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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Vieira dismisses ageing team jibe
Zinedine Zidane provides Patrick Vieira with a lift
Just like old times for Vieira and Zinedine Zidane
Patrick Vieira says France's quarter-final win over Brazil provided the perfect answer to critics who said they were too old.

Coach Raymond Domenech was criticised for picking an ageing squad, which struggled in its opening group games.

But Vieira, 30, said: "A lot of people placed too much emphasis on the age factor but they're beginning to focus on what we do on the pitch.

"We responded well and this is the best answer we can give."

Juventus midfielder Vieira's views were echoed by his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry.

Henry said: "People were killing us from day one, saying this team is too old. But we have kept going."

We are just enjoying the ride

France midfielder Patrick Vieira

The 1998 World Cup winners have come into form at just the right time, with the turning point their 3-1 win over a fancied Spain team.

Vieira said: "We faced a difficult game against Spain and we played well.

"The game against Brazil was a challenge from the start but we were really strong, we worked as a team and fought very hard for 90 minutes.

"The key to our victory was the fact we didn't give them any space, they couldn't play their game.

"We had fun because we beat a really good team. People are still talking a little bit too much but we are just enjoying the ride."

France now face England's conquerors Portugal in the semi-final and Vieira said: "It's going to be a very difficult game.

"When you arrive at this stage of the competition every team is challenging."

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