France beat Portugal 1-0 and reach FIFA World Cup final

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

An experienced French side beat Portugal 1-0 in an unspectacular semi-final of the FIFA World Cup in Munich, Wednesday.

Allianz Arena
Allianz Arena

The team that lined up against Luis Felipe Scolari's side had an average age over 30 and after they went ahead from a 32 minute Zinedine Zidane penalty used their experience to control the game.

In the second half French tactics became increasingly defensive which saw ball possession go from a direct split at half time to 59 per cent in favour of Portugal as, at times, every French man sat back in his own half of the pitch.

There were few good chances in a slow game and in the first half Portugal were particularly guilty of wasting possession near the French box, giving Portugal's only striker Pauleta no chance.

On 23 minutes Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo swapped sides but this did not seem to help. French defending was tight and the majority of shots at goal Portugal got were from long range.

On 38 minutes Ronaldo created the best chance; on the left touchline he got past two French players and ran almost 30 yards into the penalty area. His shot was deflected away by a diving Liliam Thuram challenge.

France were also unable to get a sight of goal, confined to three efforts in the first period, to which they were to add two more in the second. The only goal came from a penalty awarded on the half hour when Thierry Henry wrong-footed Ricardo Carvalho and the Chelsea defender impeded Henry's movement with a leg.

Ricardo had saved three penalties against England in the quarter-final shootout but Zidane's low shot to his right just evaded his finger tips.

Portugal did not score in their quarter-final and they were not to score in the semi-final. They came closest to scoring on a Fabien Barthez error when the veteran of France's successful 1998 World Cup campaign failed to catch Ronaldo's driven free kick. He somehow managed also to throw the ball onto Figo's head but the Portugal captain did not keep it down.

Two minutes into added time Fernando Miera had a sight of goal at the edge of the French area but the central defender hit the ball high and wide.

It did not seem like a 100 per cent effort from the French team who might be glad that the game did not go to a punishing Extra Time. Italy awaits Raymond Domenech's side in the Olympiastadion, Berlin, on July 9.


Match 61

July 45, 2006
  France 1–0   Portugal Allianz Arena
Zidane 32' (pen)

Attendance: 66'000



Right wing Right Center Left Left wing
 Fabien Barthez (GK)
 Willy Sagnol  Liliam Thuram  William Gallas  Eric Abidal
 Claude Makelele
 Florent Malouda  Patrick Viera  Frank Ribery
 Zinedine Zidane (C)  
 Thierry Henry


  • 69' Sylvian Wiltord for Malouda
  • 72' Sidney Govou for Ribery
  • 85' Louis Saha 87'  for Henry

Coach: Raymond Domenech

  denotes one goal scored.


Right wing Right Center Left Left wing
 Ricardo (GK)
 Miguel  Fernando Meira  Ricardo Carvalho 83'   Nuno Valente
 Maniche  Deco
 Luís Figo (C)  Cristiano Ronaldo


  • 62' Paulo Ferreira
  • 68' Simão Sabrosa
  • 75' Hélder Postiga

Coach: Luis Felipe Scolari

  denotes one goal scored.


  Referee: Jorge Larrionda   

  Assistant referee: Walter Rial

  Assistant referee: Pablo Fandino

  Fourth referee: Mark Shield

  Fifth referee: Nathan Gibson

Italy score two late in Extra Time, hosts Germany, to play third place match



This article is about the 2006 World Cup; for more World Cup news visit the World Cup portal.