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Sunday, 25 June, 2000, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
Zidane personifies France's quality
Zinedine Zidane (10)
Simply the best: Zidane (10) scores against Spain
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson says the quality of France's football in their 2-1 quarter-final victory over Spain confirms them as favourites to win Euro 2000.

The last quarter-final of Euro 2000 produced another enthralling game - I have to say we've been spoilt during this tournament.

It was marvellous to see football played at such a frantic pace but with such quality, and I think France deserved to win.

Their quality is personified by Zinedine Zidane, whose pace, strength, close control and vision are just amazing.



Zidane is the best player in the world at present because he produces week in week out at club level, and time and time again for France.

Mark Lawrenson
His free kick, which gave France the lead in 33rd minute, was unstoppable, and the run that took him half the length of the pitch later in the game was superb.

He's the best player in the world at present because he produces week in week out at club level, and time and time again for France.

Biggest test

The French defence needed to be at their very best because Spain gave them the biggest test of the competition so far.

The Czech Republic also gave them a tough time, but this was a knock-out situation, and Spain really made Lizarazu, Thuram, Blanc and Desailly draw on all their class and experience.


Youri Djourkaeff
Djourkaeff celebrates his winning goal
Spain proved their quality, and the way they keep throwing men forward means they can never be written off.

I think France will be too good for Portugal in the semis. They may not play with as much flair because they will be looking to stop Figo, Costa and Pinto playing, but they will still go through.

But the good thing about the semi-final line-up is that it really does consist of Europe's four best footballing sides, which is great to see.

New rules

It also sends a message to the likes of England, Germany, Sweden and Norway - those teams that continue to play in straight lines and paid for it with early exits from Euro 2000.



France will be too good for Portugal in the semis. They may not play with as much flair because they will be looking to stop Figo, Costa and Pinto playing, but they will still go through.

Mark Lawrenson
The game has moved on, and the new rules that have been introduced mean that teams can now afford to play more football.

The new rules protect forwards, and the emphasis is increasingly on attack, which has to be good for the game.

As I said, we've been spoilt by Euro 2000, and you know when Alan Hansen starts raving about attacking displays that football really is changing!

Search BBC Euro 2000

 

See also:

25 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Raul miss sends France through
25 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Spain v France clockwatch
25 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Camacho bitter at defeat
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