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Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Zidane sends France through
France 2-1 Portugal
After extra time - France win on golden goal
(Brussels - Attendance: 50,000)
Zinedine Zidane scored the vital golden goal to send France into the final of Euro 2000.
Abel Xavier handled a shot from Sylvain Wiltord, and although the referee failed to spot the offence, his assistant flagged for a penalty.
Zidane, world player-of-the-year in 1998, confidently put the spot-kick into the top left corner, giving Vitor Baia no chance.
The decision incensed the Portugal players, with a red card shown to Nuno Gomes, the man who had put Portugal ahead in the first half, before Thierry Henry's second half equaliser.
France must now wait to find who they play on Sunday evening, with Holland to play Italy in the other semi-final.
Roger Lemerre's side now have the chance of adding the title of European champions to their World Cup triumph of 1998.
For Portugal, their brave and exhilarating tournament is over, although their reputation in world football has been enhanced.
Gomes' stunning strike arrived in the 19th minute, after persistence from Sergio Conceicao in the midfield created the shooting opportunity.
Although both Henry and Nicolas Anelka both showed pace in wide areas, there was little cohesion in their attacking play.
As if made painfully aware of the lack of passion in their first half performance, France began the second with more purpose. Despite not creating any clear chances, they began to play more of their football in the Portugal half.
Their prize arrived in the 51st minute, after Patrick Vieira found Anelka in space on the right edge of the Portugal penalty area, allowing the former Arsenal striker to feed the current Gunner front man Henry, whose swivel and shot swept past Baia, courtesy of a deflection from Fernando Couto.
The Juventus playmaker proved he had the ability to play a killer ball, finding Henry in space behind the Portugal defence twice, with Couto and then Jorge Costa making important blocks to prevent Baia from making a save.
Three late chances during normal time could have swung the game either way.
Substitute Joao Pinto just failed to get a touch to Gomes' header across goal, while in the Portugal penalty area, Lilian Thuram dribbled his way into a shooting position, only to lose his footing at the vital moment.
During the first period of extra-time, it was France who looked more dangerous, with Zidane and Laurent Blanc both missing heading chances.
At the start of the second period of extra-time, Pinto again came close to winning the contest, breaking into the French half from Figo's pass, before uncorking a right footed shot which went six inches wide.
Seconds later, David Trezeguet forced Baia to come from his goal, and after the ball came loose, Wiltord's goalbound shot forced Xavier to handle, and Portugal's dream was all but over.
France: Barthez, Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu, Vieira, Deschamps, Zidane, Petit (Pires 87), Henry (Trezeguet 105), Anelka (Wiltord 72).
Portugal: Baia, Xavier, Couto, J. Costa, Dimas (Jorge 91), Conceicao, Vidigal (Bento 61), Rui Costa (Joao Pinto 78), Costinha, Figo, Gomes.
Referee: G Benko (Austria).
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