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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK

France dismissed by Danes

Denmark 2-0 France

Holders France crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Denmark in Incheon as David once again outsmarted Goliath in the 2002 finals.

" We must tell it like it is - we were not up to that World Cup and we don't deserve to be in the second round "
France coach Roger Lemerre

Goals from Dennis Rommedahl and Jon Dahl Tomasson ensured that France became the first reigning World Cup champions since Brazil in 1966 to fail to reach the second round.

Without a goal in 270 minutes France also ended the tournament with the worst ever performance by a defending champion as they became the first holders to fail to win a match.

Denmark's win sees them finish top of Group A, which means that Morten Olsen's side will meet the runners-up of Group F - England's section - in Nigata on Saturday.

MATCH FACTS

  • 22 mins: Dennis Rommedahl volleys home Stig Tofting' pass
  • 67 mins: Jon Dahl Tomasson doubles Denmark's advantage with a fine finish
  • France's own Goliath - Zinedine Zidane - finally made his entrance to the World Cup, but even his talismanic presence, proved unable to inspire his team-mates to victory by the required two or more goals.

    With his left thigh heavily strapped, Zidane, the man whose two goals contributed so much to their 1998 triumph, looked a pale imitation of the player who bestrode the Stade de France as France beat Brazil four years ago.

    There were brief glimpses of Zidane's twinkling feet and quick mind, notably in the 38th minute when the Frenchman almost sublimely chipped Thomas Sorensen.

    Zidane tastes defeat with France for the first time

    But he proved incapable of dominating the game as he has so often done in the past for France and his lack of fitness was summed up in the opening half when he was outsprinted by Everton's Thomas Gravesen.

    Even so Denmark were clearly worried by the Frenchman's presence their five-man midfield swarmed around Zidane every time the Frenchman touched the ball.

    It was the first time that France had lost a competitive fixture with Zidane in the side since 1994 when the Real Madrid midfielder made his debut for the national side.

    France had their chances, but David Trezeguet's decision making in front of goal cost Roger Lemerre's team dear.

    GRAPHIC ANALYSIS

    Four minutes before Denmark's first goal, the Juventus striker selfishly shot when a simple pass would have given Sylvain Wiltord the easiest of chances to convert.

    As was the case against Senegal and Uruguay, France also did not have much luck, notably when Marcel Desailly's 51st minute hit the woodwork.

    Late on Trezeguet also rattled the bar.

    Sunderland's Sorensen also had an impressive game in goal for Denmark.

    He was always quickly off his line and in the first half made good saves to hold Trezeguet's header and a Wiltord shot as well as Djibril Cisse's volley.

    If defence was Denmark's watchword, Olsen's side always looked to attack France on the break whenever they could.

    That crucial opening goal came in the 22nd minute when Stig Tofting cleverly picked out the unmarked Dennis Rommedahl at the far post and the PSV Eindhoven winger stabbed the ball past Fabien Barthez.

    On 66 minutes Tomasson claimed his fourth goal of the competition when he crisply rattled home Jesper Gronkjaer's cross.


    Denmark: Thomas Sorensen; Thomas Helveg, Rene Henriksen, Martin Laursen, Niclas Jensen; Dennis Rommedahl, Thomas Gravesen, Stig Tofting (Steen Nielsen 79), Martin Jorgensen (Jesper Gronkjaer 46); Christian Poulsen (Kaspe Bogelund 75), Jon Dahl Tomasson.

    France : Fabien Barthez; Vincent Candela, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizarazu; Patrick Vieira (Johan Micoud 70), Claude Makelele; Sylvain Wiltord (Youri Djorkaeff 83), Zinedine Zidane, Christophe Dugarry (Djibril Cisse 54); David Trezeguet .

    Referee: Vitor Melo Pereira (Portugal).


    MATCH STATS | 
      |  Denmark  |  France | 
    Corners (1st half)  |  0  |  0 | 
    Corners (2nd half)  |  0  |  6 | 
    Fouls committed  |  17  |  14 | 
    Caught offside  |  2  |  4 | 
    Shots on target  |  2  |  8 | 
    Shots off target  |  3  |  5 | 
    Hit woodwork (back into play)  |  0  |  2 | 
    Yellow cards  |  2  |  1 | 
    Red cards  |  0  |  0 | 
    STOPPAGE TIME  |   | 
    First half - 1 mins  |  Second half - 3 mins  | 


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