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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 June, 2004, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
France 2-1 England

Zinedine Zidane scores France's equaliser with a free-kick.
Zinedine Zidane scored a majestic free-kick and a penalty in injury time to secure holders France a stunning victory over England in Group B.

Frank Lampard had given England a first-half lead when he rose to head home David Beckham's free-kick.

The brilliant Wayne Rooney won England a second-half penalty, but Beckham saw his spot-kick saved by Fabien Barthez.

Zidane equalised with a free-kick and then converted from the spot after David James fouled Thierry Henry.

That late double blow left England's players inconsolable at the final whistle, whilst the French stayed on the pitch to celebrate their opening game win.

The atmosphere at the Estadio Da Luz was electric as both teams finally started their Euro 2004 campaigns.

And while England captain Beckham and France skipper Zidane, team-mates at Real Madrid, exchanged pleasantries in the tunnel before kick-off, there was no room for friendship on the field.

We have to win two games against Switzerland and Croatia and I think we can do that
Sven-Goran Eriksson
England coach
The pre-match hype - the game being England's biggest since their World Cup quarter-final defeat to Brazil in 2002 - added an extra edge to the encounter where duels between club team-mates were abundant.

Henry of Arsenal faced Sol Campbell in an England defence shorn of the services of John Terry, who was replaced by Ledley King.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson opted to stick with the 4-4-2 formation which had worked so well in the 6-1 Euro 2004 warm-up win over Iceland.

England's midfield quartet of Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham settled quickly, allowing them to absorb some early France pressure.

38 mins: Frank Lampard heads England ahead from David Beckham's free-kick
68 mins The ineffective Michael Owen leaves the field
73 mins: David Beckham sees his penalty saved by Fabien Barthez
90 mins: Zinedine Zidane curls in a superb free-kick
93 mins: Zidane converts a penalty to hand France victory

Zidane, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires produced the fluid football so typical of the French, to whom the first real goalscoring opportunity fell when David Trezeguet headed over from Vieira's precision cross.

For England, Scholes combined well with the outstanding Rooney before the Manchester United midfielder picked out Michael Owen going in on goal.

Only the close attention of William Gallas prevented Owen from testing Barthez as France cleared their lines. Gallas also had to be alert to deny Gerrard, who had surged into the area following an England counter-attack.

King, who was starting his first match for England, looked impressive and the anonymity of Henry in the first half owed much to the Spurs centre-half's concentration at the back.

The England defender made an important clearance to cut out Vieira's flick-on as France sought to test James.

We can thank Fabien for making the difference
Zinedine Zidane
Yet in truth, for all France's possession, England goalkeeper James had little to do in the first half.

And England's controlled approach - epitomised by the superb holding play of Rooney - paid dividends just before half time.

Lizarazu sent Beckham tumbling on the right-hand side of the France area and the England captain picked himself to deliver a teasing cross which Lampard headed past a stationary Barthez.

It was the first time the French defence had been breached in 11 games, but that record was of no interest to England's fans, who could not contain their glee.

The onus was very much on France to pick up the pace after the break and one lightning quick counter-attack saw Vieira surge forward before finding Henry, whose curled shot was gathered by James.

France striker Thierry Henry battles with England goalscorer Frank Lampard
Henry won a late penalty for France
Henry started to become more influential as the game wore on, but it was the raw aggression of Rooney that stood out as he tormented France with his power and pace.

If England had anything to prove it was that they could produce a strong second-half display.

Eriksson replaced the ineffective Owen with Darius Vassell in an attempt to freshen things up and, just as signs of weariness were creeping into the play, Rooney stormed forward.

The Everton teenager was crudely hacked down by Mikael Silvestre, who was fortunate to receive only a caution, and England were duly awarded a penalty.

But Beckham saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Barthez to give France a lifeline.

And England were made to pay a heavy price for that miss in the dying minutes of the game.

Substitute Emile Heskey needlessly gave away a foul on the edge of the area and the imperious Zidane strode forward to send a curling free-kick past James.

And England then lost all sense of discipline when Gerrard attempted a dangerous back-pass to James, with Henry in close pursuit.

The France striker pounced on the loose ball and was hauled to the ground by a despairing James.

Referee Markus Merk pointed to the spot and Zidane showed no nerves as he converted the penalty with aplomb to hand France victory and control of Group B.

France: Barthez, Gallas, Thuram, Silvestre (Sagnol 79), Lizarazu, Pires (Wiltord 76), Vieira, Makelele, Zidane, Trezeguet, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Landreau, Boumsong, Dacourt, Desailly, Govou, Marlet, Pedretti, Rothen, Saha.

Booked: Pires, Silvestre.

England: James, Gary Neville, King, Campbell, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Scholes (Hargreaves 76), Rooney (Heskey 76), Owen (Vassell 69).
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Bridge, Butt, Carragher, Joe Cole, Dyer, Phil Neville, Terry.

Booked: Scholes, Lampard, James.

Attendance: 64,000

Referee: Markus Merk (Germany).

Category France England
Total shots 16 11
Shots on target 6 4
Possession 54% 46%
Corners won 5 2
Fouls committed 16 17
Offsides 3 1
Bookings 2 3
Sent Off 0 0


  • 18-year-old Wayne Rooney became the second youngest player to play in a European Championship finals match. The record holder is Enzo Scifo who was only 18 years three months and 25 days old when he made his European Championship debut for Belgium exactly 20 years ago.
  • Lilian Thuram made his 100th international appearance for France. He is only the third Frenchman to collect a century of caps following Marcel Desailly (115 caps) and Didier Deschamps (103 caps). He becomes the seventh player at Euro 2004 with over 100 caps.
  • Frank Lampard's opening goal put an end to France's clean sheet streak of 11 matches. The last time France had conceded a goal was against Turkey in the Confederations Cup on June 26, 2003. They had gone 1,077 minutes without conceding a goal.
  • David Beckham's missed penalty was the 14th missed spot kick in regulation time at the European Championships. It was also the first time England have failed to convert a regulation time penalty kick in a European Championship finals match.

    Links to more Euro 2004 stories



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