Europe has (and has always had) almost half the teams in the Cup, 10 out of 18 World Cups were on its soil, and they can only present a dismal result of 9 (counting 2006 already titles). Meanwhile, South America, with only 3-4 teams, and having held only 4 tournaments, have the same number.
Well done les bleus (or like some people said "les vieux")!!!. Being French and living in Australia I have been following the WC from day one. I was pretty worried when I found out that the referee from France-Brazil was the same guy that put Australia out of the World cup (when you trip over someone already on the ground and get a penalty for it...please?)But he did an "okay" job this time for both sides and recognised a dive when he saw one this time. Like everyone else I agree that France was the better team on the day but Thierry, for goodness sake, remember there are TV replays that will do no good to your reputation. Stop holding your face everytime you take a dive! Specially when it was not even close to your face. Leave the dives and rolls to the Italian and Portugese masters. The second goal against Spain was a shame! Thanks Zizou for making the victory beyond doubt! Having said that, when you look at the replay against Brazil, Thierry's goal was just brilliant (not offfside duh!). Have a look were is Thierry's marker... still standing at the top left end corner of the penalty area. Allez les Bleus Go the French all the way!!!
Like almost anybody who can appreciate true soccer said earlier, it is clear that France dominated the game and deserved the victory. Zidane gave a free lesson in soccer and in leadership to anybody who cared to watch.
My prediction is that Germany will beat Italy by a narrow margin because of the home advantage, while France will beat Portugal by a narrow margin too, just because they are on fire. Then, Germany will beat France because of the home advantage and the fact that it is kind of France's nemesis in international tournaments. But I will root for France. We will see if that happens as predicted.
What I will remember from this World Cup...
First, there are no lame teams anymore. Every game must be earned because even teams from small and poor nations, or from nations new to the World Cup, played very well IMHO. So nothing can ever be taken for granted anymore. This is great for soccer. Can't wait for a Korea-Ghana final in 2026. As for the USA, I hope they can see the light and hire an experienced European coach to jumpstart their ascension to world superpower in soccer eventually.
Second, those who are arrogant or insulting end up paying dearly for their lame attitude. The truth is, they act like that out of insecurity. I know that Spain is a great country with great people but I am turned off by racism by some of the fans' (even the team's!!!) occasional racism, as well as dismissive references to Zidane's age, for instance. Well, their team got totally schooled by the Master himself and hopefully they will meditate over that starting now.
Third, diva players who think that their superstar status give them license to stop working hard are condemned to be ridiculed in front of the entire world. Some of the Brazilian players are guilty. Now look at Zidane. He is among the Gods of soccer already but he still toils hard to make his countrymen proud. He can be proud to retire, having given his very best until the last minute. What an example for younger generations... Humility, determination, and confidence (of course, being extremely skilled is a prerequisite).
Hey, nonsoccerfan, I know that you are being funny but the reality is that football players would not be able to handle a World Cup soccer game, and would most likely die of exhaustion midway through the second half (and God forbid that extended time be required; well, they would be dead anyway). These guys need to take a break every thirty seconds. In fact, I am not even sure they would be able to handle the violence of physical contact, unless they be allowed to wear their cute, majorly padded outfits, of course.
Brazil has the best players in the world. Period. Yesterday France as a team as better and Brazil lost, period. Congrats to the French and Zidane for the beautiful game.
Parreira was the reason Brazil lost. He was not able to put together a team with the best players in the world. He opted for old players and individual records. For that reason he lost. He's stuborn and old. Same as Zagallo. Now is time for renovation in the selecao. plus egocentric players that did not give their hearts to try to beat France. Those were the reasons.
That's fine, 2010 is coming, new coach new amazing generation of players. We have 5 stars, so the next one will come soon. Period.
For the record, all the Brazilian players and organization never bragged about being the favorites and superchampions. That was made up by the international media and Nike to make money and give appeal to the WC. On every interview the Brazilian players were very humble.
I love to hear the Argentines curse the Brazilians. Poor country. Just because they played well one game they thought they deserve to win the WC. Reality check for you Argentina!
Argentina hate to love Brazil, Brazil love to hate Argentina.
It was interesting, when writers for this site predicted that something like this might happen, the arrogant fans of Brazil flamed them as proof that ignorant Americans know nothing of football.
Any time you have fans talking about how their team is "pacing" themselves, can turn on their game when needed, or are toying with the opposition while looking completely unimpressive, you pretty much know the fans are in denial.
The best teams improve as the tournament continues. Brazil never resembled anything close to the hype.
