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Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK
Mabbutt: France deserved golden moment

Golden touch: Zidane celebrates his spot kick success
Former England and Spurs defender Gary Mabbutt tells BBC Sport Online that France were worthy winners of their Euro 2000 semi-final against Portugal.

It might have taken a penalty in 'golden goal' extra time to seal it, but for me France always looked like winning against Portugal.

Their eagerly-awaited Euro 2000 semi-final was never going to live up to the all the pre-match build-up, but there was still a lot of quality play from both sides.

France took a little while to get into the game but they still had most of the possession in the first half, even if they didn't translate it into goal-scoring chances.

I think both sides sacrificed a little of their flair to cope with each other's attacking threats, but it was by no means a negative game.


In terms of the battle between Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, you would have to say that the Frenchman came out on top.

Figo played a lot of the game out on the wing, but whenever he came inside the French put men on him to ensure the danger was stifled.

Although Zidane didn't do as well as he has in some of the other matches in the competition, he still did enough to justify his status as one of the world's greatest players.

And it took plenty of nerve to step up and score from the spot after Abel Xavier had handled in the 117th minute.

I backed France to win Euro 2000 before the tournament began, and I still think they are going to do it, whoever they face in the final.

They will be worthy champions.

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Zidane sends France through
28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Portugal coach resigns
28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
France v Portugal clockwatch
28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Brown eyes Holland and Italy
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