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France 0-0 Switzerland
Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Zinedine Zidane
France captain Zinedine Zidane was not his usual inspirational self
France got their World Cup campaign off to a disappointing start with an uninspiring draw against Switzerland.

Both teams found it hard in stifling conditions and lacked any real creative spark until the closing stages.

Switzerland came closest to scoring, with Alexander Frei fluffing an easy chance and Fabien Barthez brilliantly denying substitute Daniel Gygax.

Thierry Henry was denied a penalty when his shot was handled by Patrick Mueller but the referee waved his claims away.

France had the better of the early exchanges and Henry came close to giving them the lead with a header on five minutes, but Sylvain Wiltord put too much on the cross and it soared over the bar.

Neither team seemed keen to extend themselves in the disagreeable heat and it was no surprise the sides only managed a goal apiece in their two World Cup qualifying meetings.

Henry was isolated up front at times and this was highlighted midway through the first half when the Arsenal striker worked his way to the byline and stuck a probing cross into the box, only to find none of his colleagues had made the journey with him.

Switzerland had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 23rd minute when Tranquillo Barnetta fired in a free kick and Phillippe Senderos got the faintest of touches to nod it on to the post.

In the resultant scramble Frei had the goal at his mercy, but Eric Abidal just did enough to put him off and the ball ballooned over the bar.

Debutant Franck Ribery should have given France the lead when he was put clean through on 37 minutes but he nervously squared to Henry instead. The striker's shot hit the hand of of Mueller, but the Russian referee decided it was accidental.

Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira was off the pace

France came out of the traps quickest in the second half and Patrick Vieira wasted another opportunity two minutes in, scuffing his shot after being teed up by Ribery.

Vieira looked a shadow of the player who made those surging box-to-box runs, while Zinedine Zidane's box of tricks was ransacked some time ago, although he was still head and shoulders above his team-mates.

Just before the hour mark, Henry slid Wiltord in and a goal seemed certain until a perfectly-timed tackle by Senderos whipped the ball off the Frenchman's foot as he was preparing to pull the trigger.

Switzerland responded with a rare attack of their own when Barnetta burst into the area, but he delayed his pass too long and the French cleared their lines.

Substitute Vikash Dhorasoo was a whisker away from giving France a last-gasp winner and Frei's attempt to punch in a Swiss free kick was punished with a yellow card.

When the final whistle came, the French section of the crowd made their feelings clear, realising perhaps that age has finally caught up with Les Bleus.

France: Barthez, Abidal, Gallas, Thuram, Sagnol, Zidane, Makelele, Vieira, Ribery (Saha 69), Wiltord (Dhorasoo 84), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Boumsong, Chimbonda, Coupet, Diarra, Givet, Govou, Landreau, Malouda, Silvestre, Trezeguet.

Booked: Abidal, Zidane, Sagnol.

Switzerland: Zuberbuhler, Magnin, Senderos, Muller (Djourou 74), Philipp Degen, Cabanas, Vogel, Wicky (Margairaz 81), Barnetta, Frei, Streller (Gygax 57).
Subs Not Used: Behrami, Benaglio, Coltorti, David Degen, Dzemaili, Grichting, Lustrinelli, Spycher, Yakin.

Booked: Magnin, Barnetta, Philipp Degen, Cabanas, Frei.

Att: 52,000.

Ref: Valentin Ivanov (Russia).

Fifa man of the match: Claude Makelele.


France have not scored a single goal in their last four World Cup matches, and join four other countries not to have scored in four consecutive World Cup games. Between 1930 and 1994, Bolivia set the World Cup record by not scoring a goal in five consecutive World Cup encounters.

Switzerland have recorded their first ever block-out at a World Cup. They failed to keep a clean sheet in all of their previous 22 World Cup matches. This already marked an all-time World Cup record. The Swiss have not lost in five matches in 2006. They beat Scotland and China and drew with Ivory Coast, Italy and now France.

Fabien Barthez (34 years and 350 days) and Lilian Thuram (34 years and 163 days) became the two oldest French players ever at a World Cup. The started eleven was also the oldest line-up ever for France with an average age of 30 years and 191 days.



49 51
France Switzerland


  • 16 F Barthez
  • 03 E Abidal yellow card
  • 05 W Gallas
  • 15 L Thuram
  • 19 W Sagnol yellow card
  • 10 Z Zidane yellow card
  • 06 C Makelele
  • 04 P Vieira
  • 22 F Ribery (69 L Saha )
  • 11 S Wiltord (84 V Dhorasoo )
  • 12 T Henry


  • 01 P Zuberbuhler
  • 03 L Magnin yellow card
  • 04 P Senderos
  • 20 P Muller (74 J Djourou )
  • 23 P Degen yellow card
  • 07 R Cabanas yellow card
  • 06 J Vogel
  • 08 R Wicky (81 X Margairaz )
  • 16 T Barnetta yellow card
  • 09 A Frei yellow card
  • 11 M Streller (57 D Gygax )

Ref: Valentin Ivanov
Att: 52000

Switzerland coach happy with draw
13 Jun 06 |  Switzerland


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