Now, as for the Americans who talk about the lack of "action" in football/soccer, think about how much actual action there is in an American football game, or a baseball game where it's 4 hours of watching 95% of the players stand around and do nothing 95% of the time.
great job by france, but with all this praise about zidane, henry, vieira and makalele, though it is deserved, i would like the oppurtunity to give cudos to frank ribery, who worked his arse off and played beautiful soccer against brazil and france. he created almost more offense then henry
just wanted to say that france played great and that this is a good world cup, but i have one problem: fifa needs to go back to golden goal. now teams seem satisfied with pk's and feel that attacking is not worth the risk. with golden goal, attacking is worth it and leads to more entertaining matches. in this world cup, we've only had one overtime goal and most overtimes have been rather dull
The French never cease to amaze me, after crashing and burning in 2002 and looking flat early on, they've now become one of the bona fide contenders of the tournament. They made it look easy against Brazil, although it obviously wasn't! The defense was stifling, Henry and Zidane were brilliant yet again. France has become Brazil's nemesis.
Some anonymous Argentinian poster wrote: "As there is no post about the fight after the Germany Argentina match, let´s put something clear, the germans started, they always start wars (no need to explain right? haha)"
Excuse me, sir, but it was Napoleon who invaded Germany repeatedly in the early 1800's, and many French (and other) kings had invaded Germany before that. Both sides have started their fair share of wars in Europe, history in that continent goes back well before 1900, you know?
As for the subtext here-- which is your crybaby sour-grapes loser whining after you lost to Germany in the quarterfinals-- tough. You lost fair and square. You had an excellent team, probably the best of the World Cup Tournament, and you had the host team on the ropes, up 1-0 with less than 20 minutes to go, and yet you blew it. The German fans were no more or less harsh than any others at the WC-- all the fans hoot and hiss at calls and moves that they find disagreeable, and if anything I've found the German fans to be remarkably well-behaved overall, including toward Argentina.
The fight afterwards was the result of a few idiot yahoos on both sides, probably lathered up and spoiling for a fight, as so often happens even at these respectable tournaments. The vast majority of fans behaved themselves well, and far more importantly, both teams themselves have behaved with class. I'm hoping for a Germany-France final, and whoever wins at that point, I'll be happy.
The Colts-Patriots reference was EXCELLENT, obviously the people who criticized it are not creative enough to see the parallels. The Colts and Brazil are the powerhouse,favorites,always ranked #1 to win it all and are upset by the more cohesive Patriots/France.EXCELLENT comparison...yes you can argue about small details like the Colts not being champions but Brazil being champions, but those are petty details that have nothing to with the overall point--again, to who criticized the comment (which was not by me) please realize you are all closed minded and know nothing of parallels between futbol and football....GO FRANCE, GO PRATRIOTS!!!!!!
France won the game because of one man: Zidane. I've been a lifelong fan of Brazil (and will continue to be one :-), but could not help but marvel at Zizou's masterful performance. It was an absolute pleasure to see him weave his magic. Too bad he does not play for Brazil! There has been a lot of talk about 'Joga Bonito'. I think Zidane just showed us all what it looks like... Only silver lining for Brazil is that Zidane won't be back in 2010! Maybe they will show up next time with a real cohesive team instead of a group of 11 stars and star-wannabes...
This Patriots-France criticism is pretty silly. Patriots won 3 of four, with a middle that they didn't make the playoffs. France won a world cup, a Euro, and still made the next world cup. If the Super Bowl was held every 4 years, do you think the Patriots would have won 3 of 4? Great run so far for the French, and it isn't over.
I don't think Ronaldinho had a bad game.. he was deployed as a forward, and as such he required service from the midfield to shine. The old, slow midfield of Brazil never got him the ball enough for him to showcase his skills. Don't forget, even MJ bricked half his jump shots.. you can't label someone a failure if he doesn't display sublime performance each second of the entire 90 minutes.
I'm not sure this is anything other than one team "wanting" it more than the other.. for whatever reason at this world cup Brazil simply wasn't motivated to perform.
