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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Why France beat Brazil
By Vicki Hodges


France players celebrate in front of a dejected Gilberto Silva
France players celebrate in front of a dejected Gilberto Silva
Never has the notion of the team being more important than the individual been more apparent than during France's World Cup quarter-final triumph over Brazil.

Les Bleus overcame the 2002 World Cup winners by a single goal after displaying a unity and spirit sadly missing from an out-of-sorts Brazil side.

Both France and Brazil started the tournament slowly.

But while France have gone from strength to strength Brazil have failed to move out of second gear.

BBC Sport pundits Leonardo and Marcel Desailly reveal where it all went wrong for Brazil and how France have turned around their fortunes.

PREPARATION

Brazil took the decision to take part in only one warm-up match before jetting to Germany - a convincing 4-0 win over New Zealand.

France, meanwhile, won all three of their pre-tournament friendlies against Mexico, Denmark and China.

Former Brazil star Leonardo told BBC Sport: "Brazil arrived at the World Cup like globetrotters and were expected to go out and win it but they never turned up."

TACTICS

France coach Raymond Domenech came under fire for using a 4-5-1 formation throughout the group stages.

They may have narrowly edged their way into the second round but impressive victories over an in-form Spain side and holders Brazil have gone a long way to answering those critics.

Desailly, who was part of the France team that won the World Cup in 1998, said: "Domenech has been clever to keep his team in the same shape, even when people were complaining that Thierry Henry was on his own up front, he was the one that scored against Brazil."

Ronaldo takes a breather
Striker Ronaldo takes a breather against France

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has also had to deal with his own fair share of criticism - most notably his decision to continue to keep faith with Ronaldo.

Leonardo stated: "I don't know what happened. I think the system was very difficult for players like Ronaldinho and Kaka who are midfielders for their clubs but play like forwards for Brazil.

"They didn't try so much to adapt to the system. They wanted to do it by themselves."

Desailly added: "Parreira made a few mistakes against France. He changed his tactics a little bit by putting Juninho in the middle and Ronaldinho up front - it disorganised the team."

SPIRIT

The difference in attitude between the two teams also tells its own story.

Brazil's players have failed to rally around struggling striker Ronaldo, while France have recovered from embarrassing tournaments at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.

Leonardo said: "Brazil have very good players but they were never a good team.

"The spirit was not there and you could see that even after the defeat. The players don't feel that much."

Desailly added: "France have shown the spirit, attitude and have respected the tactics and stuck together. They are in a new circle and new way of winning."

PLAYERS

European footballer of the year Ronaldinho failed to show the mesmeric skills so often on show for Barcelona.

And much was expected of his Brazilian team-mate Kaka but the AC Milan midfielder failed to deliver on the big stage.

Zinedine Zidane
France skipper Zidane was at his inspirational best against Brazil

It took an old-timer in Zinedine Zidane to show the young upstarts that he has no intention of fading into the background and retiring quietly.

The 34-year-old France captain will hang up his boots after the World Cup but was the star of the show against Brazil with a scintillating display.

Desailly said of the Real Madrid playmaker: "Zidane knows this is the end of his career and wants to prove he is the best player."

Leonardo was unhappy with the way the Brazilian players did not gel and said: "They relied on their individuality and never created a spirit to win the World Cup."

WHAT NOW?

While all there is left for Brazil is to make sure they turn up on time to make their flight home, France have turned around their.

From being dismissed as has-beens after two draws in their opening two games, France can now book their place in the final on 9 July with victory over Portugal.

Desailly believes France can win the trophy and said: "If France play like they did against Brazil they can go all the way now.

"In the group stages against Togo, we were very worried but beating Spain was a revelation.

"We knew we had good players but now they are working as a team and have the organisation and luck on our side."

SEE ALSO
Brazil v France Virtual Replay
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
'Beautiful' win delights Zidane
01 Jul 06 |  France
Parreira takes blame for defeat
01 Jul 06 |  Brazil
Brazil 0-1 France
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006


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