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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK
Zidane grateful to Barthez

FRANCE 2-1 ENGLAND
Fabien Barthez is hugged by Patrick Vieira
Zinedine Zidane hailed Fabien Barthez after the penalty save which kept his side alive in France's dramatic Group B victory over England.

Barthez kept out David Beckham's spot-kick with England leading and Zidane said: "We can thank Fabien for making the difference.

"He kept it at 1-0 and kept us believing we could still win the game.

"It was not going our way but in the end it's a very positive result. We suffered but overturned the situation."

Zidane admitted his injury-time double strike - which turned the game on its head - had come out of the blue.

"We had not had a good match and then came a little bit of a surprise at the end," he added.

"It is matches like this that forge the spirit of a team.

"It is certainly one of the best games I have ever played in, along with the ones at Euro 2000.

"We did not expect such a tough challenge from the English but we proved that nothing is over until the final whistle.

"Winning like this obviously boosts your morale."

France coach Jacques Santini agreed that Barthez's penalty save was the turning point of his side's win.

"England gave us a very difficult match and at half-time I told the players they had a big job to do," Santini said.

It's just great because if we had been 2-0 down the story was over
France keeper Fabien Barthez on his penalty save
"We started the second half well but I have to say that penalty save from Fabien boosted us.

"That was a big psychological blow in our favour."

Barthez was happy to claim the credit for his save.

"You can say that saving a penalty is just luck, but luck doesn't come to you like this," he said.

"You have to stir it up. This is the result of the hard work.

"On a situation like this one the odds are 90% against the goalkeeper but you never know. It's only instinct."

"I was really focused on what I was doing. It's just great because if we had been 2-0 down the story was over.

"I played my part, but you must not forget what Zidane has done. This is exactly what he is capable of."





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