The two teams on the pitch that day were pack full of stars. One thing I enjoyed was that players respected each other. They played beautiful technical football, not some athletic & aggressive game (which can be efficient, but boring to watch). Granted, Brazil missed its match, but France sure knows how it feels. They've been playing terrible football in recent years. They have often been booed out of the pitch by their own supporters. However, something has clicked recently. Their hunger for victory is apparent, and the team spirit is back. If they can show us that kind of football till the end, then they deserve to be crowned world champion this time again. Germany has played some beautiful games too and scored many goals. They have a team which is more physical. If we end up with a Germany vs France final, it will be deserved for both teams. Portugal could go through too. I just hope Italy doesn't, they cheat too much. Their attitude shows little respect for fair play, and has a negative influence on the game (dixit the dive at 93rd minute against Australia to rob a penalty and score the only goal of the match). I hope one day the old smucks at the FIFA come to realise that referees can't fight against professional cheaters, and that post match fines/sanctions and video assistance are needed.
"In fact, I am not even sure they would be able to handle the violence of physical contact, unless they be allowed to wear their cute, majorly padded outfits, of course."
You might be joking, but how many soccer players could take a hit from a 250 pound linebacker running straight at him at full speed. You have to be a well conditioned athlete to play soccer, but American football is more physical.
An intriguing game no doubt, shocking . . . hardly. In a tournament of surprises, let downs and the strong fondness of handing out cards, the quarterfinal match up epitomized the tournament and the two teams involved . . . inconsistency. Brazil entered the /06 finals as hands down favorite. They also entered the competition with many questions and the media ready to pounce. Ronaldo was a portly and it was suggested he sit down in favor of Robinho. That ended with Ronaldo becoming the most prolific goal scorer in the history of the finals, but resurfaced after the loss to France. Love him or hate him, at least pick a side, I will, he didn’t capture his magnificent form of past but did score, can’t put it all on him. Ronaldinho completed an extremely long and strenuous year. It’s funny how the media uses the title of world’s greatest player more so after a disappointment then a success. Seleção disappointed, Kaka was ineffective and Carlos and Kafu, two wonderful players in their time, are now to be replaced. The result was poor in a comparison of talent, but rebound the Brazilians will, and give credit to Les Bleus. Zizou was great (not the best in the tournament however), but admit that he, like Ronaldo, was counted out and while performing well on the great stage, wasn’t necessarily at his best. It was the midfield that won the contest and while Viera put forth a valiant effort, it was actually Makelele who made the difference. A stallion in Real and of course in Chelsea, the elderly defensive midfielder was forced to be his best versus the overly talented Brazilians and when the time came he was more than up to the challenge. But France had difficulty in advancing from the group stage and unpredictable showings didn’t indicate the outcome of this match beforehand. Henry scored, it was not offside, and while France deserved the win, describing the Brazilians as embarrassing is a bit of a hyperbole, their performance didn’t meet our expectations but they lost by only one and France seems to have their number in matches pitting nation versus nation. Please avoid using American football examples to illustrate performances during the World Cup, as they are essentially useless. At some point, admit that everything doesn’t revolve on the inspiration of the Patriots or Red Sox; this is an international game, at least use international examples. And when comparing athletes from other sports, please use examples that illustrate the athletic prowess of both sports. It’s called balance. No, a futbol player couldn’t take a hit from a250 lbs. linebacker, pads or no pads. But a 200 lbs. wide receiver couldn’t run the entire length of the pitch, handling the ball in his/her feet at full speed while holding off a pit bull like Gattuso. The physical elements of each game are incomparably different. Congratulations to France, who should be favored over Portugal.
They could have called the goal offsides - it is grey area. The two French players in the middle both looked a hair offsides when the ball was played - Henry definitely wasn't. The two guys in the middle both made an attempt to play the ball, jumping up for it as it sailed easily over their heads. You can argue though, that the action of jumping after the ball holds the goalkeeper on his line, and prevents him from maybe coming out to challenge Henry's volley.
It would have been a shame if they called it, because it was such a pretty goal on both ends and the players not involved in the play would have caused it to be for naught, but they could have and been correct.
Hey Anonymous 12:09 PM, how long do you think your 250-pound linebacker can run in a soccer field? 5, 10 minutes? And not only they wear Xtra-padded outfits, they also wear helmets! Tough guys play rugby, not American football! Anyway, this is all about the World Cup. So, spare us your physical sport.
Hey Anonymous 12:42 AM, they may not be the best team in this World Cup, but they beat Brazil, which was a major feat in and by itself! How many nations can claim they consistently beat the mighty Brazil? Like any competition, the importance is to win, not to look the best on paper. So, hype? No, not at all, I call this hallelujah!
Hey Anonymous 12:42 AM, the French may not be the best team in this World Cup, but they beat Brazil, which was a major feat in and by itself! How many nations can claim they have consistently beat the mighty Brazil? So, hype? No, not at all, I'd call this hallelujah!