France out-wit Spain 3-1 and clinch quarter-final spot

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

France came from a goal down to win their round of sixteen game 3-1 against Spain in Hanover, Tuesday.

File:Panorama AWD-Arenax.jpg

AWD Arena, Hanover.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The win was a tactical triumph for the French coach Raymond Domenech whose team gave up 61 per cent of ball possession yet restricted their opponents to seven shots - two on target - and ran out three goal winners.

Nor did the French have many chances as for the majority of the game Spain patiently passed the ball around them. When they did have the ball they constantly pried at the Spanish offside line and therein found the weakness that lead to victory.

Though the French were offside eight times the crucial equaliser came from a Franck Ribéry run on to a Patrick Viera pass that beat the line of Spaniards close to half time. At speed Ribéry rounded Iker Casillas to slot home.

So solid were the French in defence intercepting passes, blocking shots and making tackles the only goal conceded - which put them behind - was from a penalty kick. This was slammed in low by David Villa on 27 minutes after Pablo had been clattered from behind by Liliam Thuram.

Ten minutes into the second half the score was at 1-1 but the French continued to test the Spanish offside trap. A worried Luis Aragonés brought on two substitutes and changed his system from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1. The Spanish defence sat closer to their penalty area so there was less room to pass balls behind them.

But still the Spanish line was caught on 82 minutes when Thierry Henry was fouled by Puyol as he attempted to connect with another through ball. Henry fell as if hit in the face by Puyol although this could not be confirmed with television evidence. Zinedine Zidane floated the resultant free kick into the box, there was an inadvertent flick on from a Spanish player and Viera nodded in at the far post off Sergio Ramos.

As the Spanish pressed for a last minute score the French broke through again, Zidane this time cut back to lose Puyol, and with the keeper off balance he reversed his shot to the near post to put the game out of reach.

So efficient was the French performance FIFA statisticians logged the team with just 19 minutes actual playing time. Brazil, who the French will play in the quarter-finals, too conceded the majority of possession in their game but in comparison beat Ghana 3-0 with 27 minutes actual playing time, Tuesday.

Round of sixteen

Match 56

June 27, 2006
  France 3–1   Spain AWD Arena
Ribéry 41'
Viera 83'
Zidane 92'+
Villa 27'

Attendance: 43'000



Right wing Right Center Left Left wing
  Fabien Barthez (GK)
  Liliam Thuram   William Gallas   Eric Abidal   Willy Sagnol
  Claude Makelele
  Franck Ribéry


  Patrick Viera


  Florent Malouda
  Zinedine Zidane

(C)   91' 

  Thierry Henry


  • 74' Sidney Govou for Malouda
  • 88' Sylvain Wiltord for Henry

  denotes one goal scored.


Right wing Right Center Left Left wing
 Iker Casillas (GK)
  Sergio Ramos   Carlos Puyol 82'    Pablo   Mariano Pernía
  Xabi Alonso
  Xavi   Cesc Fábregas
  David Villa  
  Raul (C)   Fernando Torres


  • 54' Luis García for David Villa
  • 54' Joaquín for Raul
  • 72' Marcos Senna for Xavi

  denotes one goal scored.


  Referee: Roberto Rosetti   

  Assistant referee: Cristiano Copelli

  Assistant referee: Alessandro Stagnoli

  Fourth referee: Markus Merk

  Fifth referee: Christian Schraer


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